Press Releases

When issues arise that affect students, the Grenfell Campus Student Union often takes an official stance by issuing a press release.  Please see below for recent and past press releases issued by the GCSU and pertinent releases by the Canadian Federation of Students and Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Students Cautiously Optimistic About Proposed Changes to Public Transit

For Immediate Release:  Students Cautiously Optimistic About Proposed Changes to Public Transit

CORNER BROOK, NL – After holding a host of consultations regarding the Corner Brook Transit system earlier this year, the City of Corner Brook has recently proposed a number of positive changes to the transit system.

Earlier this week the City announced its plan to invest in a twenty month trial system to increase the number of hours the buses operate as well as the availability of information regarding the bus schedule. Hours of operation will be extended to 10:00 pm Monday to Friday as well as an additional day of service on Saturday running from 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM. In addition, each bus will also be equipped with a Nextbus satellite tracking system which will allow riders to know exactly when and where the buses will arrive and depart.

The proposed changes to the transit system are welcomed by students who are one of the key users of public transit in Corner Brook. “Students, faculty and staff of Grenfell as well as members of the community at large came out en masse in March to discuss the transit system. It is very encouraging to see that City Council listened”, said Robert Leamon, Grenfell Campus Student Union President. “The Corner Brook City Council has shown that they are willing to take positive action on transit and we look forward to learning more about the details and working with the council to promote the changes to our members and the community at large”.

The trial will take place starting September 1, 2011 and ending on August 31, 2012. The length of this trial period will allow members of the community ample opportunity to assess the transit system and provide feedback which will help make this initiative a success.

“By increasing the number of hours of service, students will certainly benefit from this initiative”, said Leamon. “As our campus and our city continue to grow, a viable, well-funded and well used public transit system will be a crucial component of a sustainable and healthy community”.

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For further information, please contact:

Robert Leamon, Grenfell Campus Student Union President

709.637.6200 ext. 6132 (office) or 709.638.2747 (cellular)

2011-07-27

Students Question City’s Stance on Transit

For Immediate Release:  Students Question City’s Stance on Transit

CORNER BROOK – With recent announcements that the City of Corner Brook plans to maintain an identical tender on transit services, the Grenfell Campus Student Union questions the logic of this decision. In particular, the Union considers it entirely illogical for a tending process to not be used as the time to change or alter this much reviled service.

Students of Grenfell Campus have held long-standing concerns regarding the transit system in the City, with particular focus towards the poorly advertised routes, lack of late evening or weekend service along with concerns towards accessibility. “It is well known around campus that” states Kieran Smith, the Union’s Vice President External, “this service is not to be relied upon for its consistency and general lack of usability. Further to that point, with the service continuing to largely exclude persons with disabilities, such usability is decreased further when considering students with mobility issues”.

The Union also expresses concern due to comments both from students and visitors to campus regarding how the continued weakness of this system and other aspects of the City’s services, act as a deterring factor for students wishing to enter the Grenfell Campus. “Local services for students, like transit, are key to the attraction of students to this campus.” says Union President Robert Leamon “Current students are less willing to stay in the area due to these weaknesses and these students, by word of mouth, tell of the failings of this city’s services. This harms our recruitment, our retention and restricts the ability of students to utilize other services and contribute to the local economy”.

With the process of improving the system set to follow the awarding of a tender, students express great concern that, while change is promised from Mayor Greeley on this front, such a decision will allow for improvements to the system to be pushed to the side, allowing for a continued status quo.  “A tendering process, in large part, sets the ground rules for a service”, states Mr. Leamon, “it is entirely irrational to think that after such rules have been set that a transit company will be willing to make new concessions or changes. So then, we call on City Council to set new ground rules through this process and work to improve, rather than stagnate, this service”.

In an effort to both further the interest of students and outreach to the local community, The GCSU will be launching from its website (www.transformtransit.com), as a part of their wider lobbying efforts, an email campaign to inform members of City Council and its staff of the discontent within the community towards this potential decision.

