Just like Admiral Ackbar, Students' Union president Julie Bogle knows when protesting tuition is a trap.
The SU tuition consultation policy is a near-perfect example of Bogle's approach to the SU. Like the paper, Bogle is professional, well-researched and presents a strong partnership between the SU and university administration.
The tuition policy has caught the attention of both the Calgary Herald and the Gauntlet. Despite criticism that the policy lacks measurable outcomes and does not do enough to get the attention of students, the policy is well-researched, has strong support from almost all members of the Students' Legislative Council, and will receive the backing--in the form of the motion being seconded at the Board of Governors meeting--from the University of Calgary's president Dr. Harvey Weingarten.
Bogle's' professionalism, as well as the recent change in some key administration positions at the university, can be cited as the reason why the SU has the ear of some of the key decision-makers at the university. Being at the table is a good thing for students, in that we have representatives right there when policy is being made. In addition, top executives have made presentations to both SLC and Students' Academic Assembly, shedding light on the inner-workings of the university to elected officials.
However there are two minor concerns. Firstly, that having students involved makes the university look student-friendly, while students' concerns are not necessarily taken seriously. Secondly, that if the university does something that the SU is against, will they be willing to take a strong stand against the issue if it means the carefully fostered relationship will suffer?
Bogle has received similar concerns from some of the elected officials and fears were voiced that although Bogle makes an effort to listen to them, their comments are not always heard.
From elected officials, there has also been concern that her professionalism hinders her ability to remain approachable to students. However, in an interview with the Gauntlet, Bogle noted she plans to make an effort to become more involved with student life, which should increase her accessibility.
An important endeavor to note is the branding campaign the SU has taken on this year. In the past, the SU has struggled with how to communicate with the 28,000 undergraduates on campus. This year's SU has made inroads on the problem by conducting a survey, making faculty representatives more visible through giant posters and using the Gauntlet to communicate with students through the SU view every week, instead of once a month.
However there is a noticeable difference in how this year's SU communicates with media. Trying to remain on message in interviews means students aren't always getting all the information that could be available to them.
Small criticisms aside, Bogle has done a good job so far. Her executive is cohesive and hardworking and both the SLC and SAA have been efficient under her leadership.
As she vowed in her platform, Bogle has taken the time to examine the tedious policies of the SU and has taken a focused approach on certain issues, as exemplified by the SU's Affordable Housing Paper--another well-researched document that has produced results in the form of praise from government officials and the announcement of a new student residence. Watch for this admiral's tactics in the new year.