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photo illustration by Mico Mazza

THIS MONTH, LUC Cormier, president of the Undergraduate Nursing Students’ Association, addressed  university President Allan Rock in a letter published in the Fulcrum on about the lack of attention toward the Faculty of Health Sciences. Cormier hopes his faculty will be unified under one roof like every other faculty on campus.

“The administration didn’t reply to my letter specifically, but in Le Droit they replied to my letter with an editorial,” said Cormier. “They replied saying that we are still the priority, but the issue of space for the faculty is the priority. We don’t want space; we want a building where we can work together.”

The Faculty of Health Sciences has classes at the main campus, Lees campus, and Roger Guindon Hall, located on Smyth Road.

After the Faculty of Social Sciences’ new building is completed, the Faculty of Health Sciences will be the remaining faculty that has not received infrastructure to combine students and staff in one central location. Cormier believes this places his faculty and the health sciences student experience at a disadvantage.

“I think it would help if we had one building where we can work together,” said Cormier. “Even professors could collaborate with each other for different projects, [while] students do interprofessional workshops, which is already going on a little bit but it’s hard because everyone is all over the place.”

Cormier said the lack of a united faculty has an impact on the sense of community among health science students, who lose a lot of time travelling between buildings on different campuses.  His greatest concern is the lack of administrative support.

“In terms of administration services, we have a nursing secretariat that we could go to for changing courses and stuff, but because of budgeting issues, they’ve moved that to main campus,” said Cormier. “We no longer have any administrative support and no services at our campus.”

The administration said the Faculty of Health Science is one of many priorities the university is trying to address as it grows.

“Spaces for the Faculty of Health Sciences, as well as the main library, the Department of Visual Arts, and additional classrooms and student spaces, have been identified among the most critical current needs,” said Karine Proulx, media relations officer at the U of O. “We are in the midst of preparing a five-year capital plan that we will table with the Board of Governors this spring, setting out our proposal for addressing these needs.”

The growing student population is a problem for the U of O, which has been addressed by renovations to Vanier Hall and the construction of a new tower for social sciences. Claudio Brun del Re, director of Physical Resource Services, said bringing faculties together is one of the university’s goals.

“It is an objective to regroup everybody into efficient groups,” said Brun del Re. “It will take time to complete, but the university has done a lot toward that in the last 15 years [and] only health sciences remains.”

Cormier said he has heard this answer before and doubts things are being done for his faculty. The Board of Governors just approved a new stadium for Lees Campus before anything has been planned for health sciences. He wants the university to commit to supporting the faculty.

“At some point, someone has to take control of the situation and make us the actual priority,” said Cormier. “I didn’t just wake up last month and decide I was tired of taking this bus. This has been something that has been going on for years and years. Someone needs to give us a building so we can have the student experience that is being advertised by the University of Ottawa.”

—Christopher Radojewski