The SU advocacy team has been advocating to city council about the importance of supporting and implementing the housing affordability recommendations, which were brought to committee on September 14th. The SU advocacy team spoke with city councillors leading up to the vote about the impact that skyrocketing rental prices and extremely low vacancy rates have had on students, urging councillors to pass all the recommendations.
Students made their voices heard loud and clear at City Hall on September 14th, joining hundreds of others rallying for housing affordability. The energized group heard messages of support from Mayor Gondek, Councilor Wallcott, and many inspiring individuals sharing the impact that the housing crisis is having on folks in Calgary during the rally.
VP External, Mateusz Salmassi, and passionate students Isabella Rodriguez Pinedo, Michael Storozhakov, and Siraaj Shah spoke at the public hearing expressing that the strategy is essential for students and Calgarians alike. On September 16th the strategy was successfully passed in full with additional amendments which prioritize student housing and landlord licensing.
What exactly does this mean? Passing the ‘Home is Here’ housing strategy means many positive things for students and increased access to affordable and safe living accommodations. This includes 25 million dollars invested into post-secondary student housing, exploring landlord licensing, 3,000 new non-market homes and an additional 1,000 market homes per year, incentives for secondary suites, zoning changes, and many more positive strategies to address the housing crisis. Passing the strategy is an exciting step towards a more affordable future for all Calgarians. The SU advocacy team will continue to engage with councillors and all levels of government to ensure that these recommendations are effectively implemented.
The SU would like to extend a huge thank you to every person who helped to make the passing of the strategy possible. From students who wrote to their city councillor, helped volunteer, showed up at the rally, or spoke at the public hearing, we couldn’t have done it without you, thank you.
Tuition and Fee Consultation
This month marks the start of the tuition and fee consultation process with the university as they prepare their proposal for the next round of tuition and fee increases. Preliminary proposals for tuition and fee increases were made by the university sharing a 2% proposed increase to domestic tuition, a 10% proposed increase to international tuition, and a 2% increase to all mandatory fees.
As part of the consultation process elected officials and students were provided a chance to respond to the preliminary proposal during SLC on Tuesday, September 26th. The meeting is the first of many meetings which will serve as a chance for both students and SU elected officials to urge admin to take student feedback into consideration. SU president, Shaziah Jinnah Morsette, and VP External, Mateusz Salmassi presented to admin during the September 26th meeting specifically sharing the SU’s expectations and asks regarding the proposal.
So, what are our asks? The SU calls for administration to align international tuition increases with domestic tuition increases. All students are facing significant affordability challenges and disproportionately penalizing international students is something the SU will not stand behind! Additionally, the SU urges administration to increase investment in international student services to better support international students. The SU also calls for a freeze on all fees until there is increased transparency about where money is going and the quality of services that they promise to provide has increased. Students should get good quality services in return for their fees, and this is currently not the case.
Consultations will continue throughout the coming weeks. On October 11th, the university will hold a Student Community Discussion in MacEwan Ballroom. On October 31st, administration will attend a second SLC meeting. Student engagement is essential to make sure that the future proposal reflects what students want.
A Win for Haskayne Student Representatives
The SU is also extremely proud to announce that faculty representatives have secured a voting seat on the Haskayne Faculty Council. Student representatives have not had a vote on the council since 2015 and have worked extremely hard to make sure that students have been afforded a seat at the table.