In light of all the recent press Sheridan College has been receiving, I thought I might take an opportunity to share my own experiences.
I was a full-time, on-campus student from 2008-2010, and while there had the incredible opportunity to serve as both a Resident Assistant and the Student Body President. Needless to say, in those capacities I had quite a bit of interaction with the College administration and the Board, as well as students.
Based on this experience, I have been surprised to hear mention of discrimination, false information and the focus on money and expansion above all else at the school. Before I begin, I would like to clarify that I am not seeking to discredit anyone who has expressed an opinion on the matter, as we are all entitled to our own, but rather offer another perspective for consideration.
I am proud to say that during my term as the Student Body President, the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Club was officially founded at school. Despite receiving grumbling from a small number of students, from what I saw the club received nothing but the fullest support of the administration. Even on the student side, when the time came to vote on approving GSA as a club (standard protocol for ALL new clubs), not a single person voted against it.
Furthermore, non-discrimination was one of the biggest messages reinforced throughout RA training. The importance of us setting examples as student leaders was instilled time and again. If I could summarize the policy we were taught as RAs, it would be "We will not personally discriminate against any student for any reason, nor shall we tolerate such behavior among the residents in our charge."
All I have ever seen from the administration and Board has been an effort to promote an accepting, non-discriminatory culture at Sheridan College.
Regarding potentially false information distributed by the college, I obviously cannot personally confirm any figures published by the school; however, I can say that such misinformation, especially deliberate, would be entirely against the guiding principles of the school. Fortunately, Sheridan College is offering us the opportunity on Monday night(4/29/13 @ 7pm) to interact with the administration and find out for ourselves answers to what is factual and what is not.
Regarding the direction of the school and development of new facilities, I will say that as a student I have not always agreed with every decision made by the college; however, I have the fullest confidence that the Board and the administration strive to make decisions based on what is best to fulfill the overall purpose of serving students. I have personally sat in the Board room while important issues were hotly debated, I have heard the level of background information presented for these decisions, and I do not doubt that such decision are made with nothing but the best intentions for the school as an education facility and for the community as a whole.
I would implore members of the public to attend Monday's open meeting and seek information for themselves. After all, college is about asking questions not just absorbing information, and I'm sure the school's representatives would welcome the opportunity to answer questions with facts.
I will end by saying Sheridan College is a valuable resource to our community, and any decision cast by voters regarding development of it should be based on facts.
P.S. Not sure about anyone else, but I'm pretty excited they have the Spear-O-Wigwam property for outdoor student classes, activities and the (hopefully) soon-to-be outdoor leadership program.
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