Media Releases

Budget 2024 Indirectly Cuts Post-Secondary, Leaves Student Talent on the Table

Budget 2024 Indirectly Cuts Post-Secondary, Leaves Student Talent on the Table 150 150 admin

CALGARY – Yesterday’s provincial budget amounts to an indirect cut on a post-secondary education system already on life support. Budget 2024 continues a familiar theme with this provincial government: post-secondary education gets defunded and Alberta’s students are asked to foot the bill.

“As students, everything we are doing here at post-secondary is to build a better future. Ideally, our elected officials present a plan that does the same. Sadly, even with the small allotments to student needs, this budget commits to the further decline of Alberta’s once-leading post-secondary education system,” said SU President Shaziah Jinnah Morsette.

“Despite the overwhelming need for funding to increase, any amount that refuses to keep up with inflation on a system already near a breaking point may as well be a cut. We cannot sacrifice the needs of today and expect a better tomorrow.”

While the SU is happy to see the University of Calgary receive funding earmarked specifically for STEM students, this runs the risk of putting an additional burden without providing funding for the staff and resources needed to provide a worthwhile education to those new students. Class sizes continue to balloon in size, and many students are forced to take their classes in buildings that are falling apart as the university is $740 million behind in repairs and maintenance.

On the whole, Alberta’s 2024 budget has cut per-capita spending on post-secondary funding by 7.3%.

The SU is also concerned that the province will once again look towards major tuition increases to make up the difference. Without an increase in operating funding for universities, students’ quality of education will continue to be jeopardized. When students’ education is at risk, the Albertan economy is at risk.

“It is alarming to see the Alberta government put funding aside for a future that students might not be able to afford, when we need major investment now. Albertans today are going to suffer so we can say we had a minuscule ‘accounting surplus’. This budget borrows from the future of not just students, but every Albertan,” said SU VP External Mateusz Salmassi.

The real risk in that future is that Alberta is going to be leaving talent on the table. Without proper funding for post-secondary education, fewer courses are available for students, which delays graduation and turns away countless talented, prospective students. Despite a target of increasing Alberta’s post-secondary seats by 30,000,  this budget falls short while students and graduates are continuing to leave the province to seek opportunities elsewhere.

The SU will continue to advocate for the needs and issues of the students not just of U of C, but for all Albertan students. The hope is that this budget will be the last of this kind before irreversible damage is done to Alberta’s future and that the priorities of those living, working, and studying in the province today are met.

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Media Inquiries may be directed to:

Nathan Ross
Manager, Communications & Government Relations
nathan.ross@ucalgary.ca // 403-835-1836

STUDENTS’ UNION 2023 BY-ELECTION RESULTS ANNOUNCED

STUDENTS’ UNION 2023 BY-ELECTION RESULTS ANNOUNCED 150 150 admin

Five new members elected to join the 81st Students’ Legislative Council 

CALGARY, AB – Results of the University of Calgary Students’ Union (UCSU) By-Election were announced at the end of the day on Friday. There was a total of five seats available across four different faculties, with Engineering, Nursing and Veterinary Medicine each electing one representative and Arts electing two.  

Looking first at the multiple positions open within the Faculty of Arts, students elected Naomie Bakana and Tanner Neigel out of the six candidates who ran in the by-election. Naomie and Tanner captured 21.2% and 24.8% of the vote, respectively.

In the Schulich School of Engineering race, Seniru Ruwanpura has been elected out of the four candidates who ran. Seniru was elected with 65% of the vote. There were two candidates running to represent the faculty of Nursing. Colton Channon was elected with 50.4% of the vote. Finally, in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine election, students confirmed sole candidate Nancy Ngo to the elected position. Ngo was previously filling the position as an appointed representative, over the spring and summer. She received a Yes vote of 100%. “I would like to congratulate and welcome our new faculty representatives to the Students’ Legislative Council. It is always a good thing for students when they have the most representation possible, so we are thrilled to welcome five new elected officials. I look forward to working with all of them for the remainder of this legislative year,” said Shaziah Jinnah Morsette, SU President.

