Tuition consultation started this year with a statement from University of Calgary administration to the Students' Union that tuition consultation was not negotiation during their first meeting on Thu., Oct. 2.
According to SU President Jayna Gilchrist, the sessions are for information gathering and allow administration to know what the SU thinks. The SU learned there will be no new differential fees this year and no fee increases for international students, however administration has not calculated the maximum tuition increase.
"We're trying to emphasize we need to see an example of quality," said Gilchrist. "We've had tuition increases for the past 10 years. Students aren't seeing quality."
Associate Vice-President Student Affairs Dr. Peggy Patterson thought the first meeting went well. She feels it's important to work within the principles of the tuition policy passed by the university.
"There's a very strong convergence [between both sides] on student accessibility and quality of educational experience," said Dr. Patterson. "The majority of the meeting is on what that means."
Gilchrist also learned the university is trying to fundraise $6 million for scholarships and bursaries and should reach that goal by June 2004. Topics covered by the SU include more technology for student services, moving classrooms out of trailers, moving courses out of the 10 a.m.-2 p.m. block and exhausted professors.
"Professors are busy with research and their teaching is inhibited by that," said Gilchrist. "The morale of profs reflects on students."
Both sides see quality as a main concern.
"The quality of the student experience is our top priority," explained Dr. Patterson. "There are things getting in the way of students experiencing that, but what would be the financial impact?"
Gilchrist believes the next meeting on Fri., Oct. 10 will focus on more concrete ways to change the university. However she has strong feelings about administration's statement.
"Frustrated," summed up Gil- christ. "There's not much else to explain. We'll try to inform them."
Representing the SU is Gilchrist, SU VP External Lauren Batiuk, External Commissioner Sean Hartley and Operations and Finance Commissioner Jarrod Fuhr. On the administration side is VP Academic Dr. Ron Bond, Dr. Patterson and VP Finance Mike McAdam.
Talks between administration and the two student representative bodies (the SU and the Graduate Students' Association) about tuition are legislated under the Post-Secondary Act that governs universities. The SU and administration will meet two more times with administration, one session for 90 minutes and another for 45 minutes. The last meeting, on Oct. 31, is a joint session with the GSA.