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Students’ injunction to retain management of MacHall fails
A judge has ruled against the University of Calgary Students’ Union in their battle to retain control of MacEwan Student Centre, better known as MacHall – the popular student centre operated by the Students’ Union (SU).
After successfully managing MacHall for more than 40 years, the SU will no longer be the building manager, and all revenues generated by their food court leases will revert to the university. After threats to the SU by the university’s current administration, they will now assume the management and operational responsibilities for MacHall and collect $1.9M in annual revenues from the facility. The university has committed to doling out some of these revenues at their discretion to support the SU’s programs, however, no concrete plan has been provided to demonstrate how this will happen.
“This was only the first step to preserve students’ rights in MacHall and does not affect the lawsuit against the University of Calgary and the Board of Governors related to student ownership of MacHall” said Stephan Guscott, the president of the 74th Students’ Legislative Council. “It is the SU’s position that neither current students nor alumni are being given the appropriate recognition for their financial and operational contributions over the past 60 years to the student centre.”
“We are disappointed in the ruling,” said Guscott. “The university sought to terminate the operating agreement four years before the end of its term, and this injunction would have prevented that from happening.”
The SU received a letter without warning on Sept. 23, 2014, from the university’s administration unilaterally terminating the agreement effective Dec. 9, 2015. This deadline was extended when both sides entered mediation on December 3, 2015 and was set for May 6, 2016 – exactly 21 days after mediation broke down on April 15. The deadline was extended again until the judge gave her ruling on the SU’s injunction application.
“Now that the university will assume the management of MacHall and take the SU’s revenues generated by the food court, we know students will feel the negative impacts to important SU services, programs, and advocacy” said Guscott.
Despite repeated requests by the SU, administration has failed to produce any definitive proof whatsoever for their claim that students are not co-owners of the building, or that undergraduate students at any point since 1969 ever surrendered these ownership rights. “This is why we intend to continue to pursue students’ rights in court” said Guscott.
The SU is, and always has been, prepared to resume negotiations with respect to the building once students’ ownership rights have been properly recognized and acknowledged by university leadership.
For more information:
Stephan Guscott, President
The University of Calgary Students’ Union
(403) 390-8576 firstname.lastname@example.org