It is also worth mentioning that in September, SLC received a resignation from one of the current Faculty of Arts Representatives. As the By-Election process was already underway by the time of their resignation, their seat was ineligible for candidates to run for. This final, vacant position will be filled by appointment in the coming weeks.

This year’s By-Election saw 1,115 students vote. As this was a By-Election, votes were limited to students currently enrolled in the applicable faculties which had races. By-Election results become official on October 23.

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Media Contact: 
Nathan Ross, Manager of Communications and Government Relations 
403-835-1836 // nathan.ross@ucalgary.ca 

2023 By-Election Faculty Representatives (left to right): Seniru Ruwanpura (Schulich), Naomie Bakana (Arts), Tanner Neigel (Arts)

Extreme tuition hikes to engineering, medical programs will harm access, student trust

Extreme tuition hikes to engineering, medical programs will harm access, student trust 150 150 Michael Brown

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Extreme tuition hikes to engineering, medical programs will harm access, student trust

CALGARY – University of Calgary administration presented plans for massive tuition increases at an information session during the Students’ Legislative Council (SLC) last night. Student leaders saw this proposal for the first time at this meeting, with no documents being provided in advance. These increases would be on top of two consecutive years of ten per cent increases in the engineering faculty, with more increases likely in the future.

Undergraduate engineering students from Canada who start their studies in September 2022 can expect an increase in tuition of 32 per cent and international engineering students will see a 51 per cent increase. Students who enroll in the Medical Doctor program will pay 15.7 per cent more. Exceptional increases must be approved by the Minister of Advanced Education.

“After two consecutive years of major increases across the board for students, with another likely this year, the University of Calgary is demanding even more. The university is placing the burden of the financial chasm created by provincial cuts squarely on the backs of students. If the university is looking to drive students further into debt, they are on the right path.” – SU President, Nicole Schmidt

Canadian students starting their engineering studies in 2022 will pay nearly 60 per cent more than the base tuition for students who started their studies in 2018. Increases of this magnitude are not sustainable for students.

It is disappointing that these proposed increases were brought forward immediately after students finished their classes and exams. The University of Calgary has a duty to consult students in the affected faculties, as well as the Students’ Union, and it is difficult to see how the university can effectively do this while students are on summer break.

In the information session with the SU, the university blamed provincial cuts as a large part of the need for exceptional increases. However, the provincial cuts are not valid grounds for these exceptional increases according to provincial policy. Exceptional increases may only be brought forward if it is to increase program quality. The Students’ Union asked for details on how more tuition revenue would be spent in advance of the meeting last night, but nothing detailed was provided by the university in advance or in person.

The Students’ Union has extended an invitation to university administration to return to SLC on June 1st to conduct a consultation now that student leaders are aware of the proposal and will have the opportunity to speak to their peers. The SU looks forward to receiving an itemized and costed list of program improvements at this meeting, should the university agree to attend.

Should the increases be presented to the Minister, the SU calls on Minister Nicolaides to reject or delay the proposed increases so that students currently in the faculty can be adequately consulted on these proposals.

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Brown

External Communications Specialist

University of Calgary Students’ Union

Cell: 403-560-0577

Email: Michael.brown1@ucalgary.ca

Committee of 10,000 announces latest fund recipients

Committee of 10,000 announces latest fund recipients 150 150 Michael Brown

 

The Students’ Union Committee of 10,000 has announced the recipients of nearly $24,000 in funding. This funding will go to support ten non-profit organizations in Calgary supporting some of the most vulnerable in our city. These organizations often look for ways to engage UCalgary students within their programming and often the Committee of 10,000 funding enables that student involvement.

