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Bang and a whimper

Tuition consultation starts with misunderstanding

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Though procrastination is a staple of student life, next year's tuition increase is already under negotiation.

The tuition consultation process between University of Calgary administrators and the Students' Union got off to an uncertain start. In the Universities Act that governs universities in Alberta, undergraduate students are guaranteed six hours of tuition consultation with their administration. U of C administration, however, initially proposed meeting with the SU and the U of C Graduate Students Association at the same time. SU representatives did not receive the idea well.

"[U of C Vice-President Keith Winter] said we would get six hours but one hour of it would have been the Students Union and administration alone," said Wright. "The other five hours were going to be with the Graduate Students Association. So effectively it would have been three hours that we would have been getting of consultation instead of six because approximately half the time would be focused on graduate issues and half the time on undergraduate issues."

Winter explained that Wright misunderstood administration's intentions when the joint consultation was proposed.

"There [are] certain aspects of the consultation with [the GSA and SU] that involve talking about the same thing," said Winter. "I wondered if it would be possible for us to have the two groups together while we did that. Every year we have to go over basic information about the organization, financial picture so rather than have to do it twice, I just thought it would be nice just to do it once."

Wright countered by saying Winter mistakenly assumed the GSA and SU need the same background information.

"It costs a lot to fund research and that's subsidized by the tuition of undergraduates. Because of that we have similar interests," said Wright. "Apart from that, we have different concerns about money and where the funding gets directed. There is a difference of opinion because of what's important for graduates and undergraduates."

Both sides are certain the provincial government will not increase funding to post-secondary intitutions as in 2001. However, Wright will seek a zero per cent increase. Winter hesitated to speculate on any numbers.

"I want the parties, the SU or GSA, to feel at the end of the day that every question or information that they've wanted clarification of was provided to them so that they understand what our situation is," said Winter. "Conversely, I think they want us to understand the situation that students face. So it's a good opportunity for everyone to understand each other."

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