News

Statement – Credit Granted in Engineering

Statement – Credit Granted in Engineering 150 150 Michael Brown

The Students’ Union is incredibly disappointed that the university has failed to keep its promise to offer all undergraduates a Credit Granted (CG) option.

Over the summer, the SU was assured that all students would be able to make use of CG. We agreed at that time that faculties could impose reasonable restrictions on certain courses like core requirements or prerequisites.

Instead, the university has allowed the Faculty of Engineering to restrict CG out of existence for its students. Students will not be able to CG any courses in that faculty.

This is unacceptable. Students deserve an institution that follows through on its promises.

The University of Calgary administration has failed its students.

CG is vital for two reasons: First, it allows students to explore courses outside of their major without fear of academic consequence. Second, and most importantly, it can assist students who may be facing mental health challenges over the course of their degree.

Despite claiming to prioritize student mental health in documents like the Campus Mental Health Strategy, neither the university nor the Engineering faculty has addressed these concerns in their decision to disallow the CG option for Engineering students.

To qualify for a CG, students must receive at least a C- so students are receiving a passing grade that they then convert to a CG. CG will not cover-up a failing grade. Students can only use CG on up to three semester-long courses over their entire four-year program. Surely there are courses that Engineering students take where a CG can be used without affecting graduation or accreditation.

The bottom line is that the SU took the university at its word that it would implement the CG option, in some form, for all students. Going forward, the SU will be far more skeptical of promises made by the institution.

The SU will continue to call on the university to honour its word in this matter. We encourage the university and the Faculty of Engineering to reconsider its restrictive and ill-conceived approach to CG, and instead prioritize the mental health of students.

SU welcomes new City Council, stands with survivors

SU welcomes new City Council, stands with survivors 150 150 Michael Brown

The UCalgary Students’ Union looks forward to working closely with the newly elected and sworn-in Calgary City Council. The SU offers its congratulations to Mayor Gondek as she begins in her historic position as the first woman Mayor of Calgary.

The SU also congratulates new Ward 7 Councillor Terry Wong. The SU had a close relationship with the previous Ward 7 Councillor and we look forward to continuing this important relationship.

The SU plans to bring forward important student issues to Mayor Gondek and Councillor Wong, as well as other members of Council. Students are concerned about transit accessibility, plans for the Green Line, the hollowing out of downtown, and how our new elected officials will engage and better involve young people in political processes.

The SU is sending a letter outlining these concerns as well as a request to meet with most City Councillors and the Mayor.

Gender-based and sexual violence is a problem on all post-secondary campuses. UCalgary is no exception. Students and young people look up to our elected officials and expect them to be held to a high standard. The recent revelations regarding Councillor Chu are disturbing.

The SU believes victims and survivors.

Working with Councillor Chu would erase much of the work our organization has done in the area of campus sexual violence. Students deserve an organization who will speak up for them and that is exactly what we are doing.

Our organization is committed to representing all students, including students who have been victims of or affected by sexual violence. Therefore, our organization cannot, in good conscience, engage with Councillor Chu going forward. Many UCalgary students live in ward 4 and deserve effective representation from their Councillor. The SU cannot see how this can be achieved given the current situation.

If you need immediate help and support on this issue or others, please reach out to the Distress Centre by calling them at 403-266-4357. They are available to help 24 hours a day.

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Brown

External Communications Specialist

University of Calgary Students’ Union

403-560-0577

Michael.brown1@ucalgary.ca

 

 

 

Board of Governors Approves Exceptional Tuition Increases…again

Board of Governors Approves Exceptional Tuition Increases…again 150 150 Michael Brown

The SU is disappointed, but not surprised, that the University Board of Governors passed two undergraduate Exceptional Tuition Increases. The increases will affect students starting their studies in fall 2022 in Engineering and the Medical Doctor program. Tuition will increase by more than 30% and 15%, respectively. These increases will now go to the Minister of Advanced Education for final approval.

The SU has opposed these undergraduate increases for the following reasons:

– The SU has not received a full itemized list of program improvements funded by these increases.

– The SU has asked about how the university will measure program improvement over the next five years and how it will determine that the programs have actually improved.

– It is unclear how students feedback this fall has changed the increase proposals, or if it has at all. The SU believes this should be reflected in the proposal submitted to the Minister.