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For More Information, Please Contact:
Robert Leamon
President of the Grenfell Campus Student Union
637-6200 ext. 6132
rleamon@swgc.mun.ca

2011-03-04

Students to Present Minister of Education With Over 15,000 Fund the Future Postcards

ST. JOHNʼS, NL – Representatives of the Canadian Federation of Students, theMemorial University of Newfoundland Studentsʼ Union (MUNSU), the GraduateStudentsʼ Union of MUN (GSU), the Marine Institute Studentsʼ Union (MISU), theGrenfell Campus Student Union (GCSU) and the College of the North Atlantic

Studentsʼ Union (CNASU) will be presenting over 15,000 signed Fund the Future

postcards to Minister of Education Joan Burke, tomorrow.

The Fund the Future campaign, launched in September, calls on the provincial

government to increase funding for the public college and university system, improve

student financial assistance, and reduce tuition fees. The current tuition fee freeze is set

to expire at the end of this academic year.

Date: Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Location: Confederation Building – 3rd Floor, West Block

(Department of Education Board Room)

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For further information, please contact:

Keith Dunne, Newfoundland and Labrador Organiser

709.737.3204 (office) 709.687.5640 (cellular)

2011-02-15

GCSU Official Stance on Tire Burning Protest

Recently, there has been a great deal of controversy as to the possibility of the use of Tire Derived Fuel at the CB Pulp and Paper Mill.

This issue had been addressed five years ago with mass protests towards this option. Five years ago, the Students of Grenfell Campus stood in solidarity with the community-at-large and acted to condemn this possible use of tires at the Mill.

So it is then that I am proud to announce that once again the GCSU has decided to take up the call, act against this practice in Corner Brook and with particular note to the lack of independently varied information provided by the Corner Brook Pulp & Paper Company and MMSB.

Council’s Motion was… “To denounce the burning of tires at the mill on the basis of lack of information that has been provided by the Corner Brook Pulp & Paper Company and MMSB, and to further more join the community protest planned for Saturday in full solidarity with members of the community”.This motion passed unanimously.

Students who wish to join with us and the Community in this protest can meet with us at 10:30 AM in the GCSU Offices on Saturday to organize slightly before the protest, with the protest march beginning at 11:00 AM.

We’d also remind all students, faculty, staff, and other concerned citizens to contact  Charlene Johnson, Minister for Environment and Conservation at her email (charlenejohnson@gov.nl.ca) or phone (1-800-809-0106) with concerns on this issue.Thanks for taking a read of all this folks and we hope to see you there!

In Solidarity,

The Council of the Grenfell College Student Union.

2010-11-18

MEDIA ADVISORY – Students to Officially Launch Province-wide Fund the Future Campaign and Policy Document

ST. JOHN’S, NL – The Canadian Federation of Students will be holding a media conference tomorrow to officially launch a campaign calling on the provincial government to increase funding for the public college and university system, improve student financial assistance, and reduce tuition fees. The current tuition fee freeze is set to expire at the end of this academic year.

Copies of the Federation’s policy document entitled – Fund the Future: A Vision for Post-Secondary Education in Newfoundland and Labrador will be available at the launch.

Representatives of each of the public college and university students’ unions from across the province will be in attendance.

Date:        Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Time:      9:30 a.m.

Location:

Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s Campus

3rd Floor, University Centre

‘the Loft’ (UC – 3013)

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada’s oldest and largest student organisation. It is composed of more than 80 university and college students’ unions with a combined membership of over one-half million students, including EVERY public post-secondary student in Newfoundland and Labrador.

2010-11-16

Newfoundland and Labrador the most affordable place to attend college or university: Statscan

For Immediate Release ,Thursday, September 16, 2010

ST. JOHN’S—While average Canadian tuition fees hit a record high this year, students in Newfoundland and Labrador enjoy the most affordable education in the country, according to a report released today by Statistics Canada.

“While across the country students are paying higher fees than ever before, those in Newfoundland and Labrador can celebrate our government’s commitment to the tuition freeze in recent years,” said Daniel Smith, Newfoundland and Labrador Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “However, despite maintaining a freeze in fees in recent years students in the province often still graduate significantly in debt. While we have come a long way, there is still more work that must be done.”

According to the Statscan report, average tuition fees in Newfoundland and Labrador are $2,624, well below the national average of $5,138.

