Ask Professor Peak: Week 1

Are you an SFU student or faculty member who needs some relationship, student, or SFU related advice? In 150 words or less, send your issues anonymously by visiting the-peak.ca/professorpeak. Your entry could be published in our next issue, along with some helpful advice from Professor Peak!

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Help! SFU residence is ignoring my safety!

DEAR PROFESSOR PEAK: I’m a 21-year-old female and I live with three girls in a townhouse on SFU residence. Since we moved in, our front light has been burnt out. Our front door is not only secluded by trees, but is completely black during the night. This has been a big safety concern for me. I have sent the SFU housing department multiple requests asking for it to be fixed and, an entire semester later, nothing has been done. I even talked to my CA about it multiple times, but to no avail. I personally do not feel safe walking back to my own dorm, and SFU residence apparently doesn’t value protecting its female residents enough to ensure a safe walk back to their homes.  It makes me angry that my safety is being ignored.
ANGRY FEMALE RESIDENT

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DEAR ANGRY: I suspect the SFU housing department does value their student’s safety; if something happened, it would be a PR nightmare for them. Try to understand the situation from their perspective: a single burnt-out lamp may not be high on their list considering all the time-sensitive things they have to deal with, like flooded bathrooms, broken beds, and insect infestations.

Your best option is persistence: send the request again and try talking to your CA about why it makes you feel unsafe. Until the light does get fixed you could temporarily put a lamp in the front window or carry a small flashlight with you. If you’re concerned with the safety of women on campus, I would also recommend getting in touch with the SFU Women’s Centre. They work to address the roots of gender issues like this one, and may be able to provide you additional resources and address your concerns further.
 
PROFESSOR PEAK

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Oh no! I need help but the communications department’s advising is terribly inadequate!

DEAR PROFESSOR PEAK: At the beginning of last semester, I went to the communications department for drop-in advising. There were about 10 people in the queue and only one advisor, who was working for only a few hours each day. As I waited, I realized that the advisor would spend up to 40 minutes with a student. You’d think that a faculty as popular as communications would employ a few more advisors, and for longer hours each day, especially during the start of the semester. I wasn’t able to meet with an advisor that day, and I left feeling very frustrated. Now that the semester is about to begin, I’m scared that the same advising inadequacies will occur. I considered writing a letter to the dean, but I feel I’m just a small voice in the crowd and it would be useless. What should I do?
FRUSTRATED COMMUNICATIONS MAJOR

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DEAR FRUSTRATED: SFU bureaucracy can be extremely vexing, especially during busy periods. Unfortunately, students are often pitted against each other to get ahead of the game. This means you’ll have to trawl the communications department advising calendar for open appointments to book online, or angle for drop-in times other students may avoid. Better yet, plan to do your advising at the end of the previous semester to ensure you’re set far in advance.

That said, voicing your concerns about the system to the dean is a solid idea. Just make sure to do your research and reflect on potential solutions carefully. Consider, for example, whether additional advisors have enough work the rest of the semester to make it worth employing them. You could also try contacting the CMNSU to advocate on your behalf, or just to advise you on the best person to respond to your concerns!
 
PROFESSOR PEAK

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