By Emily Senger
Students open their hearts and wallets for tsunami relief
Clubs across campus united to raise money for the tsunami relief effort. Clubs such as the University of Calgary Red Cross Club, the Sri Lankan Buddhist Society, the Muslim Students’ Association, UNICEF and Human Concern International joined forces to raise money for overseas relief efforts.
“We are absolutely flabbergasted just in the last couple of hours at the generosity of staff and students here,” stated Kyra Derksen, co-president of the U of C Red Cross Club.
Post-secondary education a priority says Klein
Alberta Premier Ralph Klein announced over the winter break that post-secondary education will be a priority when legislature resumed in February. This came in the wake of the creation of the Ministry of Advanced Education just prior to the last provincial election.
“Honestly, it’s a huge win for students,” said Students’ Union President Bryan West. “I think it’s huge for Albertans that the message got through during the provincial election and now the government’s willing to step up to the plate and make some changes.”
CJSW celebrates the big 2-0
CJSW celebrated its 20th birthday. The station has been on the air since 1955, when it was better know as “Varsity Vista,” a 15-minute segment on CFAC radio. CJSW received its FM license Jan. 15, 1985 and was launched on 90.9 FM.
Tuition rises again and SU gets $1 million for quality
Tuition increased by the maximum 5.8 per cent at the Board of Governors meeting in December. At the same meeting, the BoG gave a $1 million grant for student initiatives. In addition, the BoG promised the SU a proportion of the money received from expected funding increases for post-secondary education from the provincial government.
The SU included a non-binding plebiscite question in the SU General Election in February to ask students where they feel the money should go.
Solar car challenge
A group of U of C students from diverse faculties joined to create a solar car to race in the North American Solar Challenge. The U of C team encompasses nearly 100 students and represents the largest student project in U of C history. The team will compete in the 10 day race in Austin, Texas beginning July 17.
Dinos Athletics in jeopardy
Students voted in favour of a plebiscite question to raise the Dinos Athletics levy. The Dinos Athletic levy increased to $44 per semester for all students by 2008.
Dinos Athletics claimed that should the plebiscite fail, 14 of their 22 teams would be forced to fold.
U of C students keep the peace
Two U of C students, Corporal Asela Peiris and Corpral Les Champ, traveled to the Golan Heights as part of their commitment to the Canadian Military Reserves.
Frozen tuition – for now at least
In a televised address to the entire province, Premier Ralph Klein announced that his government will freeze any tuition increases in the 2005-2006 academic year.
“My message tonight to Alberta’s universities, colleges, and technical institutions is this: If you must increase tuitions, don’t send the bill to your students. Send it to us,” said Klein in his address.
Klein also promised to create 15,000 new post-secondary spaces in Alberta over the next three years, and 60,000 new spaces by 2020.
NUTV gets new Director
Michelle Wong was named Executive Director of NUTV. She replaced former director Kevin Allen who resigned last year after disputes with the SU over the station’s focus and direction.
“There is huge potential,” Wong said. “We need to create a face for NUTV–Âa buzz that will encourage student participation from across campus. I want students choosing to look up at the [closed-circuit] screens.”
Faculty asks university to postpone budget cuts
The University of Calgary Faculty Association’s President Dr. Anton Colijn called for a delay in the proposed five per cent budget cuts in an open letter to UÂ ofÂ C President Dr. Harvey Weingarten in February. The letter came the same day Premier Ralph Klein announced new money for post-secondary education in Alberta.
“The faculty association finds it problematic, perhaps even disturbing, that even though the province has announced big increases in support for post-secondary education, the university is going ahead with severe cuts,” said Colijn.
Vanity aside – baring it all for cancer
For the third year in a row, students raised money for cancer by shaving their heads. 125 people at the U of C went under the clippers to raise $80,000 for the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta.
This year’s event raised between $60,000-$65,000 and expanded to include Mount Royal College.
Event organizer Irfaan Sorathia thanks participants, donors, volunteers and everyone else who made the event possible.
$3 billion for PSE Endowment Fund
Lieutenant Governor Norman L. Kwong’s Speech from the Throne announced a new $3 billion endowment fund for post-secondary education from the provincial government. The fund will provide $123 million for PSE annually, and is part of the Access to the Future Act, Bill 1.
Kwong’s speech was followed by legislation for the $3 billion endowment fund in addition to a $1 million increase in the Alberta Heritage Scholarship Fund and $500 million expansion of the Ingenuity Fund.
