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Mon March 30

CSU seeks academic accommodations from university, continues digital adaptation of services

2020-03-30T11:06:49-07:00March 30th, 2020|Blog, COVID-19|

A MESSAGE FROM CSU PRESIDENT EMILY BRIDGE


We’ve received a lot of communication from students expressing concern about not having heard much from the university as the end of the semester approaches. The CSU is governed by students, so your fears, concerns, and worries are ours as well. We are in continued communication with university and will be meeting with them this week, so we’ll be bringing your concerns to them and reporting back to you. On Friday, the CSU board of directors passed a strong statement in favour of academic accommodations for the spring and summer, which can be found here

We continue to liaise with all levels of government and will be conveying all pertinent information to students as we get it. To help keep you as informed as possible, we have compiled a summary of resources related to the COVID-19 public health crisis that are available from various levels of government, universities, and external organizations. We will be updating this page with newly announced resources being made available to students, in as timely manner as possible. Please continue to refer to official sources, for the most up-to-date, accurate information.

The CSU has continued to adapt its programming and services to be delivered online. Our board of directors and staff have shifted to meeting and working remotely in alignment with guidance from public health agencies and will continue to support and represent students at Capilano University. 

Services

The Community Cupboard service is presently being administered completely online, offering grocery store gift cards to those in need rather than its usual food bags. We aim to limit access to this service once per semester but will aim to work with students to provide as much support as we can. To access the Community Cupboard, please fill out the request form found here and someone will be in touch with you shortly.                                                                         

The Device Doctor personal electronics repair service is still available to students. Technical support is available via phone (call or text) at 778.360.2545 or by email. For hardware repairs, we are prepared to make arrangements for no-contact drop-off and pick-up. As usual, students only pay the price of parts — labour is free! 

The CSU Health and Dental Plan is operating for students as normal. You are welcome to reach out to us or Studentcare if you have questions about your plan. 

Advocacy & Campaigns 

The CSU led a team of 10 BC students groups in demanding a rent freeze and eviction ban during the COVID-19 public health emergency. While we were pleased to see the premier declare a suspension of evictions and rent increases less than 24 hours later, the announcement fell short of a full freeze on rent payments.

Volunteer opportunities for Cap International Tuition (Cap IT), the campaign to lobby Capilano University to officially adopt a policy capping international tuition at 2%, have moved online. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to sign the petition

The CSU, alongside other student societies and post-secondary institutions, is exploring the feasibility of lobbying TransLink to provide refunds for unused months of the U-Pass BC discount transit pass. We are currently in communication with TransLink and will provide updates as soon as we can. 

Events & Community

While CSU-organized in-person events are cancelled for the remainder of the semester, we are developing a variety of online methods of community-building for Capilano students. 

In addition to stepping up our online presence on our traditional social media, we’ve also created Capilano Quarantine Corner — a Facebook group for Capilano students to connect online during this period of social distancing. Online events like Netflix viewing parties, contests, and virtual trivia games aim to provide an opportunity for the Capilano student community to practice social solidarity. Please join in! 

We are developing a series of virtual workshops, such as nutrition and meal-planning, budgeting, meditation and well-being, and more. 

The CSU remains committed to advocating for and representing Capilano University students during this difficult time. Wherever and whenever possible, the CSU will be providing all of our regular programs and services, and adapting programming with students’ input. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are available to field questions via social media (include Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook) as well as email.

Emily Bridge
CSU President and Vice-President, Equity & Sustainability

Mon March 23

BC students demand a rent freeze and ban on evictions

2020-03-24T11:21:54-07:00March 23rd, 2020|Blog, COVID-19|

Dear Premier Horgan, Minister James, and Minister Robinson, 

With today’s release of BC’s COVID-19 Action Plan, we were encouraged to see the government’s commitment to helping BC residents during this unprecedented health crisis. The rapid response from policymakers is admirable and we recognize that creating a comprehensive plan to support those who are most at-risk during this period of instability is an immense endeavour. We appreciate that there are significant investments to support those most vulnerable being made by the government, including those that are not eligible for Employment Insurance. We especially recognize that the pause on BC student loan repayments is a huge relief for students. 