– Recent tuition increases should be considered as a package. An engineering student starting in 2022 will pay at least 50% more than a student who started in 2019.

– Students are having a hard time finding work. To increase tuition by this magnitude during a pandemic and economic downturn is poor timing and ignores the circumstances of students.

The SU was successful in advocating for a delay to approval when these proposals were initially brought forward in May. The SU cautioned the Board of Governors in May and June, that consultation with students was not adequate. The faculties conducted surveys in March and April but failed to tell students what the survey was about or link them in any way to massive tuition increases. It wasn’t until after students had left campus for the summer that the full details of tuition increases were revealed.

The Board of Governors declined to delay the process despite inadequate consultation. Thanks to SU advocacy, the Minister of Advanced Education rejected the proposals and sent them back to the university to conduct proper consultation. The university was forced to consult again throughout the first month of the fall semester and that consultation was more robust.
It remains unclear just how student feedback gained this fall by the university has changed the ETI proposals. The SU strongly believes that if no changes were made as a result of the redone student consultation, the university should note that in its final submission to the Minister.

To prevent such a situation from happening again, the SU is preparing a document that sets out what meaningful consultation looks like and what the roles and responsibilities are for both the SU and the university when it comes to consultation processes. Through this we will make sure that when the university consults with students, students are given the full details of what is occurring and ensure that consultation occurs while students are enrolled in classes.

The SU is anticipating further tuition increases this year, meaning costs for these programs and others will increase further and students will be asked to shoulder that burden going forward.

2021 SU By-Election Results

2021 SU By-Election Results 150 150 Michael Brown

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2021 SU By-Election results
October 15, 2021

Students went to the polls for the SU By-Election in what has become a busy election season. The SU is asking students to vote in several Faculty Representative races, a Senate race, and a series of plebiscite questions with regards to the SU Health & Dental Plan. For the first time, there were no immediate acclamations announced after Nomination Days, instead students were asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for uncontested races.

The results are in.

The Faculty of Social Work has chosen Nik Jarvis with 55% of the vote.

Haskayne School of Business students chose Jaime Pablo with 61% of the vote. He will join Adrian Alcantara as the Haskayne Faculty Representative.

For the Cumming School of Medicine, Emily Macphail will join Rafael Sanguinetti as Faculty Representative after winning 97% of the ‘yes’ vote.

For University of Calgary Senate, Armaan Sidhu was elected with 86% of ‘yes’ votes.

Several questions were also posed to students around the SU’s Health & Dental plan. The questions are non-binding and seek to better understand student perspectives on how they use the plan and its future.

Students were asked for their priorities when it came to the dental portion of the plan and the medical portion of the plan. Of students who indicated a preference on the dental plan, the largest plurality of students (21%) are willing to pay up to $15 more per year for improved coverage. Of students who indicated a preference on the health plan, the largest plurality (33%) are willing to pay up to $25 more annually to improve coverage.

On the third question, 50% students who voted support a potential constitutional amendment to allow for price increases to the plan tied to inflation up to a maximum of 4% annually.

The officials elected will serve until the end of April. The SU will be running its General Election next March to form the 80th SLC.

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

Advocacy Update – October 2021

Advocacy Update – October 2021 150 150 Michael Brown

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 feedback@su.ucalgary.ca.

Advocacy Update – September 2021

Advocacy Update – September 2021 150 150 Michael Brown

There was a lot going on in September. It was great to welcome students back to campus and the SU was busy advocating for you and making sure everyone was safe as classes resumed.

First, the SU is continuing its advocacy with regard to the last-minute course changes imposed by the university and resulting steep financial costs students unnecessarily incurred as a result. The university moved hundreds of courses online at the discretion of instructors in late August and early September. We heard from hundreds of students who had most or all of their classes move online suddenly. The SU was not consulted on this decision at all.

Many affected students incurred travel, accommodation, or parking costs under the assumption that the university would honour the course delivery type students registered for. We have heard from international students who have spent up to $5,000 to be here and domestic students who have spent around $3,000. Now they get to learn from a laptop.

Unfortunately, the university hasn’t stepped up to fix the problem they created. The bursary they announced covered only $500 or $1000 of costs and only included a fraction of students who had their courses changed. The university has refused to meet with the SU on this topic and we are continuing to demand a meeting. Our demand is that the university fully reimburse travel and accommodation expenses for students for course changes announced to after the August 20th deadline. We will keep you up to date as this progresses.

