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Advocacy Update – October 2021
October was a busy month on the advocacy front. The SU was ramping up its efforts ahead of the municipal election. The SU advocacy radio show had been hosting guests each week, including candidates from several wards and the leading mayoral candidates.
The SU was thrilled to see so many students choose to vote on campus while municipal polling stations were open at UCalgary. Our student Get Out the Vote campaign has concluded and we’d like to thank all students who signed up to receive text updates from us about when and where to vote. We’ve drawn the bookstore and Den prizes. Congratulations to all of the winners.
On the ongoing advocacy side of things, the SU is still pushing the university to accept responsibility and adequately compensate students who had most or all classes moved online at the last minute. The bursary the university offered was completely inadequate and failed to fully compensate students and failed to make all affected students eligible as well. Our stance is simple: The university should own the consequences of its actions. To date, it has not.
The SU is continuing to advocate for a campus wide Credit Granted (CG) option. Over the summer, the SU was assured that undergrads in all faculties would have some type of access to CG. It now appears that students in the faculty of Engineering, and others, will not have any access to a CG option. CG allows a student to credit a course and have it not impact their GPA as long as they receive at least a C- in the class.
We are continuing to advocate on this issue and are questioning the university as to why they are not following through with the commitment they made to students in the summer. While we don’t expect all courses to be included in a CG program, we do not believe there is a valid reason for any faculty to completely restrict the option.
Finally, we have two tuition updates to share:
The UCalgary Board of Governors passed the exceptional tuition increase proposals for a second time. These were passed in the early summer but were rejected by the province due to a lack of proper student consultation as a result of SU advocacy efforts. The increases affect the faculties of engineering and medicine. The university consulted with students again throughout the month of September and the consultation was better. What remains unclear is what changed in the tuition proposal content from the summer until now. The SU representative on the Board voted against but the vote still passed 11-5. The SU is looking to meet with the Minister to discuss these proposals further.
The second tuition update is the ‘regular’ tuition increases. This is third and final year that the university will be able to increase tuition by more than inflation. Under regulations right now the university can increase tuition by an average of 7% across programs with no program increased by more than 10%. These increases are largely due to provincial budget cuts. Students are paying the price as a result.
The university is also increasing a number of fees including the Student Services Fee and the Athletics fee. So, if you’re (still) reading this we’d like to hear from you as to whether you think you get value from the Student Services fee you pay or the Athletics fee you pay to subsidize the Dinos. Reach out to us on any of our socials or to firstname.lastname@example.org.