Next year, aspiring student politicians can rest easier knowing Western doesn't expect them to sacrifice their GPAs for a chance to hold an elected position.

Today Western University's Senate reaffirmed its support of students who need academic relief from circumstances not outlined in the academic policy. For example, students can seek accommodation while campaigning for a student government position.

Western student senators' chair, Harry Orbach-Miller, proposed the motion. In an interview, he said it's important students realize they won't be rejected for academic relief just because their situations aren't specified in policy. 

"A lot of students don't know that," he said. "At an all-candidates meeting for Senate or for any [University Students' Council] position, we can say 'Hey, Senate reaffirmed last year that you are allowed to seek help if you need it," Orbach-Miller said.

He said students need to be reasonable, and there's no guarantee their requests will be granted. Additionally, while the motion is symbolic — it doesn't actually change any existing policy or procedure — it emphasizes Senate's commitment to making sure students know about the academic policy and how it works.   

USC president Tobi Solebo said he plans to highlight the policy during next year's USC elections.

"Reaffirming the academic relief that students can receive will go a long way to reducing barriers, and we'll see a more diverse representation in student politics because of this motion," he said in an interview.

"It's making sure students know this is something available to them, and something we think is important."

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The motion presented at the June 9, 2017, Western University Senate meeting.

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Amy is editor-in-chief of the Gazette and a Faculty of Information and Media Studies graduate. She started working at the Gazette in February 2014. Want to give her a story tip or feedback? Email editor@westerngazette.ca

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