However, we were disappointed that relief for renters was not also announced, as the due date for rent for so many British Columbians is just one week away. Students, who make up around one million of the country’s tenants, are under threat of being pushed out of their living situations with little to no notice, forced to find alternate accommodation. In addition to uncertain housing situations, many work in the service and hospitality industries where they are experiencing major layoffs across the board. While these students may be able to access some benefits from federal and provincial governments in the coming months, this will not come quickly enough to help them make their rent payments due April 1.

International students are particularly vulnerable to the current public health emergency and associated impacts in our province. Without Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status, their path forward through this crisis remains unclear. Like domestic students, they also make up a large proportion of workers in the service and hospitality industries that are facing widespread layoffs. In addition, federally mandated working limits and tenuous immigration status leave them with limited options for finding other work — not to mention the general lack of jobs that can be worked safely during the public health emergency. The vast majority of international students are renters that are far from their homes and families, with limited funds and support to begin with. They have now found themselves in a very precarious position.

Time is running out for all students as well as other vulnerable populations who rent in British Columbia. Without immediate support for renters, we could see a considerable portion of our population suddenly looking for new places to live, likely ending up temporarily housed with new groups of people, undoing some of the critical work that social distancing is achieving to flatten the curve.

We were also concerned to hear this afternoon that any evictions currently in progress will be going ahead as planned. Nothing about this time is “business as usual”, and by taking this approach we risk leaving those most in need of assistance behind. This further contributes to community transmission, putting additional stress on our healthcare system and reducing our ability to contain the virus.

Other organizations in the province are currently advocating for rent freezes and other protections to support renters during this difficult and uncertain time. The Vancouver Tenants Union has put a call out for British Columbians to add their names to a steadily growing list of renters that are worried they cannot make rent on April 1, or are at risk of eviction. They have also asked people to share their stories on social media with the hashtag #bcrentcrisis

The hashtag #rentfreezenow is also gaining traction as people share their struggles, fears, and uncertainty with the end of the month quickly approaching and little communication from the government coming forward. The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition has also published an urgent call for provincial action to protect the well-being of low-income and at-risk British Columbians.

On Wednesday, we hope that you will make the right decision for all renters in the province. We look forward to collaborating with you in the coming days to find solutions that work for students, both domestic and international.

For all of the reasons above, immediate support for renters across the province is necessary. 

We call on the BC Government to implement a freeze on rent payments effective immediately, and a ban on evictions for all renters.

Yours sincerely,

Alliance of BC Students
Camosun College Student Society
Capilano Students’ Union
Kwantlen Student Association
Langara Students’ Association
Simon Fraser Student Society
University of the Fraser Valley Student Union Society
University of British Columbia Alma Mater Society
University of Victoria Graduate Student Society
University of Victoria Student Society

Tue March 17

Statement on CSU’s move to digital delivery of services

2020-03-17T16:43:28-07:00March 17th, 2020|Blog, COVID-19|

March 17, 4:30pm — In consideration of the quick escalation of precautions being recommended by various levels of government, and to ensure the safety and health of members of our team and the university community, the CSU has decided to cancel all in-person programming and events for the remainder of the semester.

We are taking steps to transition key programs, services, and meetings online and are exploring different ways to foster community digitally while students are away from campus. We are working to ensure that students continue to be supported and represented as Capilano University continues its work to shift away from in-person learning.

While the information desk at the CSU Members Centre will be closed for the remainder of the semester, CSU staff will be working remotely, and are available to field students’ questions via social media (including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and email ([email protected]).

For more about COVID-19, including information on prevention, symptoms, how it spreads, travel, and what to do if you are sick, please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 page. We encourage students to follow the advice of public health agencies.

The latest information from Capilano University can be found at this link.

Sun March 15

Statement on shift from in-person learning at Capilano University

2020-03-17T16:42:34-07:00March 15th, 2020|Blog, COVID-19|

March 15, 11:30am — Capilano University has announced that classes for Monday and Tuesday have been paused; university campuses and services remain open. The university has stated that this “pause” is in order to allow faculty and staff to prepare for a shift away from in-person learning.