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador first froze tuition fees in 1999, after nearly a decade of increases that left this province’s graduates the most indebted in the country. Since that time, fees have been frozen or reduced every year. As debt levels rose dramatically across most of the country, average student debt decreased in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“We do things differently in Newfoundland and Labrador. While other premiers continue to hike tuition fees, ours is working to create a system of post-secondary education that is the envy of the rest of the country,” continued Smith. “Increasing funding to colleges and universities, to improve quality and keep fees low is key to reducing student debt and a crucial investment in our province’s future.”

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For further information, please contact:

Keith Dunne, Newfoundland and Labrador Organiser

709.737.3204 (office) or 709.687.5640 (cellular)

2010-09-16

Cancellation of Youth In Transition Survey Shortsighted

OTTAWA, July 22 /CNW Telbec/ – The federal government’s plan to cut the Youth in Transition Survey, and several other student surveys, will make it all but impossible to make informed education policy.

“The government’s misguided assault on student-focused research will leave policy makers shooting in the dark,” said David Molenhuis, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “We risk losing the ability to make informed decisions about social and economic policies regarding education.”

The federal government recently announced its intention to cancel funding for the Youth In Transition Survey (YITS), National Longitudinal Survey on Children and Youth, the National Apprenticeship Survey, and the Program for International Student Assessment, currently carried out jointly between Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and StatisticsCanada.

These studies are the primary sources of information on who is attending and who is excluded from post-secondary education. They provide vital information on students, their first post-graduation interaction with the employment market, and the relationship between education and employment. The YITS and the PISA, are required to fulfill international commitments to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s data services. Without this information, policy makers will not be able to tell what is working or identify necessary changes to make students in Canada internationally competitive.

“If policy isn’t going to be guided by empirical research, then what will it be guided by?” added Molenhuis.

The Canadian Federation of Students’ open letter to Human Resources and Skills Development Minister Diane Finley can be downloaded from www.cfs-fcee.ca.
Founded in 1981, the Canadian Federation of Students is Canada’s largest student organisation, uniting more than one-half million students in all ten provinces.

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For further information: David Molenhuis, National Chairperson, (613) 232-7394

2010-07-22

Students Pleased with 2010 Provincial Budget

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release, Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Students Pleased With 2010 Provincial Budget

ST. JOHN’S—Students welcome the new funding in the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Budget, released yesterday. In addition to continuing the tuition fee freeze and increasing funding to the College of the North Atlantic and Memorial University, the provincial government announced much needed funding for new on-campus housing units in St. John’s and Corner Brook.

“Students applaud these impressive efforts to improve the affordability and quality of post-secondary education in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Daniel Smith, Newfoundland and Labrador Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “By providing funding for the construction of new on-campus residences, the provincial government has responded to a call by students who are struggling to find affordable housing in St. John’s and Corner Brook.”

The new residence funding announced in the budget will allow for the construction of a 500-bed residence at Memorial University’s St. John’s campus and a 200-bed residence at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook. The budget also invested $2 million for graduate student fellowships as well as a $6 million increase in funding to continue the tuition fee freeze at Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic.

“Increased funding for our post-secondary education system is an investment in our people, our province and our collective future,” said Smith. “This budget shows that the provincial government continues to listen to students and their families by improving access to high quality education.”

The Canadian Federation of Students-Newfoundland and Labrador represents every public university and college student in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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 For further information, please contact:

Daniel Smith, Newfoundland and Labrador Chairperson

709.737.3204 (office) or 709.685.3203 (cellular)

2010-03-30

Province has second lowest tuition fees in the country: StatsCan

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release, Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Province has second lowest tuition fees in the country: StatsCan

ST. JOHN’S – Newfoundland and Labrador continues to buck national trends by maintaining very affordable post-secondary education according to data released today by Statistics Canada.

“The report illustrates the Newfoundland and Labrador government’s commitment to an affordable system of post-secondary education,” said Daniel Smith, Newfoundland and Labrador Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “Not only is freezing tuition fees a popular public policy, but it is also a sound economic and social policy.”

Tuition fees in Newfoundland and Labrador are currently the second lowest in the country, following Québec. Tuition fees have been frozen and reduced in the province since 1999. For the vast majority of programs, tuition fees are $2,550 per year for university students and $1,452 per year for students at the College of the North Atlantic. These amounts are significantly less than the national average, which stands at $4,917.00 per year, as reported today.

