UWindsor Together: Student Mental Health and Remote Learning Services
key on ring with fob shaped like houseCommunity Legal Aid has released six tips for students on protecting themselves as tenants.

Tips provide guidance for student tenants

Renting a property near campus is a relatable experience for most UWindsor students. Sometimes, the rental process can take a turn for the worse and students may suddenly find themselves in a precarious legal situation with their landlords. For this reason, Community Legal Aid — a joint project between Windsor Law and Legal Aid Ontario — has released six tips on renting and protecting yourself as a tenant.

  1. Don’t rent a site unseen. Go and see the unit. This may not always possible when you don’t live in the same city and don’t have friend or family member that could visit the unit in your place. But if you can, always visit the unit before you sign a lease agreement.
  2. Ask questions. Are utilities included? Who exactly is the landlord and what is their contact information? If it is a house, who shovels the snow? If it is a shared accommodation, what exactly is included in the rental? Who do I make a maintenance request to?
  3. Make sure you sign a proper lease and get your own copy. As of March 1, all residential tenancies lease agreements in Ontario have to use the new official Residential Tenancy Agreement form. If you don’t get your own copy immediately upon signing, take photos of the lease and keep them for your records. Follow up with the landlord to make sure you get your own copy. If the landlord is a corporation, make sure you have the contact information of the agent or property manager.
  4. Get rent receipts. Collect your rent receipts and keep them for your records. Even if you pay by automatic withdrawal, ask for receipts. Your landlord is required to give you a rent receipt upon request.
  5. Use email for maintenance requests. Whenever possible, correspond in writing any requests for maintenance. If maintenance requests can only be made by telephone, make sure to document the call including the date and time, who you spoke with, the nature of the issue, and any next steps. If there is a form to fill out, take a photo or keep a copy for your records.
  6. Take photos. Take photos of the unit when you first move in, any maintenance and repair issues that come up during the tenancy, and of the final walk-through when you leave the unit having terminated the tenancy. The limitation period for most issues to be raised at the Landlord and Tenant Board is 12 months so keep them at least that long.

“It is important to take the time to make sure these steps are followed,” says executive director Marion Overholt. “Sometimes important issues are overlooked because students feel rushed or intimidated.”

She invites any students with concerns about their rental situations to reach out for advice.

Community Legal Aid provides legal services for full-time University of Windsor undergraduate students or low-income residents of Windsor-Essex. The clinic serves as a learning environment for law students to build their advocacy and litigation skills, while providing necessary legal services to the community. For more information about the clinic, visit the Community Legal Aid website.

For more rental tips and information, check out Steps to Justice “Questions About – Renting a new place to live.” You can also view the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 which governs the relationship between residential tenants and landlords in Ontario. The Landlord and Tenant Board publishes guidelines to help tenants and landlords understand their rights and the processes at the Board.

Zoom screen showing multiple singers in individual locationsSpecial technology enables music students to combine their performances separated in space but not in time.

Virtual party to bring audiences to music performances Thursday

For music students in the School of Creative Arts (SoCA), the pandemic has meant that their ensemble courses — requiring singers and instrumentalists to meet in person as a choir or orchestra — have not been possible.

However, through creativity, innovation, and an investment in technology, for the past four weeks, students taking the hybrid ensemble workshop courses have been able to play their part in solitude but hear the other performers without any delay or distortion in the sound.

SoCA installed microphones in 21 practice rooms and small classrooms located in the basement of the Armouries. The cables plug into a mixing board located in the Rehearsal Hall. There the ensemble director and all the students are hard-wired into the sound board. The master of the mixing board is Trevor Pittman, the school’s concert producer and operations manager.

“We have 21 spaces down the hall where students would normally go to practise their instrument or sing. And they are mostly soundproofed,” explains Pittman. “Seeing the students interacting in a way that for a whole year wasn’t possible, and for a subject that you are so passionate about, is just an incredibly wonderful, emotional moment.”

Normally, in a Zoom rehearsal, participants must remain muted so they hear only the piano accompaniment and the instructor’s voice.

“I think our flexibility comes from taking the time last spring and summer to think about different possibilities, to dream different plans,” says Bruce Kotowich, SoCA’s acting director and director of choirs. “Now, with the system that we have in the basement of the Armouries, we have this cohort [of students] that comes in. They can hear and see each other, and they can react to one another. No more bedroom karaoke doing Zoom choir.”