Consistent with our usual practice when classes are not in session, the information desk at the CSU Members Centre (located in Library 195) will be closed on Monday and Tuesday. CSU staff remain available to field students’ questions via social media (including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), email ([email protected]), and in-person at our main office (located in Maple 121).

Given the reduced number of students on campus, the CSU has decided to cancel all in-person CSU events scheduled to take place on Monday and Tuesday. Since voting in the CSU general election takes place entirely online, the chief returning officer has determined that voting will take place as scheduled from 9:00am on Tuesday, March 17 to 5:00pm on Thursday, March 19.

The CSU has conducted thorough risk assessments of all other events and programming organized by the CSU and its subsidiary bodies. Some events are being adapted in order to minimize risk, while others are to be postponed or cancelled. Unfortunately, this includes our kálax-ay end-of-year social, Rock the Boat, and components of each of Pride Week, Accessibility Awareness Week, and De-Stress Week.

Following the guidance of public health agencies, our remaining events will re-evaluated and adapted as the situation evolves. We are evaluating how best to ensure that students continue to be supported and represented as the university shifts away from in-person learning.

For more about COVID-19, including information on prevention, symptoms, how it spreads, travel, and what to do if you are sick, please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 page.

The latest information from Capilano University can be found at this link.

Tue February 18

CSU welcomes needs-based grants announcement

2020-02-18T16:15:40-08:00February 18th, 2020|Blog, Media Advisories|

VICTORIA, BC — Capilano students are celebrating today’s announcement of the new BC Access Grant — an up-front, needs-based grants program to support low- to middle-income post-secondary learners. This new grant program removes some of the financial barriers to education, providing students who need it most with financial assistance to access the education needed to start a new career and support a family. 

“It’s rewarding to see that students can have a direct impact on government decisions addressing affordable access to education” said Joey Sidhu, vice-president finance & services at the Capilano Students’ Union. “Capilano students have been advocating for needs-based grants in partnership with our lobbying partners the Alliance of BC Students, for seven years, so as we celebrate today we recognize all the work done by past student leaders that made today’s announcement possible.”

This $24 million investment over three years builds on last year’s elimination of student loan interest to make life more affordable for students in BC. Beginning this upcoming fall semester, students can expect to receive up to $4,000 per year, including those in programs under two years. 

“We’re excited about the introduction of non-repayable, needs-based grants because we know that these can help to reduce so many of the financial barriers that a lot of students experience when trying to start their education” explains Emily Bridge,  Capilano Students’ Union president. 

The province’s old needs-based grants program was cut in 2004, leaving BC as the only province in Canada to not offer a non-repayable grant program. This announcement today not only brings the province in line with the rest of the country, but also ensures students have the financial opportunities available to access the education needed for their career, and reduces the debt for new-graduates navigating BC’s affordability crisis.

Wed February 12

RELEASE: Capilano Students’ Union stands with Wet’suwet’en

2020-02-12T16:14:11-08:00February 12th, 2020|Blog, Media Advisories|

NORTH VANCOUVER  — The Capilano Students’ Union, representing the students at Capilano University through their elected board of directors, stands in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people, land defenders, and water protectors at the Unist’ot’en and Gidimt’en camps, and fully supports Wet’suwet’en jurisdiction and governance.

The organization’s solidarity with Wet’suwet’en is demonstrated with the personal involvement of Capilano Students’ Union board members and staff in solidarity actions across Metro Vancouver, including blockading access to ports, trains, and roads; this has resulted in the arrest of at least one student leader for defending Wet’suwet’en jurisdiction, and they have since been released. 

We do not support the continued colonial violence against the sovereign Wet’suwet’en people by the RCMP, and supported by the federal and BC governments and Coastal GasLink. We believe that these actions are contrary to these governments’ commitments to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). These actions demonstrate that the principle of free, prior, and informed consent, a protocol written into UNDRIP, has not been honoured.

