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McMaster Students Union

Advocacy

The MSU’s advocacy efforts are a core pillar of the MSU’s organizational function. Through the Education Department, students lobby to the University, city, province, and federal government to implement changes that will benefit the post-secondary student experience, both inside and outside the classroom. This is done through writing policy to identify the MSU’s positions on certain topics, writing reports and submissions to the University or government, in-person lobbying, or running advocacy campaigns.

Expandable List

The Education Department is staffed with the Vice President (Education), Associate Vice Presidents University Affairs, Municipal Affairs, and Provincial & Federal Affairs, and research & project assistants. 3 SRA Standing Committees also fall under the Education Department, each supervised by an Associate Vice President (AVP). Together, they oversee multiple committees that focus on issues on campus, as well as issues that can be addressed on the municipal, provincial, and federal levels.

The MSU has undertaken the construction of a policy bank to articulate its stances on various aspects of student life and post-secondary education. The VP Education and the rest of the education team lobby to enact the changes that are outlined in these policies.

MSU policies are written through the Education team. They are well researched and make evidence-based recommendations to the University, all levels of government, and other stakeholders to improve student life. Each term 3 policies are written or edited and debated at the MSU Policy Conference (Policy Con). All MSU members are welcome to attend Policy Con and influence policy. If you are interested in writing MSU policy, please contact the VP Education. Please select the links below to download the MSU policies in Adobe Acrobat PDF Format. Please contact assistant@msu.mcmaster.ca if you require a document in a different format. The policies are organized by the expiry date, with the top policies expiring soonest.

University Accessibility
Access Copyright
Ancillary Fees
Indigenous Students
International Students
First Year Transition
Food Security
Sexual and Gender Diversity
Health and Wellness
Student Employment and Experiential Education
Academic Success
Environmental Sustainability
Sexual Violence Prevention and Response
Transit & Transportation
Student Engagement & Retention
On-Campus Infrastructure
Tuition and Student Financing of Post-Secondary Education
Racial, Cultural and Religious Equity
Student Housing and Near Campus Neighbourhoods

OUSA Policy Papers

OUSA has an extensive database of policies and other forms of written lobbying which are accessible to students. We will often lobby with the stances outlined in OUSA policies, since we contribute to their creation as well. Click on the following links for more information:

OUSA Policy Papers
OUSA Research Reports
OUSA Government Submissions
More information on OUSA

Below are links to various research reports and documents compiled by the MSU Education Department. These reports summarize primary research initiatives such as surveys and focus groups that have informed MSU policy.

MSU Health Services Review Report 2018 (Available on Issuu)
Pre-Budget Submission to The City of Hamilton 2018 (PDF)
MSU Landlord Report 2017 (PDF)
First Year Feedback Form Report 2016 (PDF)
Change Camp 2016 Report (PDF)
MSU Tuition Report 2016 (PDF)
MSU Your City Survey 2016 (PDF)
2016 University Budget Submission (Available on Issuu)
MSU Accessibility Forum Report 2015 (PDF)
Municipal Advocacy Week 2015 Report (PDF)
Change Camp 2015 Report (PDF)
Accessibility Forum 2014 Report (PDF)

The SRA Standing Committee on University Affairs (UA) is tasked with policy making, information gathering, and advocating on behalf of students regarding issues within the university. The University Affairs committee deals with the internal MSU relations within the university that influence the student experience. In working with the Board of Directors (specifically the Vice President Education), the university administration, as well as campus groups and stakeholders, the University Affairs Committee strives to meet the needs of our students and help provide them with a higher quality undergraduate experience at McMaster.

For more information, contact avpuniversity@msu.mcmaster.ca.

Associate Vice-President Provincial and Federal Affairs
avpprovfed@msu.mcmaster.ca

The MSU advocates to key stakeholders on municipal issues in order to enhance students’ lives in Hamilton. The SRA Municipal Affairs Committee represents students’ issues while remaining receptive to community concerns and suggestions.

