Tuition up $141 next year

By Neal Ozano

After four student attempts to amend the tuition increase amount, the University of Calgary’s Board of Governors voted for a 3.7 per cent increase against the wishes of student BoG representatives.

As a result, students will pay an additional $141 per year for 10 courses. Graduate students will pay $159 more per term.

There was a definite distinction between what student representatives and other BoG members wanted. Graduate Students’ As-sociation President Viola Cassis, Undergraduate BoG representative Drew Brown and Students’ Union President Toby White voted in favour of lower amendments.

Brown proposed an amendment from a 3.7 per cent increase to a zero per cent increase. Cassis then proposed a 2 per cent increase. White then proposed a 3.2 per cent increase–all of which failed three for and 17 against.

Finally, the BoG voted on their original mo-tion of 3.7 per cent, which passed 17 in favour and three against.

BoG Chair Ted Newell said the Board is sympathetic to student concerns.

"That’s why we’ve come down from 100 per cent of the maximum to 48 [per cent] in four years," he said.

Cassis didn’t think much of the Board’s efforts.

"When you talk about this being a well-thought-through, planned-out position, why is it that the Board hasn’t presented us with any alternatives?" she asked. "They’ve relied on students for so long, they don’t know any other way to get base operating revenue."

During his presentation, White suggested administration could find revenue from price increases in ancillary services, which includes things like parking, conference housing and residences.

U of C Vice-president Operations and Finance Keith Winter didn’t think this idea was viable.
"In terms of added funds by raising prices where students are not directly involved, such as conference housing, we have quite active conference housing business in the summer," he said. "But you have to be competitive. I don’t see much scope there, personally."

White was not impressed.

"They basically said that they would look into it, which is kind of giving us the runaround," he said. "We brought forward suggestions before, and it’s one thing to say they’ll be considered, but this university needs to take active steps to both lobby the government for more money, and to look at alternative revenue generation."

When asked whether or not the students’ lower-tuition amendments were unreasonable, Newell was blunt.

"It’s totally unreasonable in that we can’t live with it," he said, adding that the university is legally bound to keep a balanced budget.

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