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High traffic crashes Fanshawe emergency fund site within minutes

Credit: ANGELA MCINNES

The online application for the student emergency fund will be relaunched on April 14, 10 a.m.


Angela McInnes | Interrobang | News | April 13th, 2020




The online application for Fanshawe’s student emergency fund was flooded with applications when it opened this morning at 10 a.m., causing the website to crash.

“We believe the site crashed due to volume,” Elaine Gamble, senior manager of Fanshawe’s corporate communications, told Interrobang at around 11 a.m. “Our IT folks are working on it as quickly as possible.”

The $1.5 million fund is comprised of donations from the Fanshawe Student Union (FSU) and various donors. Students facing economic challenges due to the COVID-19 crisis can receive up to $500 of the fund on a first come, first served basis – once the technical issues are resolved.

Students attempting to apply for the grant experienced frustration as the website’s application tab, entitled “Students Apply Now,” had the words “coming soon” added next to it.

Norbie Winiarski, a first-year police foundations student, has been laid off from his job since self-isolation orders began. He said he doesn’t qualify for employment insurance since he spent most of the past year studying, and that he needs all the help he can get to pay for food and rent.

“If Fanshawe prepared and thought over what they were doing, they'd have made intervals for the application,” Winiarski said. “I don’t know if you've seen how the CERB [Canadian Emergency Response Benefit] applications were laid out, but depending on what month you were born, you had a different day to apply. Not to mention [the College] basically just copy -pasted this relief fund from the [2017] strike. It’s disappointing.”

Other hopeful applicants for the emergency fund include international students. According to canada.ca, CERB applicants must have made at least $5,000 in the past 12 months through either employment income or self-employment income. This means that some students who were unable to achieve this must depend on their savings to get by.

“I lost my job because of the COVID-19 and have no source of income for now,” said second-year photography student Poornima Nair. “I also am international student, so I don’t have as much benefits and it is difficult for me to survive without a job, unfortunately. Right now, I am surviving on the savings I have. The fact that the $500 will help me with my rent or something as basic as groceries makes a huge difference for me, or for anyone I am sure.”

At 2:45 p.m., Gamble emailed Interrobang to say the College will relaunch the application site the next day, April 14, at 10 a.m. Once the application is in operation, the student emergency fund is expected to be depleted. Eligible students can reapply once the funds have been replenished.
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