 

“I would like to thank the dedicated committee members who made great decisions to fund amazing projects that support the UCalgary and Calgary communities. Several projects were able to come to life or sustain themselves in large part thanks to this funding. This year we focused on projects that prioritized equity, diversity, and inclusion. I am so thrilled to announce this funding.” – Marley Gillies, SU VP External & Chair, Committee of 10,000

 

A full list of non-profits receiving funding is below. Organizations that have received funding such as the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association, Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, and Helping Families Handle Cancer will all help to eliminate accessibility barriers for vulnerable community members. Through supporting these projects the committee was able to ensure that more children had food to eat, immigrant women could receive community support, and families battling cancer are not financially punished during illness.

 

These projects will also bring great volunteer and employment opportunities for UCalgary students. In addition to an EDI focus, several projects emphasize sustainability like the Zero Food Waste Foundation and the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society.

 

Organizations receiving funding from the Committee of 10,000 this year were:

  • Making Changes Employment Association of Alberta
  • Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association
  • Calgary Region Airshed Zone Society
  • Zero Food Waste Foundation
  • Variety – the Children’s Charity of Alberta
  • Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids
  • Between Friends
  • Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society
  • Helping Families Handle Cancer
  • Trellis Society for Community Impact

 

To qualify for funding, organizations must be registered non-profits in Alberta.

 

Media Contact:

Mike Brown, External Communications Specialist

403-560-0577 / michael.brown1@ucalgary.ca

Alberta 2030 News Release – Alberta government backs off major and harmful post-secondary changes

Alberta 2030 News Release – Alberta government backs off major and harmful post-secondary changes 150 150 Michael Brown

 

After two years of causing upheaval and uncertainty at Alberta’s post-secondary institutions, the UCP government has backed off several initial proposals from its Alberta 2030 initiative that would have hurt students, harmed institutions, and created unnecessary red tape.

 

Thanks to a concerted effort by students, faculty, and administrators, the Alberta 2030 initiative that purported to re-imagine post-secondary in Alberta is vastly different than originally proposed. This is good news for students who were concerned about major changes in the sector causing chaos, especially as students deal with ever-increasing tuition costs thanks to UCP cuts to post-secondary.

 

“This is a win for students, in a way. We banded together and told the government that initiatives they were originally proposing like extensive performance-based funding and a centralized post-secondary board would be harmful to students and institutions. What we see the government releasing today is a heavily neutered version of their plan, one that wasn’t worth the type of upheaval and uncertainty the UCP created at our universities.” – SU President, Frank Finley.

 

The Alberta 2030 strategy emphasizes work integrated learning and commits money to support Mitacs. Unfortunately for undergraduate students, Mitacs largely focuses on graduate students. Undergraduate students remain without a student jobs program since the UCP cut the Summer Temporary Employment Program in 2019.

 

“In his briefing today, the Minister said that there is no hotline to call up and hire interns for roles. The problem is that there actually was. The STEP program filled that need and allowed students to gain experience in their field, that is until it was cut by the UCP government.” – SU President, Frank Finley

 

Performance-based funding would have tied provincial funding to goals set by the province. As the province has made significant post-secondary cuts over the last two years, with more to come, the SU was concerned these performance-based measures would have given the province the cover it needed to make even deeper cuts.

 

In a briefing with students yesterday, Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides committed to release the McKinsey report that helped develop the Alberta 2030 strategy. The SU looks forward to reading that report to better understand the information that has led to the goals and actions in the Alberta 2030 strategy.

 

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Brown

External Communications Specialist

University of Calgary Students’ Union

Cell: 403-560-0577 / Email: Michael.brown1@ucalgary.ca

2021 Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Awards winners announced

2021 Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Awards winners announced 1500 1001 Gene Baines

Calgary, AB – The Students’ Union (SU) is honouring 40 faculty members, instructors, and teaching assistants for their commitment to student success from a safe distance this year. The annual Teaching Excellence Awards (TEA) is the SU’s campus-wide recognition program which gives undergraduate students the chance to decide which instructors and teaching assistants have made a lasting, positive impression over the past year. Students determine all nominees and winners.

