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Advocacy Blog – January 2021
As classes started for the winter semester in January, the SU was busy continuing its advocacy efforts to all three orders of government and university administration. 2020 presented new and unique challenges for student and academic life. 2021 appears as though it will be no different.
The SU always wants to hear from students about your ideas on advocacy and what you need to navigate your studies during the pandemic. Please reach out to the SU if you have ideas or need support.
At the university level, the SU continues to advocate on tuition, fees, and student costs. The SU successfully advocated for a ‘Credit Received’ or CR option for students who may have a course where they would prefer not to have a letter grade in the fall semester, and were able to secure the same option for early in the winter semester. Students who receive a C- or better may convert that grade to a CR which wouldn’t count towards their GPA. We are currently working on having the university offer this option permanently – we expect this change to be announced by the end of this semester. In addition, the SU has successfully made sure that online exam proctoring will not be used by the university. However, individual professors may still be using this software; if that’s the case please contact the SU.
The SU continued its government advocacy by meeting with several elected officials individually to bring student concerns forward. This included an introductory meeting with Calgary MP Jasraj Hallan who met with the SU to discuss student mental health and student jobs and internships.
The SU met with Minister Copping who is the provincial Minister of Labour and Immigration. Minister Copping also represents the University of Calgary and surrounding area in the Legislature. The SU advocated for a student summer job program to help UCalgary students find work over the summer months. Last summer near one-third of UCalgary students surveyed said they couldn’t find a job at all or had a position cancelled due to the pandemic. The SU is working hard to ensure more opportunities for student work this summer.
The SU also supported awareness efforts on the cuts to post-secondary education from the provincial government and subsequent increases to tuition. Through the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS), our colleagues in Edmonton created a snow penguin army of 800 penguins carrying signs asking the government to freeze the cuts.
SU VP External Marley Gillies also participated in a drive by protest outside the Advanced Education Minister’s Calgary office. The event raised awareness of and called for an end to the severe funding cuts by the province.
Early in January, the SU also held its annual Calgary Leaders Dinner. This year’s event was reimagined as the Calgary Leaders Dialogue since it couldn’t be held in-person as usual. SU Executives and SLC members spent time talking to Calgary elected officials from the three orders of government. In total, 18 elected officials attended and Councillor Druh Farrell acted as keynote speaker. The elected officials discussed student issues such as tuition, mental health, and transit while also providing tips to student leaders on how best to advocate and build solid relationships with governments.
If you have questions or concerns about these initiatives or have ideas on what the SU should pursue on behalf of students, again, please contact us.