Thursday, October 22, 2020

Veterinary medicine students petition for tuition reimbursement

September 18, 2020
<p>Licensed veterinary technician Betsie Janson, left, and then veterinary technology senior Darian Standal care for a dog April 5, 2017, at Veterinary Medical Center on Wilson Road. The MSU College of Veterinary Medicine is ranked No. 3 in the nation.</p>

Licensed veterinary technician Betsie Janson, left, and then veterinary technology senior Darian Standal care for a dog April 5, 2017, at Veterinary Medical Center on Wilson Road. The MSU College of Veterinary Medicine is ranked No. 3 in the nation.

Photo by Jon Famurewa | The State News

Almost half the 2022 class of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, or DVM, program signed a petition asking for tuition relief, according to DVM third-year Nate Vandentop.

Vandentop brought the petition to the attention of Michigan State's Board of Trustees (BOT) at their Sept. 11 meeting.

Fifty-six students of a class of 116 signed the petition; however, Vandentop said more were interested, but were, "afraid that MSU is going to try and come after me.” 

He also noted that out of fear of retribution, more people would be willing to sign the petition once a majority of the class had.

“Everyone kind of got sick of dealing with all the logistical errors and being the guinea pigs of this new curriculum,” he said.

The petition outlines some hardships the class of 2022 has endured and why they deserve compensation. For example, they were the first class that had a flipped-classroom curriculum.

"Learning veterinary medicine is such a hands-on experience that we cannot see how putting our in-person instruction can at all be reconciled with the same tuition expenses as before,” Vandentop said during the public comment portion of the BOT meeting.

Graduate students in the DVM program are allowed to come on campus once a week for an anatomy lab but, first- and second-year students in the College of Veterinary Medicine aren’t allowed on campus at all.

“We are currently working with representatives of the other classes to circulate another petition for the entire (College of Veterinary Medicine) so that we may show just how widespread and unified a thought this is,” Vandentop said at the meeting.

He received input from five or six of his classmates and implemented their ideas to reflect the entire class when making the petition.

“I felt really active and got angry one day, so I kind of started typing out this petition," Vandentop said.  

Vandentop has reached out to the class of 2021 in the DVM program to help them get a petition of their own started. 

“If students are able to see that MSU cares about making education affordable and actually worth the amount it costs it will only strengthen the relationship between the two,” he said.  

The petition asks for a response by Oct. 2.

“If we don’t get a response by then ... we can move forward with the next petition,” Vandentop said.

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