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Algoma University's Lack of Transparency Leaves Many Feeling Disheartened

Updated: May 15

By Elizabeth Davies

Many students are feeling left in the dark due to Algoma U’s recent changes. 

This semester, Algoma U has shifted their technique of releasing final grades. In the past, once a professor had the class's final grades they were free to update student’s marks via the student portal. Now, final grades have to go through another party before getting uploaded, and who this is done by is unclear. This is potentially in response to the Brampton protests in January, where numerous students protested due to unfair marking.

This is speculation, as Algoma U has not formally communicated the reason for this change. Others have speculated it’s to catch any higher than normal course averages to determine if there’s academic dishonesty in said course. 

There was an email sent out addressing the delay stating that the Office of the Registrar understands we are “waiting anxiously”, with the date set as May 3rd for marks to be released. They also addressed that this could result in students being enrolled in a spring term course that they do not have the prerequisite for, stating that if this does happen to students that they have to de-enroll themselves and will not be charged for said course.

Initially, students were shown to have completed the course with the assigned credits but not their grades, to which after the status of their courses was changed back to “in progress”. Then, the entire page with summaries became inaccessible due to maintenance. In addition to the lack of feedback for courses, there were also several issues for students attempting to register for 24S/S courses, with certain courses not showing up for course selections as well as course selections not being properly processed.  

This has caused several complications for students, like issues with OSAP. If a student is unable to take a certain course, or a course ends up being canceled due to failure of registrations, students who require a certain course load to collect the OSAP they’ve registered for will have to go through a complicated process to either find another course they are eligible to take, if any are available, or to change their OSAP application. This can lead to a loss of eligibility for funding, or the grant portion of their OSAP getting converted to loans. Numerous students feeling, considering the amount of money and time they put into this institution, that the university is handling this in an unprofessional manner. 

The cloudiness surrounding the issue is anxiety inducing, uncomfortable, and at best inconvenient for thousands of students. It’s troublesome that student’s aren’t kept in the loop by faculty. As the causes and sources of the issues are not clear nor is it being communicated officially but rather through word of mouth by professors down to and throughout the student body. That being said, it seems that the professors aren't even given full disclosure.

Algoma University has seen a lot of backlash lately, namely for their subpar responses to the minimal support of the food pantry, the ongoing housing crisis, and little mental health support. It's crucial that staff begins to properly address the issues within the community and dignify their students with meaningful responses. The ongoing issues with communication is both frustrating and concerning, and the compounding of these factors has left a bad taste in the mouths of numerous students. It's important to recognise that no institution is perfect, and the people who are working to solve the issues are just that; people. However, it's hard for many to feel empathetic when when their financial health, psychological and physical health are at risk. The compassion given should be reciprocal.

There is much much to be desired to further the trust between faculty and students, with unaddressed issues seemingly a common theme. A way that Algoma University could mitigate this issue would be to formally address students candidly to reassure and consistently keep us informed. To give us the information on what the issues actually are, why they are happening, and what is being done to resolve it would certainly provide students with a sense that they are valued as people within this institution.


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