“This year has been extremely challenging for teaching and learning at all levels,” said Semhar Abraha, SU Vice President Academic. “Everyone has had to adapt and sacrifice in different ways. We are so proud to be able to highlight teachers who went above and beyond to support their students, especially during this difficult year. We hope these teachers know how much they are appreciated.”

This year, the SU received a record 1,356 nominations from students. The SU’s Teaching Excellence Awards committee shortlisted 125 nominees and analyzed approximately 2,500 evaluation forms. For the second year, the SU will forgo an in-person awards ceremony. The committee has produced a short video to congratulate and celebrate these instructors virtually.

Winners of the SU Teaching Excellence Award will receive an Apple Award and a framed certificate when they are able to return to campus. In recognition of the winners, the SU will also make a $5,000 donation to the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. The SU has been honouring outstanding teaching at the university since 1975, with the Teaching Excellence Awards being handed out in their current form for the first time in 1984. From the start, the awards were intended to provide students with the opportunity to give feedback on the quality of university instruction. They have contributed to teaching excellence remaining a key priority for the institution, exemplified by the Eyes High vision to enrich the quality and breadth of learning at the University of Calgary.

For more information about the SU Teaching Excellence program and the award criteria, please visit www.su.ucalgary.ca/TEA.

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See below or online for a full list of this year’s winners.

Honourable Mention – Teaching Assistants
Joshuah J. Lockett-HarrisFaculty of Arts
Colton UngerFaculty of Science
Teaching Excellence Awards - Teaching Assistants
Valerie BrunskillFaculty of Science
Hoi Ching Bernice CheungHaskayne School of Business
Laura Elizabeth CrackFaculty of Kinesiology
Milanpreet KaurFaculty of Science
Eden-Raye LukacikFaculty of Arts
Marc Herman LynchFaculty of Arts
Mohana MukherjeeFaculty of Arts
Henrique Gabriel Gularte PereiraFaculty of Science
Meghan SharpFaculty of Science
Lareeb UmerFaculty of Science
Teaching Excellence Awards - Honourable Mention
Eleonora BuonocoreFaculty of Arts
Edwin CeyFaculty of Science
Corey FlynnFaculty of Science
Tiffany GloecklerFaculty of Social Work
Barbara MartinWerklund School of Education
Steven PagetHaskayne School of Business
Nigel ShriveSchulich School of Engineering
Richard ZachFaculty of Arts
Teaching Excellence Awards
Ebba KurzCumming School of Medicine
Derritt MasonFaculty of Arts
Craig MaynesFaculty of Arts
Mary Grantham O'BrienFaculty of Arts
Annette TézliFaculty of Arts
Carol A. Gibbons KroekerFaculty of Kinesiology
Dr. Fenner StewartFaculty of Law
Krista WollnyFaculty of Nursing
Ryan HenryFaculty of Science
Sean StotynFaculty of Science
Mindi SummersFaculty of Science
Lola EmikoFaculty of Social Work
Søren R. BoysenFaculty of Veterinary Medicine
Justin KnibbeHaskayne School of Business
Ayesha MalhotraHaskayne School of Business
Alexander Mark BrutonSchulich School of Engineering
Yves PauchardSchulich School of Engineering
Miwa A.TakeuchiWerklund School of Education
Hall of Fame
Mayi Arcellana-Panlilio, PhDCumming School of Medicine
Cari DinFaculty of Kinesiology

Media Contact:

Mike Brown, External Communications Specialist
403-560-0577 / michael.brown1@ucalgary.ca

Fines for Food uses parking fines to support campus food bank

Fines for Food uses parking fines to support campus food bank 150 150 Michael Brown

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fines for Food uses parking fines to support campus food bank

 

March 22, 2021

CALGARY – The Students’ Union, in partnership with UCalgary, are giving students some food for thought this spring. From March 22 – 29, fifty percent of parking fines paid will go to the SU Campus Food Bank. This is especially important for students who are completing their studies this spring to note, as all fines must be paid prior to graduation.