In addition to continuing the tuition fee freeze and increasing funding to the College of the North Atlantic and Memorial University, the provincial government has also implemented forward- thinking student financial assistance policy including the recent elimination of interest rate charges on the provincial portion of student loans and the expansion of the up-front grant program.

“These policies are clearly paying off: student debt is decreasing, enrolment has gone up, more students are staying in the province to study, and Newfoundland and Labrador has been attracting a growing number of students from other provinces and countries,” said Smith.

Every public post-secondary student in Newfoundland and Labrador is a member of the Canadian Federation of Students.

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For further information, please contact:

Daniel Smith, Newfoundland and Labrador Chairperson

709.737.3204 (office) or 709.685.3203 (cellular)

2009-10-23

Students Question Mayor Pender’s Stance on Housing Shortage

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release, Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Students Question Mayor Pender’s Stance on Housing Shortage

Corner Brook – In the midst of a campaign to lobby the provincial government for increased affordable housing, Grenfell College Student Union (GCSU) is now questioning the Mayor’s knowledge of and willingness to act on the current lack of affordable housing in Corner Brook. Mayor Pender recently suggested in the media that students themselves should construct housing to address the current housing crisis and that the issue was not one for the municipality to deal with.

“You would be hard pressed to find anyone in the City of Corner Brook who would disagree that there is a major housing shortage,” said Terry Randell, President of Grenfell College Student Union.  “We need to work collectively to enhance housing infrastructure for students and others who are on a fixed income. Addressing the need and demand for housing in our city must be a priority. Unfortunately, at this point during the ongoing municipal election, it appears that Mayor Pender has no real plan to deal with this issue.”

The mandate of the GCSU is to represent its members and advocate for student rights and issues.  GCSU has no authority, mandate or budgetary ability to develop housing.

“GCSU represents it members on issues such as housing and lobbies for positive change – it does not construct residence facilities. This is clearly a government and institutional undertaking.  It would be a step in the right direction if Mayor Pender recognized this and assumed the leadership role expected of him as Mayor to work with the provincial and federal governments to address this serious issue,” said Randell.

According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, vacancy rates currently stand at 2.0% on average for the province. The current vacancy rate of 0.4% for Corner Brook is the lowest in the province.

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For further information, please contact:
Terry Randell 709.637-6200-6132 (office) or 709-640-6042 (cellular)

Redesigned GCSU Backlot website offers latest entertainment information

Sept. 8, 2009

NEWS RELEASE: Redesigned GCSU Backlot website offers latest entertainment information

CORNER BROOK –The GCSU Backlot recently updated its website to better connect with the community.

Located at www.thebacklot.ca, the GCSU Backlot website displays a variety of entertainment including live bands and comedy. On Fridays, some of the best local bands and talent from across Atlantic Canada take the stage. On Saturdays, students can enjoy live DJ entertainment.

In addition, student favourites such as Tuesday Trivia and Thursday Open Mic Night are held weekly. The Backlot, patio and GCSU food court is also available for private bookings such as: weddings, reunions and birthday parties throughout the year.

“The GCSU Backlot is arguably the premier venue for live entertainment in the city of Corner Brook and we have undertaken improvements to thebacklot.ca to serve our audiences even better,” said Terry Randell, president of the Grenfell College Student Union (GCSU), which owns and operates the Backlot and Student Centre.

GCSU has a great line-up of bands and entertainers coming this fall, including Mardeen, The Tom Fun Orchestra, Tim Chaission and the Morning Fold, Wax Mannequin, Norman Nawrocki (sexual health comedian), Randy and Lahey from the hit Showcase Series The Trailer Park Boys, and Tony Lee X, who performs an extreme hypnosis show (rated R; must be of legal drinking age).

Kerian Smith, GCSU vice-president executive, explained that the website improvements are an effort to maintain and improve communications with the Grenfell community.

