Welcome to Fall – Message from the SAMU VP Academic.

by on Sep 22nd, 2020

Hello everyone,

In my role as SAMU VP Academic in our Advocacy office I can help you navigate policy as well as make complaints or appeals by providing a confidential and impartial perspective. I serve as a student representative to MacEwan but I am also a support person, meaning I can help you with responses to the university, sit in in a non-speaking role in meetings and am here to listen and direct you to resources if you need them.

As we approach the fall semester I have heard frustration around some course(s) being in person or hybrid when previously many thought they would be online. If you are immuno-compromised or worried about the health and safety of yourself or loved ones please know the university is sticking to health and safety guidelines and precautions including:

  • increased cleaning protocols,
  • smaller in person class numbers,
  • required masks and,
  • spaced out seating arrangements

If you are still uncomfortable you do have some options.

1.     Talk to your instructor and inquire about the expectations they have and the resources they are planning to provide. If you have concerns they may have you reach out to their Department Chair or Dean.

2.    If you have personal health concerns please make sure to reach out to Access and Disability Resources (ADR) formerly Services to Students with Disabilities (SSD). You can contact them to meet with a Learning Specialist to discuss your questions and concern and can request Documentation of Disability from your Medical Specialist using the ADR Documentation of Disability form  to share with the Learning Specialist.

3.    If you are not eligible to get an accommodation on disability grounds with ADR you can follow the student accommodation non-disability protected grounds procedure (find it with related human rights polices at the bottom of the page here).  This route involves talking to your instructor and submitting a formal request including information that can support them in understanding your situation. Please note that this procedure applies to accommodation requests based on non-disability related protected grounds, as identified by the Alberta Human Rights Act. The AB Human Rights commission also has information on human rights regarding COVID-19 here.

4.    See if there is an online section or another class you can take. I know it may be getting late or not ideal to change classes but to help, you may be able to  utilize the Academic Program Progress Report (APPR) in mystudentsystem.  If you’ve declared after Fall 2019 you may generate a report on your progress and easily see what courses you still need. The majority of courses are still being offered online so hopefully you can find something.

5.    If you are finding it difficult to find options you can always reach out to an academic advisor either through our new and improved MacEwan Academic Advising Center or your program area to see if something can be done to support your academic progress. There are options out there if necessary.

6.    Refer to your course outlines and expectations your instructor is setting out as maybe attendance in person (although may not be ideal to miss) it may not impact your grade directly. If you do face any issues while taking a course there is potentially the option to appeal a grade or individual decisions made by an instructor over reasonable grounds (and you can find policies and procedures here but I can help).

7.      If you experience any concerns and problems along the way although it won’t directly impact your current situation you can file a complaint with the university to make them aware of the situation. You can reach out and make a complaint to your department chair or faculty Dean, the Office of Human Rights Diversity and Equity (OHRDE) or if you wish to maintain anonymity  you can utilize the MacEwan Confidence Line.

8.    Feel free to reach out to our SAMU Advocacy Office and speak to myself or Evan Macdonald our Advocacy coordinator to support you throughout the process. If you are not sure where to go or would like some assistance we can help. We are particularly helpful in assisting with the appeal process and are open to hearing your concerns. As VPA, hearing what you have to say can also inform  my advocacy work with the university.

9.    Last but not least, if you need any emotional support through these difficult times please let me know and/or you can also utilize MacEwan Wellness and Psychological ServicesSAMU’s Peer Support or your Health and dental mywellness supports.

Thank you,

Alycia Stewart (she/her)
SAMU VP Academic