“It’s a clear signal that the province is moving quickly to solve accessibility,” said U of C Vice-President External Relations Roman Cooney.
U of C student goes missing
Police began an investigation into the disappearance of University of Calgary master’s student Michael Charles Lewis who had not been seen for two weeks. Concerned family and friends notified police that Lewis was last seen since early February when he attended a conference in the Mewata Armoury.
“It’s a bit suspicious,” said Christopher Northcott, a friend of Lewis. “No one has seen or been in contact with Michael. It looks as if his apartment hasn’t been touched at all since Friday–the only thing that looks like it’s missing is the suit he wore out that night.”
Lewis was found by firefighters searching the banks of the Bow River in March. Foul play was not suspected.
Food Services outsourced to Chartwells
The U of C Board of Governors announced Food Services will be outsourced to the international food services corporation Chartwells. The decision is estimated to save the university $7 million over 10 years, but 298 employees could lose their jobs.
U of C Vice-President Finance and Services Mike McAdam said Chartwells will allow any employees who lose their jobs to re-apply for their positions.
Albi Sole, president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Local 52 called the decision to outsource Food Services “a disaster for the workers, but also for the university.”
Diver sentenced for fatal collision
The driver responsible for the deaths of U of C students Joah Atkinson and Brian Collins was awarded the maximum sentence of a $2,000 fine and a three-month prohibition on her driver’s license in a Calgary Court.
The students were killed in Sept. 2003 when they were struck by a Ford Aerostar while crossing 32 Ave at 33 St.
Sandra Evans, a 45 year-old Calgary resident, was convicted of careless driving and failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
CAUS lobbies government
The U of C’s official provincial lobby group, the Council of Alberta University Students, met with MLAs, cabinet ministers, and Dave Hancock, the Minister of Advanced Learning to advocate for increased base funding, and to prevent a double tuition hike in 2006-2007 when the tuition freeze is lifted.
CAUS Executive Director Duncan Wojtaszek said the two per cent base funding increase proposed by the provincial government is not consistent with inflation.
Big money from Talisman
Talisman Energy Inc., a Calgary-based independent oil and gas producer, announced they will donate $2 million to establish new scholarships for University of Calgary students. A single scholarship of $10,000 for a student studying in the field of energy, environment or economics is the single largest scholarship for U of C undergraduate students.
Student killed in hit and run
Lindsay Giacomelli, a 20-year-old U of C dance major was the victim of a fatal hit-and-run mid-March. She was struck by a red SUV while using a crosswalk on Bonaventure Dr. S.E. and later died of her injuries.
Colin Jones, a 48-year-old Calgary man, was arrested at Pearson International Airport in Toronto while attempting to board a flight to the United Kingdom after his vehicle was found near Cochrane.
Campus Pro-Life protests draw criticism
The Campus Pro-Life Club drew criticism from students and university administration for their “Genocide Awareness Project” which used images of historical tragedies, including the Holocaust, in comparison to abortion.
CPL claimed the SU and U of C administration censored them and denied them their right to put up the display on campus.
Roman Cooney, U of C VP External Relations said CPL was given the option of displaying a scaled-down version of their display on campus, but they refused to comply.
SU makes plans for quality money
The Students’ Legislative Council passed a proposal in late March on how to spend their $2 million of quality money allocated by the Board of Governors.
The proposed plan will split the money into a number of SU projects, including 25 per cent of the funding to a student commons in MacEwan Student Centre, and 25 per cent for a SU undergraduate research endowment. A campus improvement fund and a class size reduction program were allocated 15 per cent each. Smaller projects will receive the remainder of the money.
Quebec students protest budget cuts
Â Since mid-March, approximately 200,000 Francophone students have entered a student strike in response to budget cuts to the province’s student bursary program.
The $103 million per year budget cuts imposed by Education Minister Jean-Marc Fournier will reduce the bursaries and scholarships for lower-income students and will increase the average amount of student debt.
Mac Hall renovation plans complete – 10 years later
After almost 10 years of planning and negotiations, the third floor of MacEwan Student Centre may see renovations in its near future. Pending on funding, the three proposed new spaces for the Multi-Faith Centre, NUTV and CJSW will begin construction by Fall 2005. Renovation plans have been in the works since the 1995 Students’ Union referendum decision to expand MSC.
Securing both operating agreements and funding have been major obstacles hindering the renovations.