A student denounces the lack of humanity of her university, which refuses to reimburse her for the $800 paid for the session that she cannot complete because she is the caregiver of her cousin suffering from terminal cancer.
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“It’s disgusting […] The choice I am given is to let my cousin die alone. »
Stéphany Beauchamp, 41, is a licensed practical nurse. She teaches in vocational health training.
She is also studying part-time at the Longueuil campus of the Université de Sherbrooke (UdeS) to obtain a bachelor's degree in vocational education. At the rate of one course per semester, she has been accumulating credits bit by bit since 2013 in order to qualify as a teacher.
This fall, she suddenly became a caregiver when her cousin Kathy Layette learned that she had terminal cancer of the cervix.
"It's like my sister," she says.
While working full time as a teacher, she therefore spent the fall at his bedside. She was the one who took care of washing her, cheering her up and making the connection with the doctors.
On October 11, she wrote to her department asking to defer the tuition already paid to a later session. She attached a note from the oncologist who identifies her as a natural caregiver, of which The Journal obtained a copy.
Ms. Beauchamp then came up against a categorical refusal, the date for abandonment without charge having passed.
"Since September 10, 2020, the management of the Faculty no longer authorizes us to withdraw registrations free of charge due to illness or any other situation of an unforeseen nature and beyond the student's will", can we read in the reply email.
She therefore has the choice between losing the $800 in fees already paid or neglecting her cousin. "It's financial abuse," she complains.
She therefore asked for a delay in submitting the evaluation of her recognition of prior learning course. But now time passes and she does not see how she can get there.
She must write scenarios for the 24 skills of her job, she explains. “To date, I have one and a half done […] I don’t even have the energy to open my laptop anymore. »
Case by case
"It's really shocking [...] The university bureaucracy is sometimes deaf and blind to what the student is going through," reacts Samy-Jane Tremblay, president of the Quebec Student Union.
In fact, each university, and sometimes even each faculty or department, has its own rules regarding such decisions, notes Ms. Tremblay.
The decision of the department in question is all the more surprising since requests for abandonment accompanied by supporting documents are rarely refused, indicates Guillaume Bernard, president of the Student Federation of UdeS.
For its part, the Faculty of Education of the UdeS refuses to comment on the personal situations of the students. Accommodations are put in place each semester for exceptional situations, said vice-dean Luc Touchette by email.
Stéphany Beauchamp is now thinking of applying for a review of the decision.
As for Kathy Layette, in palliative care since the end of November. It was not possible to speak with her due to her state of health.