As campus gears back up to welcome back students for the fall, the SU was busy over the summer months advocating to all three orders of government and the university on a variety of issues. Here’s your summer update.
The SU met with Health Minister Jason Copping, who also represents the university and surrounding communities in the legislature. The SU discussed tuition and the need for a student jobs program with the Minister. Students have been without a jobs program since the cancellation of the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP) in 2019. Neither of the jobs programs announced by the UCP government include students. In summer of 2021, one in four students looking for full-time work was unable to find it.
The SU met with several members of the Official Opposition caucus on the jobs issue as well. The SU was able to secure a commitment that the Opposition would bring back STEP to help students find summer work with four times the budget from the cancelled program. The Opposition expects it will help create 12,000 summer student employment opportunities.
Throughout the summer, the SU conducted research on a number of provincial policy asks with the intention to advocate to Alberta’s major political parties to include these policies in their platforms ahead of the next provincial election anticipated for May 2023. The annual SU advocacy survey is currently out and receiving student feedback on these issues. The SU plans to ramp up its efforts through the fall and winter in an attempt to push student issues to the forefront of the upcoming election campaign.
The SU’s advocacy team travelled to Ottawa to begin setting federal advocacy priorities through the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA). The SU hosted CASA delegates in Calgary in August to finalize priorities ahead of CASA’s annual advocacy week in November.
The SU also met with the NDPs critic for advanced education to discuss federal priorities around jobs, student financial aid, and mental health.
The SU held an advocacy day at Calgary City Hall and met with four Councillors or their staff. Discussions primarily centred around the housing crunch in Calgary, transit safety, and the UPass program. The SU secured a commitment from a Councillor to pursue potential changes to the UPass model and to include students as stakeholders in decision-making around transit.
The SU continues to push the university to fulfill its promises on the Credit Granted (CG) option for students. The university made a commitment that all undergraduate students would have reasonable access to CG. Instead administration has allowed certain faculties to regulate CG out of existence. The SU is working on a solution to ensure some access for all students.
The university increased tuition through the Exceptional Tuition Increase process last year. Undergraduate increases occurred to engineering (32%) and Medicine (15.7%). The SU has asked that the university provide metrics for at least the next five years as to how these additional student dollars will be spent. The university has not provided metrics to this point and we will continue to push on this issue through the fall.