Tuition consultation is something that happens every year between the Students' Union and university administration. The purpose of consultation is to make both sides aware of pressures students and the university face in terms of tuition. There is also a loosely stated goal of coming to agreement on an acceptable level of tuition increase to be recommended by administration to the Board of Governors.
I say that this is a loosely stated goal because the administration wants to increase tuition yet again while the SU is fighting for no increase. Agreement is unlikely in this situation and with two undergraduate votes on the Board of Governors, the SU is not in a position of much influence. Moreover, the tuition decision is scheduled to go to the Board of Governors for final approval on Nov. 30, so there isn't a lot of time.
The tuition consultation team at the Students' Union is made up of myself, Vice-President External Oliver Bladek and Operations and Finance Commissioner Robbie White. The university is represented by Vice-President Finance and Services, Keith Winter; Associate Vice-President Student Affairs, Peggy Patterson; and Dean of Communication and Culture, Kathleen Scherf. There have been three meetings held so far, and four more are scheduled to take place over the next month.
So far the SU has communicated to the university that we want a zero per cent increase this year. Tuition is already too high at the University of Calgary and it can't continue to rise. The university has yet to give us any indication of what they are looking for in terms of an increase. However, Dr. Winter has indicated that a major cost pressure in the next year will be faculty salary increases. While this is an important consideration for how the university manages its own budget priorities, I don't agree that tuition and faculty salaries should be linked.
The fourth meeting took place on Mon., Oct. 22, prior to the deadline for this article. However, look for another update in the Gauntlet in the next few weeks. To express your opinion regarding tuition increases, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or watch for a forum on our Web site, su.ucalgary.ca in early November.