BURNABY Instituting a massive changeover to a brand-new, untried computer system, while cutting face-to-face staff support of students, all at the same time as huge hikes in tuition, is showing signs of impending chaos as enrollment looms for SFU’s Spring term.
“When the SFU cashiers leave their stations on November 25, current signs indicate that pandemonium will occur,” says Lynne Fowler, president of CUPE 3338, representing SFU support staff.
“We all agree with the need to bring in an efficient computer system to ensure better service to students.” But according to Fowler, the University is demonstrating an unbelievable lack of planning, with a system that won’t accept students’ tuition payments online.
“They forgot to ask the ‘what if’ questions” said Fowler. “What if students don’t have web access at home? What if there is a glitch in compiling a student’s fees? What if a student disagrees with what he or she owes? And what about tuition vouchers, graduation fees, residence fees, or refunds for overpayment?”
It seems that complaints are already coming in from frustrated students who are trying to get answers to these questions before Spring 2004 enrollment opens November 12. And it’s front-line workers at SFU left trying to deal with a confusing system and irate customers.
Who is making the administrative decisions that result in this confusion? “No one seems to know where to get information,” says Fowler.
The union president predicts that when the cashiers close their stations November 25 and there is little human contact to sort out financial difficulties for students, SFU Student Services will be scrambling to figure out how to handle the complaints.
More to the point, it appears as if the remaining CUPE staff will be the ones facing student frustration and anger.
Lynne Fowler, President, CUPE 3338 (work) 604-291-5704
John Bannister, CUPE 3338 business agent 604-291-4433.