Author Archive

Canada World Youth’s International Youth Internship

My name is Hannah Turcotte and I’m a current student at Nipissing University. I live in Powassan and am a member of the Mattawa and North Bay Algonquin First Nation. This past spring I had the opportunity to participate in Canada World Youth’s International Youth Internship. This internship is funded through Global Affairs Canada and offers Indigenous youth the opportunity to gain professional experience by working collaboratively with partner countries in the fields of international development, environmental sustainability, gender equity and social justice. This year, with the pandemic, Indigenous youth from Canada partnered virtually with youth from Peru. My Peruvian counterpart and I chose to focus on promoting gender equity by addressing gender-based violence in each of our communities. I gained leadership and facilitation skills through organizing a discussion on gender-based violence for the rural and remote community of Queccayoc. We provided the women of this community with the knowledge and resources they need to be able to recognize the cycle of violence and the signs of abusive behaviour, and to access help and safe housing during instances of violence. We arranged for a lawyer and a psychologist to be present at the event. After the discussion, one woman felt safe enough to approach the lawyer and disclose that she was currently facing violence at home. Being able to assist this woman in escaping a violent environment overwhelmed me with gratitude. I felt fulfilled and accomplished, knowing that our work was able to change the life of at least one person. After this experience, I wanted to bring awareness of gender-based violence to my own community. I again had the opportunity to strengthen my confidence, public speaking, event planning and networking skills through organizing a Zoom discussion on violence against Indigenous women in Canada. The great part of this internship is that we had the freedom to pursue our own interests throughout the project, and the missing and murdered Indigenous women crisis is something I am deeply passionate about. Prior to the internship, I had been working on an independent awareness-raising project for the MMIW crisis through my bead work page, @hannahsbeads, and was able to incorporate the knowledge I had gained from this into the internship projects. I contacted Nipissing University professors, women’s counsellors, and local Elders to speak at the Zoom event to cover topics such as how colonization has created the conditions for this crisis, Indigenous women in sex trafficking, what non-Indigenous people can do to be allies, and how to use cultural healing modalities to restore balance in our lives after experiencing violence and trauma. A highlight from this was Elder Dot Kennedy Beaucage sharing her story of the violence that she has endured through growing up with residential schools survivors. This allowed attendees to gain an intimate understanding of how intergenerational trauma inflicted onto our communities continues to harm Indigenous peoples today. I was especially grateful to be able to speak on the traditional, highly-honoured and highly-respected role of women in Indigenous societies pre-contact. Through this, attendees were able to recognize how female oppression, sexualization and degradation is a colonial construct that must be unlearned within us all. Through this internship, I have come to recognize that my actions have the power to create a positive impact on our world. Now more than ever, I am inspired to use my power to address global social issues and contribute to a more equitable and harmonious society. Thanks to Canada World Youth, I have the experiential knowledge and skills I need to pursue a career that will enable me to make these positive differences. I encourage all Indigenous youth interested in doing the same to learn more about this opportunity at canadaworldyouth.org. Link to recording: Discussion on Violence against Indigenous Women: https://www.facebook.com/QanwanQashani/videos/520844602662434

Statement re: Residential Schools

Trigger Warning: Upsetting content Yesterday, we heard the disturbing news of the discovery of additional unmarked graves, with 751 Indigenous children and adults found by the Cowessess First Nation at the former Marieval Indian Residential School. This is in addition to the mass graves found in other parts of Canada and in the United States. 215 found in Kamloops, British Columbia 104 found in Brandon, Manitoba 38 found in Regina, Saskatchewan 35 found in Lestock, Saskatchewan 180 found in Carlisle, Pennsylvania 1323 lives.  These schools were just some of more than 130 compulsory boarding schools funded by the Canadian government and run by religious authorities during the 19th and 20th Centuries with the aim of assimilating Indigenous youth.  An estimated 4,000+ children died while attending these schools, due in large part to the squalid health conditions inside. Students were often housed in poorly built, poorly heated, and unsanitary facilities, and were mentally, physically and sexually abused. The mortality rates at some schools surpassed 60 percent at times. These atrocities spanned more than 130 years.  Between 1863 and 1997, more than 150,000 Indigenous children were forcibly taken from their families and placed in these schools throughout Canada. The children were not allowed to speak their language, practice their culture or spiritual beliefs, and were mistreated and abused.  The Nipissing University Student Union would like to express their heartfelt support to all Indigenous peoples and to the intergenerational survivors of the Indian residential schools; however, condolences are not enough. We condemn the unspeakable treatment, abuse, and murder of Indigenous children and call for a thorough investigation of these deaths, as well as the undocumented deaths of thousands of other children. It is our responsibility to take action and commit to reconciliation.  As the search continues for the remains of Indigenous children at residential school sites across Turtle Island, we call on the federal and provincial governments, and church authorities, to acknowledge the cultural genocide that has taken place on this land and to commit the resources necessary for these investigations.  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Report was published in 2015, outlining 94 Calls to Action. This report can be read at trc.ca.  These atrocities took place very recently. Survivors of these residential schools have shared their stories and continue to share them. In the TRC Report, many survivors shared their horrific experiences at the hands of these schools, and the ongoing trauma they still encounter.  Today, Indigenous populations have no access to clean water. Indigenous communities face food insecurity and financial hardship. Women, girls and two-spirit people are going missing or are being murdered. The discrimination against the Indigenous peoples is continuous and ever-growing.  Settlers: Please amplify Indigenous voices, educate yourself about Indigenous issues and donate to Indigenous organizations. You can read first-hand accounts from survivors of residential schools here For Indigenous students and community members, please access support here: 
  • Nipissing University Student Counselling Services nipissingu.ca/counselling | [email protected]
  • Indian Residential School Survivors Society 1 (800) 721 0066
  • Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program 24 hour crisis line: 1 (866) 925 4419
  • Hope for Wellness 24 hour line: 1 (855) 242 3310 Available in English + French Also available (on request) in Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut
  • Talk4Healing (Northern Ontario) 24 hour line: 1 (855) 554 4325 This is for Indigenous women, available in 14 languages across Ontario

