Veritas et Utilitas: An MTP Student's Call to Action

Here’s your fun fact for the day: Western’s school motto is “Veritas et Utilitas,” latin for “Truth and Usefulness.” As a third-year student in Media Theory and Production, I am still waiting for Western to exemplify these words.

Last summer, I walked into my place of work on what I had assumed would be an uneventful Tuesday. Upon entering, a coworker turned to me and told me that my program had been cut. Their evidence? The removal of any information about it from the FIMS website.

I didn’t think that this counted as evidence. I wanted to believe that that wasn’t how we would be told. I had hoped that the people we had put our faith in when we chose to go to Western would at least see enough value in our program not to end it like that.

But that was exactly how it ended: not with a bang, nor a whimper—with silence. It was months before any statement was made officially regarding its loss. Not only was no one enrolled in the program involved in the discussions leading to this decision—we were not even informed when the decision had been made. We found out just as the public did, with blanket statements that were meant to placate us as they did the unaffected masses.

As the months went on, I had to just be grateful to be one of the last students who would get to experience MTP. And I did have a lot to be grateful for: as a joint program between Fanshawe and Western, it allowed me to learn media theory while also gaining practical skills. I put my focus into making the most of my program and the resources afforded to me.

Just as the program-cut storm had died down, we were hit with another blow—the college faculty strike. Now, I will concede that the events surrounding this are largely out of the University’s hands, and I cannot push blame onto them for the fact that I have now missed five weeks worth of classes.

What I cannot excuse, however, is the lack of communication I have received from Western.

All month, I have been asked by countless people about the status of the strike. I have no more information than everyone else. Of course, having to be strategic about what they say, Fanshawe has given me the same vague statements it has presented to the public. Western, however, has not even shown me that courtesy.

I received one email from FIMS at the start of the strike. We are now five weeks in, and there is still no end in sight. My Fanshawe fall semester has been extended into Western Exam time, my Christmas break, and the winter semester. I do not understand how, at this point in the game, this is not being approached as a Western issue when it is so clearly impacting the future of my Western education.

Being in my third year of this program, I spend most of my time at Western. As MTP students go, I am one of the most fortunate as I have the least class disruption right now. Second- and fourth-year students, however, have a full course load at Fanshawe this semester. The loss of this term jeopardizes the careful construction of their semester and, potentially, their program.

It was hard to believe that Western cared about us when they cut MTP without warning, but we were assured that we would be able to proceed with our degrees and diplomas as planned. Now, when we are once again put in a place of uncertainty with our program, we are met with silence.

I don’t expect Western to solve a strike that they aren’t part of. I fully expect them, however, to acknowledge that this disruption could be catastrophic for students in joint programs. Its five-week-long silence is an avoidance tactic that we cannot afford. So if you refuse to talk, Western, please let me. You may not have wanted to hear from us when you cut MTP, and you may not want to hear us now, but understand this:

We are still your students, and our problems are about to become yours.

Now is as good a time as any to show us the truth and usefulness you promised us.

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