BoG committee considers suspending hairstyling and esthetician programs

A decision could come during an academic and student affairs committee meeting on May 14
Photo: Nathalia Lencioni
Hairstyling student Ahnaf Hassan dries a mannequin's hair before styling it at the salon in A-building on March 12.

Ava Orendi, a 19-year-old student in the esthetician program, was shocked to hear the program could be suspended.

“It’s the first time I’m hearing about that, it’s kind of crazy,” said Orendi. “I think it’s an amazing program. I don’t think it should be suspended. A lot of people love doing it and there are not a lot of colleges that offer it anymore.”

The esthetician program is only available at 13 colleges throughout Ontario, according to the Ontario Colleges website.

Gabrielle Berard, vice chair of the academic and student affairs committee, spoke briefly about the possible program suspensions during a committee report at the Board of Governors meeting on Feb. 26.

“I will speak to a motion to suspend the hairstyle and esthetics program, which was tabled at ASAC’s last meeting,” said Berard.

A written report on the matter was not included in the meeting package.

“The committee received presentations during that [committee] meeting, from school management as well as from representatives from the program area and stakeholders,” Berard explained during the Board of Governors meeting. “No decision has been made, as the committee felt more information was needed. The committee tasked management to work with program staff and stakeholders to obtain further details and bring the matter back to the committee at its May 14 meeting.”

Esthetician student Noor Jasem
Esthetician student Noor Jasem practises on fellow student Saleena Augustine in a classroom in A-building on March 12. Photo credit: Nathalia Lencioni

Aurora Samson, a Level 2 hairstyling student, advocated for the future of the program by sharing her experience.

“I’m almost done with my program,” said Samson. “But it’s been a really great program, and I’ve met a lot of people that I get along with. I think it would be a shame if they got rid of both of these programs. I think it’s opened up a lot of doors for a lot of people. It would be really, really upsetting if they suspended the programs.”

Deanna Douglas, the hairstyling program coordinator, declined to speak with the Algonquin Times about the issue.

Linda Ducharme, the esthetician program coordinator, did not respond to the Times’ request for comment.

It wasn’t clear what prompted the committee to discuss the future of the programs.

Bruce Hickey, the communications manager for the college, provided the Algonquin Times with a statement from the college.

“The objective is to ensure that we make the best use of the college’s resources while offering a regularly updated mix of programs that serve the needs of students, employers and the community. At this point in time, no decision has been made regarding the hairstyling and the esthetician programs,” according to the college’s statement.

The statement said the college will take action to support students through the suspensions if they occur.

“If a decision is made to suspend the programs, students enrolled in the program will be notified of the time period for completing the program and teach-out plans would be provided in accordance with Ministry of Colleges and Universities guidelines,” said the college’s statement.

Orendi said she would have preferred to have been informed early on about the possibility of a suspension.

“I would like them [program administration] to come straight forward and tell us what’s happening. I don’t think anyone wants them to sugarcoat it at all,” she said.

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