SU View: How will a 4.1 per cent increase in tuition affect you?

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We've had a federal election. The SU byelection will be a done deal by the time you read this and our neighbours to the south of the border will elect their new president in early November. But the opportunity to make your voice heard and influence your future, especially here at the U of C, has not passed.

As your Students' Union President, I represent you at the University Board of Governors-- the body that makes all the financial and operational decisions for this university.

This year, the University is proposing to increase your tuition by 4.1 per cent. During the next couple of months, the Board of Governors will be making many crucial decisions around this increase as well as deciding where money is to be allocated at this university. As your student representative, I want as much student input as possible when I speak to this issue at the Board of Governors.

In an effort to get your perspective on a 4.1 per cent increase, I would like to invite you to join me on Oct. 29 or Oct. 30 to share your views and opinions. We will be holding an open tuition consultation with all students on these days at That Empty Space from 12-2 p.m. Pizza and drinks will also be provided.

This consultation is more than just a "yes" or "no" to an increase in tuition. I want to hear how you feel the University should be investing in our education. And, if the University does raise tuition by 4.1 per cent, where do you think that money from students should be invested?

Last year, the Students' Union did a lot more than just vote "no" to a tuition increase (the University increased tuition by 4.6 per cent anyways). Students asked for a 4.6 per cent increase in the quality of education. We demanded that if the University was going to raise tuition they must also address a number of areas related to the quality of our education. These areas included the quality of teaching, more experiential learning programs across faculties, improving the quality of the first year experience and doing something about the lack of residence space. The University agreed to these terms.

So, here we are a year later. Do you feel the University has lived up to its commitment? Do you see marked improvements in the areas identified in last year's tuition consultation? Do you think the University still has a ways to go? Are they truly investing our money in areas that are of a direct benefit to students at the U of C?

I want to hear your opinions and ideas. I want to share your viewpoints with the Board of Governors so that the University has a clear picture on how a 4.1 per cent increase in tuition will affect students either negatively or positively.

So, I invite you to join me on either Oct. 29 or 30 for a frank and open dialogue. This is your chance to make sure the university is aware of the priorities, concerns and challenges of students. This is your chance to make your voice heard.

In the meantime if you would like to know more about the tuition increase proposal or what the SU is doing to address the issue, check out our web site (www.su.ucalgary.ca). Or, join in on the discussion with our University of Calgary Students' Union facebook group page.

I look forward to seeing all of you at our consultations and hearing what you think.