Update re: Collaborative Nursing Program

This morning NUSU and NUNS created and submitted an Academic Appeal to Nipissing University on behalf of our impacted Nursing Students, and called for the immediate change of all UNSAT, INP, or INC grades to Satisfactory for students who have been deemed satisfactory in all administered and completed aspects of the identified courses. Due to the timing of the submission, it appears that our appeal has overlapped with the decision of Nipissing University and Canadore College to overturn the grades of the identified nursing classes.

We are pleased to see that Nipissing University and Canadore College have acted in the spirit of the Collaborative Program, and that both institutions have made this decision collegially.

However, this only addresses one of the five calls to action NUSU and NUNS have outlined for Canadore College.

To reiterate;

-We call on Canadore College to immediately apologize to impacted students for the stress, and unprofessional behaviour demonstrated by Canadore Clinical Instructors, and Administration.

-We call on Canadore College to implement sensitivity and professionalism training for all of their Clinical Instructors and Administrators.

-We call on Canadore College to publicly stand against unprofessional, and uncollegial commentary about their collaborative partners to students, and demonstrate the professionalism and respect for colleagues and students that is expected of nursing students in their education and future professional careers.

-We call on Canadore College to respond to the group student complaint discussed with the Dean of Faculty of Environmental and Health Science on April 1st.

The advocacy work is not done. While Canadore College may have taken corrective action against their unethical and unprofessional behaviour, no communicated accountability has been taken. It is critical to see what flags these actions of Clinical Instructors and Administrators mean for the future of this program, and why the above demands are necessary.