For more information, please contact Associate Vice-President of Municipal Affairs at avpmunicipal@msu.mcmaster.ca.

The MSU advocates for educational policy improvements at both the provincial and federal levels of jurisdiction. We are a part of two lobbying organizations, OUSA and UCRU, and work with them to lobby to the government to make post-secondary education more affordable and accessible for all students. Some of the issues that we have worked on and will be working on are tuition, healthcare for international students, open-textbooks, and experiential education.

For more information, please contact the AVP Provincial & Federal Affairs avpprovfed@msu.mcmaster.ca

OUSA

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) represents the interests of over 140,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario, including McMaster. OUSA is run by a Steering Committee made up of elected student representatives from each of our member associations – including the MSU’s own VP Education. Day-to-day activities are carried out by four full-time office staff.

OUSA’s approach to advocacy is based on creating substantive, student-driven, and evidence-based policy recommendations. Our professional government relations practices ensure that we have access to decision-makers we need in order for our members’ voices to influence provincial legislation and policy. OUSA is non-partisan and our policies are written and ratified by students. Read more about its organizational history here.

The MSU does the majority of its provincial lobbying through OUSA. You can get involved with OUSA by attending one of the General Assemblies as a McMaster delegate. Each term, OUSA hosts a general assembly where delegates from all member schools debate and pass policy. These policies then become the official stances of OUSA and guide its advocacy efforts for the next three years. Check this page during October and February for application information!

UCRU

The Undergraduates of Canadian Research-Intensive Universities (UCRU) (formerly known as ADVOCAN) is a formal collective of undergraduate student unions from some of Canada’s largest research-intensive universities. Each year, the UCRU delegation meets with Members of Parliament and policy makers at Parliament Hill in Ottawa to discuss the advocacy priorities of the more than 240,000 post-secondary students we collectively represent.

Mission: To advocate to the Federal Government of Canada for an affordable, inclusive, and high-calibre undergraduate university education with opportunities for research through a coalition of student associations from U15 universities.

We are a coalition of eight student associations from Canadian research-intensive universities:

Federation of Students (Feds) – University of Waterloo
Western University’s Student Council (USC) – Western University
McMaster Student Union (MSU) – McMaster University
The Alma Mater Society (AMS) – Queen’s University
University of Toronto Student Union (UTSU) – University of Toronto
The Alma Mater Society of UBC Vancouver (AMS-UBC) – University of British Columbia
University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union (USSU) – University of Saskatchewan
University of Manitoba Students Union (UMSU) – University of Manitoba

For more information about UCRU or our advocacy week in Ottawa, please contact the VP Education vped@msu.mcmaster.ca

Provincial Advocacy

  • Current Efforts and Priorities
  • Voter registration campaign planning
  • Demographic data collection report
  • Open-textbook model development
  • Work Integrated Learning infrastructure development
  • Tuition and financial assistance
  • Improving Mental Health strategies
  • Improving Accessibility strategies

 

 

 

The MSU Policy Conference is an oppor­tunity for students to provide their perspective and feedback on the issues that the MSU is asking of the University and all levels of government.

Students need not be experts on these top­ics – people simply need to be willing to participate in the conversation. Delegates for the conference will be provided with draft policies in advance of the conference for an opportunity to learn more about each topic. As well, training will be provided on conference day to ensure that delegates have an understanding and the tools needed to critically engage in discussions with each other and with the policy authors.

In addition to policy discus­sion, there will also be an oppor­tunity for students to learn about how the MSU advocates, how to get involved fur­ther with advocacy on campus and to hear from guest speakers.

This term, the papers being discussed are:

  • Tuition & Post-Secondary Affordability
  • Student Engagement & Retention
  • On-Campus Infrastructure

For more information, contact the VP Education via vped@msu.mcmaster.ca or 905-525-9140 ext. 24017.