The URSU Advocacy department is still new, but we have moved out of our infancy stage and are a full fledged, active department within the organization. This year, we have received an unprecedented level of support for our political work from our URSU Executives, Board of Directors and General Manager. We participated in Dis-Orientation Week, Welcome Week, and launched our first Equity Week, Lobby Week and will be launching our first Labour Fair week later this month. The URSU Advocacy department is now responsible for the majority of the organization’s social media, outreach, campaigns, and of course, advocacy.
Advocating For You
Mohammad Ali Aumeer
Director of Advocacy and Campaigns
VP External Affairs
The Regina SLAC campaign has been successful in both investigating and demonstrating student support for a new legal advocacy centre on campus (over 94% support from students), and in providing free legal services to students at U or R and FNUniv. This service, currently provided through the URSU Advocacy department, has been active since the middle of the Fall semester and is serving as a pilot project for the launching of a fully independent Regina SLAC campus service centre. Regina SLAC also runs a volunteer program for student-led, law-focused projects including Indigenous Law and Know Your Legal Rights. The department is also working towards attaining a $50 000 grant from the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan, and is working to create a new student practicum position to be offered to Justice Studies students at the University of Regina in Fall 2023. It will give students the opportunity to work alongside lawyers and experience the legal field.
URSU’s International Women’s Day awards event will take place on Wednesday March 21st, 2023. This is a new initiative being spearheaded by our URSU executive team. It is our goal to celebrate the contributions of exceptional women on campus and in the community, while simultaneously launching a new URSU International Women’s Day student award for three deserving students.
This year, with the support of our VP External, Nadiya Ekhteraetoussi, we launched a working group support for women, the URSU Immunocompromised Women Working Group. Support for those who are identified as women. This group works to support, train and include the members for the services such as financial aid and other health care matters.
We also launched the URSU Student Parents/Pregnant Parents Coalition, with the support of our President, Navjot Kaur. The coalition aims to provide support for student parents who manage their academic achievement and childcare as well as financial hurdles during their post-secondary education. We will be working closely with student parents of the University of Regina & the First Nations University of Canada and community allies to improve and accommodate their childcare accessibility. This campaign advocates obviating not only visible challenges student parents and their children may face but also psychological adversity that student parents may experience throughout their journey.
URSU conducted its first Lobby Week in many years, where students, supported by our staff and URSU executives, lobbied MLAs and advocated for policy change for all post-secondary students. URSU has the mandate to advocate for student’s rights and to ensure that there is a student voice at the table, offer cost-saving services, provide programming that improves the student experience, and advocate for lower tuition fees!
More information can be found in our Lobby Document: ursu.ca/lobbying
We have an ongoing project that is currently examining both the academic and non-academic policies of the University of Regina, with a focus on the issue of Academic Misconduct charges faced by students. This review will culminate in a report featuring recommendations on how the university can improve its policies and practices to the benefit of URSU members.
Our URSU Sexual Health campaigns continue as strongly as ever. We have returned to in-person events for our monthly Sexual Health Fridays series, hosted with campus partners – UR Pride Centre & ta-tawâw Student centre that involves education & safer sex supply distribution to students on campus, generally taking place on the third Friday of each month, with a free lunch provided. And we are working closely with the Women’s Centre on Period Equity work.
In partnership with the University of Regina Faculty Association (URFA) and other unions, we are organizing the first-ever Labour Fair to take place on campus, taking place from March 20–24, 2023, where we will be inviting labour speakers to various classrooms to talk to students about their rights as workers, focused on their future professional fields. The theme of this year’s Labour Fair is: Worker-Student Solidarity.
Our support for the Moosehide Campaign continues as strongly as ever this year. The campaign is an Indigenous-led grassroots movement of men, boys and all Canadians – standing up to end violence against women and children.
Our Fairness for International Students Campaign continues stronger than ever. Our International Students Caucus continues to engage URSU members in important outreach. The work of this campaign has spread to other campaigns and projects outlined in this report, such as the review of academic misconduct on campus.
Finally, and most importantly, this Fall, we launched an Indigenous Solidarity campaign, featuring a social media campaign in collaboration with FNUniv – Regina during Truth and Reconciliation Week in September. This campaign has been paused and has been replaced with the URSU Indigenous Consultation Working Group, which launched just this week (March 2023). At URSU, we value the importance of listening to indigenous folks and organizations to ensure that our solidarity work is not performative. We remain committed to being held accountable and right now, we are doing as much listening as possible to indigenous voices and we will continue to do so.