 

Anyone, not just students, who pay their fines from March 22 – 29, regardless of when the fine was incurred, will be included in this “Fines for Food” pilot program. Tickets can be paid online or in person.

 

“The SU Campus Food Bank provides strong support to students and their families when they need it most. Many members of our campus community are struggling right now and the food bank is here to help. I encourage all students, faculty, and anyone with outstanding fines to pay those off in this week and make sure your money goes to this great cause.” – SU President, Frank Finley

 

The SU Campus Food Bank has operated since 1993 and has provided support to students, their families, and the campus community at large since then. In the last academic year prior to the pandemic, the food bank provided 542 hampers, a significant increase from the 481 provided the year before.

 

“We really hope that students and everyone in the UCalgary community will come out to support us this week. Initiatives like this create an inclusive and caring environment on our campus. We thank university administration for working with us on this.” – SU President, Frank Finley

 

The SU Campus Food Bank remains open during the pandemic to provide hampers or receive donations. Any member of the campus community can access food hampers by contacting the food bank at foodbank@ucalgary.ca or by phone at 403-220-8599.

 

Media Inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Brown

External Communications Specialist

Students’ Union, University of Calgary

Michael.brown1@ucalgary.ca

Cell: 403-560-0577

 

 

SU statement on return to in-person learning

SU statement on return to in-person learning 150 150 Michael Brown

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Return to in-person learning: President Frank Finley

UCalgary Students’ Union President Frank Finley issued the following statement on returning to in-person learning this fall.

Students at UCalgary want to return to in-person classes, there’s no doubt. Online learning has presented difficult challenges for students, instructors, and administration. Campus life isn’t the same without students physically in the space to learn and socialize. The Students’ Union supports returning to class in principle, however, this must be done safely without putting students and faculty at risk.

The mixed messaging from the province blaming the federal government for not providing enough vaccines to Alberta while simultaneously saying that all adults will be vaccinated by the end of June and planning for a return to class for September is concerning. This does not fill the SU with confidence.

In addition, the province has made significant cuts to post-secondary over the last three years, including more than $90 million to UCalgary alone. In his statement the Minister of Advanced Education makes no commitment to supporting institutions financially to cover increased costs such as deep cleaning. While students are being told to go back to class, the government is turning their back at the same time.

The Minister’s statement is broad and lacks detail. The SU calls on the Minister to put forward a solid plan on how to return to class safely without putting students at risk. Further, the Minister should provide financial support to institutions to allow them to open safely and ensure proper cleaning protocols can be done adequately.

If the Minister and the UCP government are serious about returning students to class, and doing so safely, then they must step up and provide details and support, otherwise they are putting our campus community at risk.

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Brown

External Communications Specialist

University of Calgary Students’ Union

Cell: 403-560-0577

Email: Michael.brown1@ucalgary.ca

The Results Are In: Students’ Union 2021 General Election

The Results Are In: Students’ Union 2021 General Election 1200 500 admin

[alert]UPDATE: As of March 12, the results of the 2021 SU General Election are now official. A By-Election will be held this fall to fill vacancies for faculty rep positions in Social Work, the Cumming School of Medicine, and the Haskayne School of Business, as well as second UCalgary Senate seat.[/alert]

After weeks of forums and online campaigning, undergraduate students at UCalgary now know who their student leaders will be for the 79th SLC. Nicole Schmidt is the SU President-elect capturing 76% of the vote. Schmidt will take over from current SU President Frank Finley in May.

In the Faculty of Arts race, students selected four candidates from seven who had thrown their hats in the ring. Elected to the Faculty of Arts Representative positions are: Fayo Abdi, Justin Gotta, Matthew Herring, and Sofia Huarte Aguilar.