Next, the SU won a delay to the university’s Exceptional Tuition Increases in Medicine and Engineering. The university was asked to consult with students again since they only consulted after classes had finished for the summer. The consultations are better this time but it remains unclear how student feedback has changed the proposed increases. The tuition increases will go to the Board of Governors on October 22.

The SU hosted a Mayoral candidates forum on September 23rd and it was quite the event. CBC News host Rob Brown moderated the nine invited candidates who discussed issues like campus voting, transit, downtown revitalization and more. If you haven’t decided who to vote for yet, you can listen to the debate on the SU website.

Notice of Election – By-Election 2021

Notice of Election – By-Election 2021 150 150 wrushfel

Notice is hereby given that an election will be held for the filling of the following offices:

  • Faculty Representative, Cumming School of Medicine (1)
  • Faculty Representative, Faculty of Social Work (1)
  • Faculty Representative, Haskayne School of Business (1)
  • Senate Student-at-Large (1)

Online voting will take place on the 13th, 14, and 15th days of October, 2021 through the myUofC Student Centre. Voting opens at 9 a.m. on October 13th and closes at 4 p.m. on October 15th, 2021. All University of Calgary undergraduate students registered in the Fall 2021 session are eligible to vote.

For more information, visit www.su.ucalgary.ca/elections.

DATED at the University of Calgary in the City of Calgary, Province of Alberta, this 30th day of September 2021.

 

There is also a Notice of Plebiscite as part of the 2021 By-Election. Please see the Elections page for ongoing updates. 

News Release: UCalgary refuses to meet, fails to support students after last-minute course changes

News Release: UCalgary refuses to meet, fails to support students after last-minute course changes 150 150 Michael Brown

Calgary – After pulling the rug out from under UCalgary students with hundreds of last-minute course changes affecting thousands of students, university administration has refused to meet with the SU and student leaders on the topic. Instead, the university has announced an inadequate bursary program that does not begin to make up for the stress, anxiety, hardship, and financial loss many students have been exposed to by this university decision.

Students learned in the last two weeks that many in-person classes they signed-up for were moved online. Some courses were moved online as recently as Monday, the day before classes started. Many students had made financial decisions based on in-person learning and had paid hundreds to thousands of dollars for flights, accommodation expenses, and even just parking passes that they now no longer need.

“The university made the decision to move courses online without any student consultation. It is disappointing to see that students are still an after-thought. The bursary the university announced does not come close to covering the sheer number of affected students, nor does it cover the dollar amount many students spent in anticipation of in-person classes.” – SU President, Nicole Schmidt

The university’s Fall 2021 Online Learning Relocation Grant will provide money to affected students but falls well short of reimbursing students for the full amount they may have spent prior to courses being moved online. In addition, only students forced entirely online by the university decision will be eligible. This overlooks students who may still have one in-person class but signed up for up to five and spent money under that assumption.

An unprecedented number of students have reached out to the SU saying they would have stayed in their home country or location and changed the one in-person class they still have to online delivery. The university denied them this opportunity by making changes so late.

The SU is calling on the university to ensure that every student affected by the university decision to move courses online at the last-minute can be fully reimbursed for the costs they have paid. The current bursary does not meet this standard.

“The SU has heard from students who have had courses moved online or even cancelled as recently as Monday, the day before classes start. This is unacceptable. The university has created this entire situation by moving courses online over the last three weeks. They must deal with the consequences of their decisions. Students deserve far better than what the university has put forward.” – SU President, Nicole Schmidt

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

Advocacy Update – Return to Campus

Advocacy Update – Return to Campus 150 150 Michael Brown

Advocacy Blog – Return to Campus

The SU executive and staff team have been working hard over the summer months to ensure a safe return to campus for all students. We know that students want to return to in-person learning but we need to make sure that it’s done safely and with the proper accommodations, flexibility, and supports in place.

Last week, the University announced plans for mandatory masking as well as testing for those who aren’t vaccinated. These are positive steps to keep our campus community safe, but the details are lacking.

Rest assured that our advocacy on the latest university announcement is ongoing, but the SU has been at the table to ensure that students are at the centre of the return to campus plan. Here are some of the things we have advocated on over the summer and where we’ve seen progress and some wins.

