Student Rights Centre Report Not Released At Annual General Meeting

Though initially planned for release in November, the report has been delayed several times
Joseph Keller, Web Editor

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The Student Rights Centre office at the KPU Surrey campus. (file photo)

A report by the Kwantlen Student Association’s Student Rights Centre which details students’ problems with KPU was initially set to be released during November of last year.

However, after a series of delays, the report has yet to be made accessible to the public. It was supposed to be released at this year’s KSA Annual General Meeting on Mar. 30, but was once again held back.

The Student Rights Centre—which assists students involved in disputes with KPU staff or faculty—began collecting anonymous case studies of students who came to them throughout 2015, using the complaints to identify and address systemic issues with the university’s policies and procedures. This information was compiled into a report which was completed and initially slated for public release on Nov. 22, 2016.

KSA VP Student Services & University Affairs Tanvir Singh explained to The Runner in January that the release of the report was being delayed until KSA representatives had an opportunity to meet and discuss its contents with university officials. Singh could not provide a set date for when the report would be released, but did promise that it would be released eventually.

Shortly after The Runner wrote about the delay in January, then-KSA President Alex McGowan claimed via a Facebook post that the KSA was planning to release the report at its Annual General Meeting. This claim contradicts what The Runner was told by Singh and no mention of plans to release the document at the AGM can be found in the KSA’s approved minutes.

A student in attendance at the Annual General Meeting asked about the report and was told that it could not be released at the time due to “confidentiality reasons.”

Singh—who is now both VP Student Services & University Affairs and President of the KSA—says that part of the reason for the postponement has been issues with scheduling meetings with university officials over the past several months. He also says that, because the university has updated some of its policies that were addressed in the report since 2015, a foreword needed to be added to the report to add context.

“We honestly believe that the university has done a lot in the last two years to really solidify students rights on campus,” says Singh.

He adds that updates needed to be made to the report to address issues of confidentiality for the students whose stories are featured in it.

This most recent delay adds to the frustrations of several KSA councillors who feel that the four months since the initially planned release should have been ample time to finalize the document.

“I can understand allowing some time, in the interest of good relations, to let them know of the document before we release it,” says KSA Faculty of Arts Representative Murdoch de Mooy. “But even factoring in that December is a difficult month, there has now been lots of time to give proper notification that this document exists, that we will be releasing it, and to give them time to come up with a response if they so choose.”

“The confidentiality issues were concerns about anonymity, but after a year, those aren’t addressed?” says KSA Students With Disabilities Representative Kimberley McMartin. “Having that report and being unable to use it to address issues that students are having is aggravating and worrisome, [as is the fact] that the University Affairs Executive has known about this for basically his whole term and it is still not done. It’s also worrying for the other reports that follow.”

Singh says that he is hopeful that future iterations of the Student Rights Centre report will have an efficient development and consultation process, resulting in more timely publishing. This 2015 report is the first of its kind to be put together by the KSA and throughout the process has been looked at as a trial run and a learning process.

“We learned a lot from the writing of the report. We learned a lot with the kind of content that we want in the report,” says Singh. “I think that we’ve also learned about the kind of communication that we need to have with the university, and we’re hoping that every year the reports are going to be a little bit quicker and a little bit smoother than before.”

As for the 2015 Student Rights Centre report, Singh says that the meeting with university officials that was required for its completion has taken place, but the new release date is “to be announced.”

At this time, it’s unclear when the document will be made available to the public.

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