CAUS I said so

By Anne-Marie Bruzga

If listening is the first step toward lasting change, Alberta’s student leaders have taken a giant leap toward changing government policy.

On Tues., Oct. 13, university and college student leaders met with Premier Ralph Klein, and Minister of Advanced Education and Career Development Clint Dunford in Edmonton to discuss student issues.

Klein told the students at the meeting that his government’s top priority is now education spending.

Paul Galbraith, University of Calgary Students’ Union President and Chair of the Council of Alberta University Students, emphasized the benefits of investing in post-secondary education to the Premier at the meeting.

"This week, the International Monetary Fund, for the first time in its history, emphasized something other than free markets as the top determinant of a nation’s economic success and progress–that determinant was higher education investment," said Galbraith.

A variety of other topics were discussed as well, but according to Dunford, 80 per cent of the time was spent discussing more Board of Governors student representation and tuition.

"There were two main topics discussed," said Dunford. "One was about the representation on the BoG and tuition policy. On the first topic, we had a great presentation by Paul Galbraith. In response, the Premier indicated it would be similar to what happened to the tuition cap–students would make a presentation to the appropriate Standing Policy Committee, and we would advise other stakeholders to get actively involved."

Student leaders are looking for an increase in Board of Governors representation from seven to 15-30 per cent in order to match the level of operating costs they say students now contribute to post-secondary institutions through tuition.

Galbraith said the presentation was a great opportunity.

"We are eagerly looking forward to presenting our position to the spc as we firmly believe more student representation on the governing boards of Alberta’s post-secondary institutions is an action that would positively impact students, faculty and administrations," said Galbraith. "It’s a win-win-win situation for institutions."

While Dunford couldn’t guarantee an increased number of students on boards, he did say that the meeting went well.

"From my vantage point, students said what they had to," said Dunford. "We heard their key points, and it is yet to be determined, but I think through the spc process, representation on boards will get a full and complete airing."

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