This semester, students rehearsed large and small ensemble pieces, arranged new pieces for their friends, and spent about four weeks in live rehearsals, and then recorded their individual parts to all their repertoire. A team of hardworking audio and video editors then assembled all the individual recordings into concert videos.

Join SoCA on Thursday, April 8, at 7 p.m., as the students share their work from this semester and celebrate the successes possible in these challenging times at a watch party on Zoom. Attendees will see and hear performances by the Jazz Ensemble, the Choral Project, and the Wind Chamber Workshop whose selections were arranged by students.

Individual registration is required to attend. Register for the SoCA Watch Party here.

—Susan McKee

Young woman working on laptop computer.For adolescents, learning online doesn’t replace in-person interactions, says education professor Lana Parker.

Provincial push for online schooling threatens public education: researcher

The Ontario government is discussing making full-time online schooling a permanent choice, an idea that threatens the viability of education as a public good, UWindsor education professor Lana Parker argues.

“Fully online learning has had consequences for mental health, with increased feelings of social isolation. There have also been challenges to physical health, as youth grappled with a lack of physical activity and deteriorating eyesight,” Dr. Parker writes in an article published Tuesday in the Conversation, which shares news and views from the academic and research community.

Her research into youth literacy and online engagement explores how proficiency in navigating technology should not be mistaken for understanding complex information.

“Literacy learning can be strengthened when students and teachers explore the emotional implications of contentious issues in a classroom community,” she writes. “In other words, leaving students alone in front of screens for even more of their already online-immersed day does not improve their critical thinking or engagement.”

Parker notes that a proposal to partner with TVOntario to offer online learning coincides with a plan to sell the province’s curriculum to private schools, and raises concerns about student privacy and inequality, especially for children with special education needs.

“An impoverished public system drives families into private schools, which further erodes the public good,” she concludes. “Defunding and marketization will leave public education in a race to the bottom.”

Read the entire piece, “Ontario’s ‘choice’ of fully online school would gamble on children for profit,” in the Conversation.
Patti WeirPatricia Weir has accepted an appointment as acting provost effective May 1.

Dean of graduate studies appointed acting provost

Patricia Weir has accepted an appointment as acting provost effective May 1, UWindsor president Robert Gordon announced Tuesday.

As dean of graduate studies for the past decade, Dr. Weir has worked with units across campus to support student development, success, mental health, and career planning, and to ensure efficiency and procedural fairness, he noted.

“With a long history in academic governance, and in provincial and national leadership roles, Dr. Weir has built a robust national network which will support informed decision making in her new role. She is a passionate advocate for the University, with a deep and nuanced understanding of our campus and local communities, and possesses a proven track record in working with and learning from students, staff, faculty, and partners.”

The University will begin a search to fill the role permanently in early 2022.

Anti-Black Racism Student Leadership Experience GrantApply for a $10,000 Anti-Black Racism Student Leadership Experience Grant by April 15.

Deadline approaching for Anti-Black Racism Student Leadership Experience Grant applications

There is about a week remaining to apply for a new grant program supporting student projects to address anti-Black racism.

Five Anti-Black Racism Student Leadership Experience Grants of $10,000 each are intended to foster student-led research and leadership skills, enhance student engagement and the student experience, and assist in the training of highly creative and motivated students.

Submissions are due no later than April 15 from applicants meeting one of the following requirements:

  • Student at the University of Windsor
  • Black-led community organization
  • UWindsor faculty or student service

Review the full details, eligibility, and application procedures online.

Icons denoting various video gamesLancer Gaming wants to know what programs UWindsor students would like added to its offerings.

Survey to weigh student esports preferences

The organizers of Lancer Gaming are seeking information from UWindsor students about what offerings they would like to see introduced to its esports menu.

An online survey will ask respondents about their gaming interests and backgrounds, says esports co-ordinator Jeremy Renaud.

“The answers to our questions will help us learn what games we should add next, for both competitive and recreational play,” he says. “And we’ll learn more about the potential participants.”

Take the five-minute survey at uwindsor.ca/success/lancergaming/research.

President's Medal

Nomination deadline extended to April 8 for President’s Medal

The Student Awards and Financial Aid office has extended the nomination deadline for the 2021 President’s Medal to April 8.

One medal and a $1,000 scholarship sponsored by the Office of Student Experience will be awarded to a graduating student who has made an outstanding contribution to campus activities while maintaining a superior academic record.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to nominate a deserving University of Windsor student by completing the President’s Medal nomination form. This is an excellent way to recognize an outstanding student for their contributions in the presence of their peers. For more information, contact Student Awards.