Congress Weekly

COVID-19 Student Petition and Midterms: Congress Weekly – October 5th

Written by Camille Zhou
Edited by Anson Yeh

This week’s Congress meeting was a special one, as Mr. Eric Lozowy, Marianopolis’ Academic Dean, and Ms. Penelope Kostopoulos, Marianopolis’ Associate Dean, were both present.

Mental Health Day
Mental Health Day is coming up next week! Tristan is working hard with the Social Justice Committee to organize activities for you all. Stay tuned on the MSU Facebook Group for more information!

Spotify Discount
Mau is still working on the Spotify Discount. A mental health playlist is in the works by the Social Justice Committee, and Yu Zheng is also working on a cultural playlist. They should be ready in 2-3 weeks for everyone to listen to!

Interpreter Service
Allison says that as one of her main campaign projects, the Student Interpret Service is under way. As of now, she is in the process of writing an official proposal for Congress and the head of the hospital. So far, Allison has gotten positive feedback and can’t wait to help students help caregivers.

Cultural Movie Night
Yu Zheng announces that she’s working on a cultural movie night for all students to enjoy after midterms. Prepare to get out your popcorn and snacks for a night of de-stress!

COVID-19 Student Petition against In-Person Midterms
As Greater Montreal is now declared a red zone, students have decided to voice their concerns about on-campus midterms through a petition, which reached a whopping 650 signatures in its first 24 hours. Congress had a lengthy discussion about this topic with the Academic and Associate Dean, discussing academic integrity, but also the safety concerns. Misha does not hesitate to present the student body’s point of view, touching on the pressure put on the students who have vulnerable members at home, on students’ fear of being singled out and punished by taking the online alternative, as well as the concerns of students who are worried about academic integrity, and the r-score. She also brings up final exams stating that a lot of students are more than willing to go on campus for exams, especially because of academic integrity, but they hope it can be at a better time than now.

The Academic and Associate Dean brought up multiple points in response, especially focusing on the Math department, since most on-campus midterms scheduled are currently for math related topics. They mentioned that a lot of Math teachers feel strongly about holding on-campus exams, since Math is a discipline where it is extremely easy to cheat online; as was seen during the Winter 2020 semester, where multiple cheating cases occurred. Furthermore, Mr. Lozowy brings up another concern on the academic side: the value of the students’ diplomas and grades in this current online school situation. As universities are reconsidering application processes, the College wants to make sure that the students’ 2020 grades will still be meaningful to the admission offices. Additionally, the college also assures that there will be strict regulations for on-campus exams.

However, despite all this, both the Academic and Associate Dean make it clear that the health and safety of the students are their utmost priority, and that they are sensitive to the arguments presented by Congress, as well as open to approaching the midterms differently. As midterms are fast approaching, Mr. Lozowy asks to hear an official statement regarding the petition from Congress by Monday, and states that the College will make the final decision before the end of this week.

As of now, you will have heard through the MSU Facebook Group that Congress has decided to actively endorse the petition. Now we just need to wait for the result.

Les impatients
Anne mentions that she has met with the administrative board of Les impatients, an organization that aims to help patients with mental health issues through art. Because of the pandemic, they are currently trying to expand their reach, and are open to addressing mental health among students. Workshops online or in-person are in the works.

Student Focus Group
With the Fall semester being online, and the probability of a virtual Winter semester rising, Misha talks about how a lot of students feel overwhelmed by the course loads, are too shy to approach their teachers, or have other concerns about this semester being online. The Student Focus Group, where students can volunteer to disclose their opinions about this online semester anonymously, will be put in place to hear the students’ perspectives, as well as let the students know that their opinions are being heard by the College. As of now, additional information can be found on the MSU Facebook Group, where Misha has posted a link to a Google Meet happening this Tuesday during AP. Students also have the option of filling in a form if they prefer.

Circles for Reconciliation
Anne says that the applications for Circles for Reconciliation, an initiative to facilitate discussions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, has been going well. It is a great opportunity for students to learn more about Indigenous culture and history. Further information can be found on the MSU Facebook Group.

Anti-Cyber-Bullying Council
Following the Fall 2020 Elections, Tristan discussed the creation of an Anti-Cyber-Bullying Council to help create a safer campus and understand how to help or act when faced with cyber-bullying.

Virtual Escape Rooms
With midterms coming up, stress is inevitable. Pratham is working hard to bring to students an opportunity to bond and relax through virtual escape rooms, which was one of his campaign projects. He would like to make them available to students during midterms.

Bhromor Rahman

Bhromor ''brosbrawls'' Rahman is a Paid Contributor at Anime News Network, Staff Writer at The Game Crater and the Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the Marianopolis News Blitz. Under his mandate, the newspaper saw the highest traffic in its history. His staunch anti-censorship and pro-free speech stance allowed for a wide rang of content. He is currently a 1L Law student at UOttawa Faculty of Law.

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