“Harnessing the potential of social media and networking sites is a great way for any organization to promote its services and activities,” he said.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION:

For further information, please contact:

Terry Randell 709-637-6200-6132 (office) or 709-640-6042 (cellular)

Kieran Smith 709-637-6200-6168 (office)

2009-09-09

Students concerned about growing housing crisis

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release, Friday, September 4, 2009

Students concerned about growing housing crisis

St. John’s – With the school year about to begin, many students are finding it increasingly difficult to find on-campus or affordable off-campus accommodations. In particular, students moving to St. John’s and Corner Brook are finding it difficult to find apartments, due to a growing shortage of available lodgings. Unfortunately, the shortage in these communities represents just the beginning of a much bigger social challenge for Newfoundland and Labrador.
“This has become a major concern for students and their families,” said Daniel Smith, Newfoundland and Labrador Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “It’s essential we strengthen our province’s safety net now to deal with the social challenges that wealth is going to place in our way.”
While the problem is most visible in Corner Brook, housing shortages are affecting students in other parts of the province as well. According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, vacancy rates currently stand at 2.0% on average for the province – a drop of 1.2% in one year alone. Corner Brook has the lowest vacancy rate in the province at 0.4%. Particularly affected are those who are on a fixed income – students, seniors, persons with disabilities, single parents, those burdened with student loan debts, and those employed in low-paying sectors of the economy.
“We’ve seen housing and apartment rental prices sky-rocket in urban areas over the past three years,” said Smith. “It’s critical that as our economy grows, we develop legislation and policies designed to ensure that nobody gets left behind. Affordable student and public housing strategies need to be prioritized before the problem gets completely out of control.”
Students are working with other concerned community agencies to address the problem, and recently formed an Affordable Housing Coalition in 2008, to develop strategies to present to government. Other individuals and agencies sharing concerns about accessible housing in the province are encouraged to become involved.

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For further information, please contact:
Daniel Smith, Newfoundland and Labrador Chairperson
709.737.3204 (office) or 709.685.3203 (cellular)
2009-09-04

Students Unable to Meet Financial Obligations: Survey

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
ST. JOHN’S – A new Ipsos Reid poll shows that students are becoming increasingly worried about how they will be able to make ends meet this school year.
“This poll shows that many students are in dire circumstances,” said Daniel Smith, Newfoundland and Labrador Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “The highest summer unemployment numbers ever recorded
for students means that many will not be able to make ends meet this school year.”
According to the survey, a third of students fear they will run out of money before the end of the first semester, with half of the students surveyed saying they will run out of money before the end of the school year. Almost three-quarters of those surveyed said that finding work is essential to being able to afford to continue their education with the same number saying that working will have a negative effect on their studies.
These results come on the heels of a recently released Statistics Canada report, which showed that students continue to be among the hardest hit by the recession. According to the report, the unemployment rate for students aged 15-24 rose to 21% this July – breaking all previous records. 152,000 fewer students were able to find work in July 2009 compared to one year earlier.
“The provincial government has taken important steps to help students through these difficult economic times by continuing the tuition fee freeze and expanding the up-front grant program,” said Smith. “The provincial and federal governments must now work together to ensure that investments in post-secondary education are the cornerstone of the country’s economic recovery.”
The Canadian Federation of Students-Newfoundland and Labrador represents all 25,000 public college and university students in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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2009-08-19

Students welcome new infrastructure funding for Ocean Sciences Centre

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release , Tuesday, August 11, 2009

 Students welcome new infrastructure funding for

Ocean Sciences Centre

ST. JOHN’S—Students are pleased with new post-secondary education infrastructure funding announced today.

“This funding will directly boost employment and provide support for our economy in the near term,” said Daniel Smith, Newfoundland and Labrador Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “As well as the positive impact on the local economy, expanding our ability to conduct world-class research at our post-secondary institutions is to the benefit of our society as a whole.”

Approximately $6.5 million will be spent on infrastructure at Memorial University’s Ocean Sciences Centre, located in Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove. The funding will be used for the construction of new buildings, laboratories, research facilities and equipment at the Centre.

“While investments in new infrastructure are certainly welcome, the federal government must increase transfer payments for post-secondary education in order to deal with the current infrastructure and deferred maintenance needs of our institutions,” said Smith.

The Canadian Federation of Students-Newfoundland and Labrador represents all 25,000 public college and university students in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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 For further information, please contact:

Daniel Smith, Newfoundland and Labrador Chairperson

709.737.3204 (office) or 709.685.3203 (cellular)