In Solidarity,

NUNS and NUSU

Statement re: Collaborative Nursing Program

Tuesday, May 4th NUSU has been informed that on Monday, May 3rd nearly 200 students of the Collaborative Nursing program (Nipissing University and Canadore College) were given a mark of either unsatisfactory or in progress in their clinical courses, led by Canadore College. This leaves many students unable to progress, and potentially have to repeat this year of studies. For those deemed ‘In Progress’, these students have been left wondering what this means for the completion of their course and progression, as the semester has finished and no other work or assignments have been scheduled for completion. From our understanding, this is due to students' inability to attend clinical hours at the hospital because of the pandemic, and Canadore College’s stance that virtual simulation and alternative deliveries were insufficient. Whereas, students in the Winter semester did attend in-person labs and in-person simulation, in combination with extensive virtual simulation; Whereas, students also completed a full semester/year worth of work, including documentation assignments, required lab work (pre-lab, testing), quizzes, skills testing, and online clinical sessions; Whereas, students were not widely notified of any indication of being unsatisfactory at any point during the term until grades were posted; Whereas, students have widely completed all assessment requirements outlined in the provided syllabi;  Whereas, the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (accrediting body) has stated “Creative and appropriately supervised ways of optimizing entry-to-practice competencies in senior students while supporting the delivery of health care services during this crisis is a priority.”; Whereas, the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (accrediting body) has further stated “As the accrediting body for nursing education, CASN will accept documented, innovative curricular changes that allow students to avoid delays in graduation and support health service delivery needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.”;  Whereas, it was communicated to both Deans and Program Managers by both the Provost, Vice-President, Academic and Research (Nipissing University) and the Vice-President, Academic (Canadore College) that alternative delivery should be utilized wherever possible;  Whereas, students have been given ‘In Progress” grades, halting student ability to progress, and having no clear communication on how students are expected to complete courses; Whereas, holding students back and not allowing them to progress could mean up to 200 students having to repeat their year of school with no consideration for student accommodations, finances, or academic and placement capacity; Whereas, students in the Fall semester cohort were passed as satisfactory for year 2 and 3 students and presents inequities across these years of students; Whereas, student syllabi have included language such as, “Students will complete a series of virtual simulation scenarios in lieu of clinical hours. Weekly scenarios will be assigned along with supplementary learning activities. Scheduled synchronous online pre-briefing and debriefing will take place.”; Whereas, student syllabi have also included language such as, “Details about clinical placements will be shared once the conditions have been met for the reintegration of students into the clinical settings. This will be dependent on a number of factors including current public health and provincial directives, safety and well-being of students, hospital staff and patients, and resources and capacity.”, and to students knowledge, these conditions have not been met; Whereas, in one section where the above conditions were met, the Canadore Clinical Instructor declined to place students in the hospital; Whereas, many other universities and colleges in Ontario have progressed students under similar conditions with primarily or exclusively online education; Whereas, Nipissing University has (to our knowledge) committed to working with Canadore College to provide voluntary skills practice sessions; Whereas, students have already faced job insecurity and loss of income this past year to be compliant with health restrictions and parameters; Whereas, NUSU takes the stance that Canadore College allowing students to pay for, and spend a full academic year in courses that there was no clear plan to successfully progress in, is unethical and irresponsible, especially when the inability to progress is not related to the performance of the students; Whereas, NUSU takes the stance that the identified students have met requirements outlined in the syllabi, and should not be forced to continue any evaluation outside of the communicated academic semester; Whereas, there has been no consideration for the impact of an extended semester on students, financially, for job security or residence;  Whereas, there has been no consideration for the impacts on students regarding OSAP funding, funding for Indigenous students, professional reputation, and the mental wellbeing of nursing students; Whereas, these issues highlight recurring disregard for collegiality and professionalism in ways that have made students uncomfortable and unsure of their academic standing; Whereas, NUSU sees these actions as a continuation of the demonstrated lack of consideration and care for nursing students, their quality of education, and their wellbeing over recent years of advocacy; Whereas, NUSU and NUNS are still waiting on a follow-up from a group student complaint in one of the clinical courses from Winter semester that was presented to the Canadore College Dean of Faculty of Environmental and Health Science on April 1st; We call on Canadore College and their instructors to immediately change all UNSAT, INP, or INC grades to Satisfactory for students who have been deemed satisfactory in all administered and completed aspects of the identified courses. We call on Canadore College to immediately apologize to impacted students for the stress, and unprofessional behaviour demonstrated by Canadore Clinical Instructors, and Administration. We call on Canadore College to implement sensitivity and professionalism training for all of their Clinical Instructors and Administrators. We call on Canadore College to publicly stand against unprofessional, and uncollegial commentary about their collaborative partners to students and demonstrate the professionalism and respect for colleagues and students that is expected of nursing students in their education and future professional careers.  We call on Canadore College to respond to the group student complaint discussed with the Dean of Faculty of Environmental and Health Science discussed on April 1st. We encourage our students to contact their clinical lead with any questions, comments or concerns they have regarding Canadore College’s grading position. Students should also consider cc’ing the following people: 
  • Vivian Papaiz, Canadore College Director of Nursing and Program Manager [email protected]
  • Letitia Nadalin-Penno, Canadore College Dean of Faculty of Environmental and Health Science [email protected] 
  • Veronika Williams, Nipissing University Director of Nursing [email protected] 
  • John Nadeau, Nipissing University Interim Dean, Faculty of Education and Professional Studies [email protected] 
As all students from the Collaborative Nursing Program are members of the Nipissing University Student Union, students are welcome to contact NUSU through the following contact for further support: Our students remain our number one priority. We understand that this is a stressful time for our students; however, we are dedicated to ensuring that student voices and concerns are heard. If you are in need of mental health supports, please go to nusu.com/mentalhealth.  In solidarity, Nipissing University Student Union (NUSU)

2021-2022 Team

May marks the beginning of a new year at NUSU. Our new executive team are:
  • Joe McIntosh - President
  • Joseph Gagnier - VP Finance & Administration
  • Sarah Pecoskie-Schweir - VP Advocacy & Awareness
  • Emily Wilson - VP Student Life
All executive ontact information can be found at nusu.com/executives

2021 Events

These events are for ALL Nipissing University students. This includes Undergraduate students, Graduate students, Education students and long-distance students.

Executive Elections 2021

The Executive Elections will be taking place in January. Despite a return to campus for some students and classes we will still be holding our elections completely online. Go to nusu.com/elections to see all of the information! If you have any questions please email [email protected] December 2nd – After 9am Election information goes out January 20th – 11am  Election Nomination Package is to be sent to [email protected] This includes: nomination form, platform, headshot, 1-2 square graphics and 1-2 Instagram story graphics January 25th-February 3rd – All day Campaign period February 1st-3rd – 9am-11:59pm Voting period February 4th or 5th – After 9am  Election results