UOIT has released more than $1.5 million of student fees back to the Student Association (SA), after the university held the fees since 2013 because of concerns with the SA’s operations, such as not submitting their financial audit on time.
According to John MacMillan, director of communications and marketing for UOIT, positive changes such as having equal representation for DC and UOIT on the SA executive helped with the release of the fees.
“The focus we’ve (UOIT) always had is on making sure there is a responsible and managed approach to the students’ fees,” says MacMillan, “The Student Association has very much shown that it is running its business in a really responsible way.”
UOIT co-developed an operating agreement, with the SA, to accommodate the Student Association accountability policy.
The operating agreement sets the schedule for how UOIT will release the fees to the SA and how information is exchanged between UOIT and the SA, while the accountability policy sets the SA’s responsibilities with their bylaws, representation and procedures.
These documents are waiting to be approved by the UOIT board of governors in March, but it was approved by the board executive committee to resume the flow of fees to the SA in advance.
“It was awesome,” says Student Association president, Ryan LePage.
“I pretty much went around the whole building (student centre) telling staff, UOIT fees are released,” LePage says.
UOIT’s decision to release the fees to the SA comes a semester after Durham College (DC) made the same decision.
He says the decision will benefit the future of the SA.
DC released its student fees in Sept. 2014 when they signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the SA.
“Essentially for the foreseeable future there should be no more issues on fees,” LePage says, “I hope that this can essentially continue in good faith that the agreements will be in long-standing and there is no future issues about fee release when it comes to the Student Association, Durham College and UOIT.”