In the Faculty of Kinesiology race, Areeb Qayyum was elected with 45% of votes cast. Over at the Faculty of Nursing Dorsa Zamanpour won that race with 52% of votes in that faculty.

New SU President, Nicole Schmidt will join acclaimed executives Renzo Pereyra (VP Academic), Marley Gillies (VP External), Mickail Hendi (VP Operations & Finance), and Assad Ali Bik (VP Student Life) as the 79th SU executive team.

3,055 students voted in the 2021 General Election. The results announced today are provisional and will become official on March 12, 2021.

All newly elected officials will be sworn into office at the Colour Night ceremony in early May. Over the summer, the newly elected student leaders will conduct orientation and annual planning sessions.

Other results include acclaimed candidates for the following Faculty Representative positions:

Cumming School of Medicine:
Rafael Sanguinetti

Law:
Saliha Haq

Science:
Pragya Chopra
Megan Raivio
Chaten Jessel

Veterinary Medicine:
Lauren Stoffregen

Haskayne School of Business:
Adrian Alcantara

Schulich School of Engineering:
Taimur Akhtar
Khaled Elmalawany

Werklund School of Education:
Dhwani Joshi

Shagufta Farheen is appointed to the UCalgary Senate while current SU President Frank Finley was acclaimed to the UCalgary Board of Governors as the Student-at-Large representative.

The SU will hold a by-election in the fall of 2021 to fill a vacancy for the second UCalgary Senate seat as well as for open Faculty Representative positions in the faculties of Social Work, the Cumming School of Medicine, and the Haskayne School of Business.

Inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Brown
External Communications Specialist
Michael.brown1@ucalgary.ca
Cell: 403-560-0577

Photo Credit: Gene Baines

Alberta Budget continues to squeeze students

Alberta Budget continues to squeeze students 150 150 admin

CALGARY – The University of Calgary Students’ Union is disappointed but not surprised by the continued lack of support shown by the UCP government towards students. The provincial budget revealed continued deep cuts to post-secondary that will see tuition and student costs rise while also forcing the university to cut supports and services that students use.

The university expects a nearly $90 million cut to their budget based on previous and current provincial budgets. As a result, students can expect to see their tuition increase by up to 22.5% by the time this budget is fully implemented. In another short-sighted move the government eliminated the tuition tax credit which amounts to a $200 million tax hike on students and their families.

“If students were to receive a better, higher quality education by paying more that would be easier to swallow, but the university is being forced to cut staff in addition to raising tuition. Online learning also doesn’t provide the same campus experience. In short, thanks to these continued cuts students are paying a lot more and getting far less.” – Frank Finley, SU President

Beyond the cuts, the SU is disappointed to see no plan to help undergraduate students find work this summer or once they graduate. Last year nearly one-third of students surveyed were unable to find any summer work at all. Another 12% indicated they found summer work, but their employer cancelled the position. Students are facing dwindling summer job prospects while being asked to pay more for their educations.

“Students are struggling to cover the cost of their education already and a lack of summer opportunities means they will go further into debt and be unable to even cover their basic expenses as well. We encouraged the province to bring back the STEP program or a similar student job program. Our calls have fallen on deaf ears.” – Marley Gillies, SU VP External

Silver linings in the budget were non-existent. For the last five years the provincial government has committed funds for post-secondary student mental health services and supports. There appears to be no such commitment in the 2021 budget. The SU hopes that the province did not cut mental health funding for students in the midst of a pandemic.

Overall, the SU is incredibly disappointed with the government’s lack of commitment to post-secondary education. While the UCP government cries poor, it has provided $4.5 billion in tax cuts to corporations and lost more than $1.5 billion in the Keystone XL deal. Investing even a portion of those funds in universities or colleges would have prepared students for jobs in the new economy and provide a solid boost to student and new graduate employment. Instead, more and more educated young Albertans are leaving the province for greener pastures.

Media Inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Brown, External Communications Specialist
Michael.brown1@ucalgary.ca
Cell: 403-560-0577