For class size information:

  • The university has committed to clearly advising students ahead of the fall semester on how they can check their class size when registering for in-person sections. Communication from the university early-on will allow students to make an informed decision about the classes they feel comfortable enrolling in. This information will also be provided in orientation content.

For study spaces on campus:

  • ICT 102 will be designated for students to use for online classes. This room was selected because it has good Wi-Fi access and charging stations. Access to this room means that students won’t have to leave campus to attend their online classes.
  • The university will also designate an additional room for online courses should ICT 102 be continually in use by students.
  • Students will be allowed to us empty classrooms and library spaces for this purpose as well.
  • The university is developing an interactive map for students to find spaces on campus to attend online courses.

For students who need accommodations or flexibility:

  • The university has committed to developing a centralized website where students can find information about COVID-related accommodations. These would come into play if, for example, you are required to self-isolate or you are immunocompromised. This website will include an interactive flowchart to direct students to the proper place to apply for accommodations.
  • The administration has increased resources for Teaching Assistant (TA) supports to be available in the fall semester to assist students who have to self-isolate.
  • The administration has committed to expanding the existing accommodations process to include COVID-19 specific considerations.
  • Students requiring long-term accommodations can fill out a COVID-19 accommodations request form.
  • Students requiring short term accommodations are encouraged to talk with their professors about academic supports in the class. Professors have been directed to take COVID-19 considerations into account for the fall semester.
  • The university committed to providing supports for students who need to self-isolate or quarantine and end up missing classes. This is ongoing.

For students living in residence:

  • Students will now be let out of their residence contracts later on than normal to accommodate the shift to online learning.
  • Should a student test positive, the university has set rooms aside for students to isolate.
  • The university has committed to providing additional wellness and mental health supports to residence students who have to self-isolate.
  • Residence students on meal plans will have be able to have their food delivered while they isolate.

This is not the end of the advocacy we are doing. We have brought forward other concerns that the university needs to work through. These include:

Discrepancy in course delivery formats: The SU has learned that some professors who are teaching in-person classes are also choosing to make an audio or video recording available to students who are uncomfortable attending in-person. This is great but this choice is being left up to individual professors. We feel this Information on the availability of lecture recordings should be made available to students when they enroll in the class or at least on the syllabus. We would also like to have this option made mandatory for all classes. We continue to meet resistance to these ideas but we will not stop pursuing it.

Rapid Testing: There have not yet been details provided on the frequency of rapid testing for those who aren’t vaccinated or refuse to disclose their status. There have not been details released on exactly what occurs when someone tests positive. These details must be clarified.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students win back ability to vote on campus in the municipal election

Students win back ability to vote on campus in the municipal election 150 150 Michael Brown

 Calgary – After being told in July by Elections Calgary that campuses would not receive ‘Vote Anywhere’ or election day polls, Elections Calgary has reversed course and will now be offering on campus voting for students, regardless of which ward they live in.

The Returning Officer has confirmed that four post-secondary institutions, including UCalgary, will receive two days each of on campus voting during the advance vote period ahead of the October 18th municipal election.

“This is a big win for students. Without advocacy from the SU and the Calgary Student Alliance we know that Elections Calgary would not have offered on campus voting at all. I would like to thank the Returning Officer and Elections Calgary for working with us to find a solution that doesn’t leave students behind when it comes to voter accessibility.” – SU VP External, Marley Gillies

While the polls will be on campuses for less time than they were in 2017, they will nonetheless help to engage students in the voting process by making it easier for them to participate in electing a new city council. The SU will continue its advocacy to ensure a full return to ‘vote anywhere’ advance voting in the next municipal election.

Student advocacy efforts received strong support from City Councillors and election candidates, alike. We extend our gratitude to Evan Woolley, Druh Farrell, Jeff Davison, Jyoti Gondek, Brad Field, and Jan Damery. We offer them our thanks for their support and their willingness to stand with us to make this important call for change.

“Students should know that they have elected officials and candidates in their corner when it comes to issues like this. The SU and CSA received tremendous support from elected officials and those running for elected office. Advocacy may take time, but it can lead to change and this situation is a prime example.” – SU VP External, Marley Gillies

The SU will now turn its attention to encouraging students to vote and will run a strong Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign to encourage students to take advantage of the accessible voting they now have access to.

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