The Wet’suwet’en people have never ceded the rights to their traditional territory and their title has never been extinguished. The Unist’ot’en house group of the Wet’suwet’en has been reoccupying their traditional territory for the last decade, building infrastructure and rebuilding traditional systems of governance as a way to heal their people and the land. The enforcement by the RCMP of this injunction threatens the well-being of the Wet’suwet’en people and their ability to heal and peacefully occupy their territory, infringing on their human and Aboriginal rights.

We also support the demands of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs including:

  • that free, prior and informed consent must be obtained before any industry may pass through their territory;
  • that the RCMP remove themselves from Wet’suwet’en territory and cease restricting the ability of the Wet’suwet’en people to access their own land, territory and the resources they need for survival, infringing upon their human and Aboriginal rights; 
  • that nation-to-nation talks be held between provincial and federal leaders to address the infringements on Wet’suwet’en rights and title; and
  • that the RCMP stop enforcing the injunction and in turn threatening the safety of the Wet’suwet’en people as well as their right to occupy their own territory, right to use their own traditional ways of knowing, and right to  heal their land and their people.

We urge the RCMP to stand down, release the land and water defenders, and encourage the Government of British Columbia to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in good faith, honouring their commitments to adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls-to-action, and the Supreme Court of Canada’s Tsilhqot’in decision.

CSU spokesperson

Emily Bridge, president
Capilano Students’ Union
[email protected]
604.240.8837

About Capilano Students’ Union
The Capilano Students’ Union advocates for the interests and needs of its membership of more than 7,000 students by lobbying Capilano University and all levels of government. The CSU delivers student services, provides resources to clubs and organisations on campus, and hosts a variety of events each year to promote the social, political, recreational, and academic wellbeing of its membership.

Thu January 30

U-Pass renewed five more years

2020-01-30T11:39:31-08:00January 30th, 2020|Blog, transit|

In 2019, Capilano students voted overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the U-Pass BC program. The U-Pass not only saves students money, but also helps to ease congestion and reduce greenhouse gases by removing cars from our roads. The CSU worked with student associations across the region to ensure the continuation of this essential program.
Today we celebrated the culmination of all this hard work with students across the province, as the provincial government and TransLink announced the renewal of U-Pass for another five years. We’re happy to see that our students can be assured of another five years of affordable transit.
Release from Province of British Columbia: U-Pass BC extended following post-secondary voting
Tue March 19

CSU condemns homophobia following art project vandalism

2019-03-19T12:48:59-07:00March 19th, 2019|Blog|

On Thursday, March 14, two students vandalized an art mural project that was part of the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) Pride Month programming taking place outside the CSU Members Centre. The students returned shortly thereafter to make homophobic remarks toward several members of the CSU’s queer students collective and board of directors.

While we are working closely with the university to attempt to identify these students and to ensure that they are held accountable, this incident demonstrates that there is more work to be done in advocacy for the safety of LGBTQ2S+ students and community members at Capilano University. The CSU is committed to championing this work through campaigns and advocacy, as well as events celebrating the queer community including Pride Month, the Social Advocacy Faire, and more.

The CSU unequivocally condemns homophobia in all of its forms and encourages anyone who might have experienced harassment to report it to campus security.

Don’t let hate win — join us in celebrating queer history and culture as Pride Month continues through March. A full list of activities can be found at csu.bc.ca/pride.

Tue February 5

Quit smoking at Cap

2019-02-05T12:45:34-08:00February 5th, 2019|Blog|

Smoking Cessation – Butt Out in 2019

As Capilano University continues its dedication to wellbeing, we wanted to specifically assist members of the Capilano community in taking the steps to quit smoking. The health benefits of quitting smoking start moment you quit — you’ll notice the immediate health changes (both physiological and psychological) that being smoke-free can have on you and those around you. Quitting isn’t easy but you are not alone. 

Below you will find resources that are available to you as members of the Capilano community or as a resident of British Columbia to aid you to quit smoking.

BC Smoking Cessation Program

The Government of British Columbia has created this program to cover costs of products that make it easier to quit smoking. Such products covered are nicotine replacement therapy products and smoking cessation prescriptions drugs. For additional information on how to get started please click here. You can also view frequently asked questions by clicking here.

QuitNow

QuitNow is a free customized program offered by the Government of BC delivered by the BC Lung Association. This program provides free one-on-one advice and guidance to help you to quit smoking and stay smoke-free. When you join QuitNow you will have access to a Quit Coach, online resources, an online community to help you stay on track.  

To learn more about this program please click here.

CSU Health & Dental Plan

Students enrolled in the CSU health & dental plan may access the psychology and naturopathic coverage for support, or claim medication that is on the BC Pharmacare Formulary. Full details can be found here.

Wed January 30

An argument against “mental health days”

2019-01-30T16:36:44-08:00January 30th, 2019|Blog|

And yes, this is a click-baity post title

By Christopher Girodat, executive director

It’s #BellLetsTalk day, and everyone on the North Vancouver campus of Capilano University (a place I feel very privileged to work at) is talking about mental health. We’re talking about mental health broadly, in terms of this national day of dialogue, but also about the mental health of post-secondary students in particular – partnering with the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations on the Students Let’s Act campaign.

I want to share some thoughts about “mental health days.” As executive director at the Capilano Students’ Union, I lead a team of 15 or so incredible people. I’ve been managing people for more than 10 years now in a couple of capacities, and there’s something about how people (workers included) approach “mental health days” that I think needs to be called out for discussion. (These are my personal thoughts, and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the Capilano Students’ Union, just to be clear.)

When someone calls in sick because of their physical health, things always seem super straightforward. They call or email, say something like “I’ve got a cold, sorry, not going to make it in,” and then everyone accepts the explanation and moves on with the day. If someone has a cold, a migraine, hurt an ankle, or whatever other physical maladies might have befallen them, it always seems super straightforward. Workers (at least when there’s job security and paid sick leave) seem comfortable enough doing it.

When it comes to mental health, though, it seems to be a different story.

When someone needs to take a day away from work because of their mental health, it’s rare that the explanation is so straightforward. Because of the stigma around mental health, I’ve found that the explanation is usually super elaborate, and includes way more personal information than an employee would share about a physical ailment. Let’s be clear, this practice is a real-life demonstration of stigma surrounding mental health.

Some workplaces use the term “mental health days” to address this sort of thing. There’s “sick days,” and then “mental health days.” Why is that? Why are we pretending that a tough mental health day should be treated any differently, from a workplace perspective, than we would treat tough physical health days? When’s the last time someone said “I think I’m going to need to stay home, I need a physical health day”? Answer: They wouldn’t say that, they would just – validly – say “Sorry, I’m sick today.”

Mental health is important. Folks who decide they need to stay home because their mental health won’t to allow them to work, that feeling – and their determination of whether they’re fit to report to work – is valid. It’s correct. They deserve to be able to just “call in sick,” treated in every respect as though they were calling in sick for any physical reason out there, without doing some sort of special “mental health day” dance, with an essay to their employer justifying why their mental health should count for something.

My ask to employers, managers, and supervisors out there:

Acknowledge that physical and mental health are both just “health,” and adjust your leave policies so that you treat sick leave the same for both. Don’t inadvertently add to the stigma toward mental health by making it seem different. Also, make sure that you actually provide enough leave for your team members to take care of themselves.

My ask to workers:

Next time you need a day off for your mental health, just call in sick like you would if you had a cold. Resist the temptation to justify your health needs, in a way that you would never do with a physical ailment. (Obviously, consider your personal circumstances before you do that – if you’re precariously employed, or you have a garbage workplace, I absolutely understand that you might not be in a position to do this.)

The idea here isn’t to stop talking about mental health – on the contrary. We need to be talking about mental health as a legitimate health issue that is on par with physical health. If we all do our part to reframe the dialogue on mental health as a reason to take time off, then we can make some serious progress breaking down the stigma that folks still face when voicing and acting upon their mental health experiences.