This year, the Post-Secondary Sector within Alberta faced drastic cuts to their operating budgets. One of the largest cuts to post-secondary education (PSE) in almost 20 years. The even more challenging aspect of these cuts was that there was little information communicated to the institutions during the Alberta Governments budget process. In 2012, Allison Redford promised the PSE sector a 2% increase for the next three years. This would allow for financial sustainability and long term planning for the 26 institutions in Alberta.
The University of Lethbridge had begun their budget process with this guarantee in mind. Even with the 2% increase the institution was going to face some cuts within the institution and as a result in October the Board of Governors approved an increase in the Student Services Fee. On March 7th, The Alberta Government announced there annual budget. They had made a drastic cut to PSE. The University of Lethbridge alone would be facing a 7.3% cut to the operating grant. With this cut added on top of the amount the UofL already had to cut this resulted in 11.9 million dollars of ongoing funding that needed to be reduced.
Allison Redford made the promise that this cut “Would not fall on the backs of Students” and announced a tuition freeze for the 2012-2013 year. Unfortunately, there are still no regulations on Mandatory Non-Instructional Fees (our Student Service Fee), which leaves a large opportunity for institutions to utilize these fees as back-door tuition.
The University of Lethbridge recently announced how they would be dealing with the budget reductions after establishing the core values of the institution. Reductions were made across campus. This is going to affect every single student within our institution. Faculty have been reduced through a voluntary retirement program most of which will not be replaced because of the cuts resulting in a decrease of Quality of Education because of the increase of student to faculty ratio.
Student will also face an increase in financial barriers as a result of a 300% increase to the Student Services Fee from 2012-2013. Students will now be paying $37.50 per course vs. the previous $12.50 per course. This may not seem significant, but if you are a full-time student with a full course load (10 Courses) you will be paying $375.00 this upcoming year.
It becomes even more detrimental for our international students on campus. The international student differential is increasing from 2.26x a domestic student to 3x a domestic student. This will add thousands of dollars to the cost of their education. Fortunately, this increase will be grandfathered in and won’t be affecting current international student, but it is bound to have a significant affects on prospective international students.
You can find the International Students’ Association Response Here.
Shuna Talbot- President
- The list of candidates with bios will be uploaded to ulsu.ca as that information is submitted by the candidates here
- All videos from town halls and debates can be found on our VIMEO page here (*note: candidates are spread out over two town halls, some positions with multiple candidates running may be split over the two days)
- The campaign period has ended and Facebook pages are no longer active
VP Academic (1)
VP External (1)
VP Operations and Finance (1)
VP Student Affairs (1)
Arts and Science Reps (6)
Education Rep (1)
Fine Arts Rep (1)
Management Rep (1)
Health Sciences Rep (1)
No Candidates (by-election to be held September 2013)
First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Rep (1)
Preston Crow Chief
International Students Rep (1)
Residence Rep / ORS President (1)
Board of Govenors Rep (1)
Calgary Campus Rep (1)
Edmonton Campus Rep (1)
The ULSU is proposing some changes to the constitution and we need your input! The referendum on accepting these changes will take place online from January 30 to February 1. We are proposing the following changes:
- Adding the position of VP External
- Changing the name of the VP Internal to VP Student Affairs
- Updating the amendatory process for bylaws and policies to increase transparency
- Updating quorum rules to reflect the new 5 Member Executive Council which has been proposed
- Updating conflict of interest rules
The main and major change in this referendum is the addition of a VP External. This position would be the primary advocate to all levels of government and would be in charge of any and all community outreach on behalf of the ULSU. This change is extremely important as it would allow us to have a more focused approach when advocating on behalf of students. Currently, advocacy work is split between the President, VP Academic, and VP Operations & Finance.
With the addition of a new position, the entire Executive Council would be somewhat restructured, the changes to other positions would be as follows:
- President – would not drastically change
- VP Academic – with advocacy moving to the VP External, the VP Academic would be able to focus much more on on-campus issues and academic issues. A problem in the past has been that there has been a struggle with this position doing the work of both a VP Academic and VP External.
- VP Internal would change to VP Student Affairs – the name of this position would change to reflect the new reality that this position will solely be focused on student life, and all things related to students on-campus, including clubs. This position would no longer deal with internal Students’ Union issues, and therefore VP Internal would be an inaccurate name
- VP Operations & Finance – with no longer performing federal advocacy duties, this position would have a greater focus on the internal operations of the Students’ Union, partly taking some roles from the former VP Internal, such as being the keeper of all Bylaws and Policies.
Finally, some other small housekeeping changes are proposed:
- Changing quorum requirements for the Executive Council and General Assembly to reflect the Executive re-structure proposed
- Updating the amendatory process for bylaws and policies for more transparency. All changes to bylaws and policies will need to be publicly posted between the first and second reading
- Updating conflict of interest rules
More information about the referendum in general can be found here,
and a detailed PDF version of all proposed changes are here
The University of Lethbridge is making changes to our student email system. (You know… the one that hasn’t changed since the 90′s)
There will be 5 student focus groups held over the next couple of weeks at NOON in L950 (with free lunch provided):
- Tuesday, November 13
- Wednesday, November 14
- Monday, November 19
- Tuesday, November 20
- Friday, November 23
If you would like to have input on what your email system will be like in the future, please RSVP to Kevin Vadnais at email@example.com with the session you would like to attend. There is a limited number of seats available so apply fast!
How often are you asked about what you are going to do with your life after you leave university? How many of you know what your plans are, or are you like me and don’t have a set plan as of yet?
Many people seem to think that a university education will lead you directly into a related job… However, the reality is that a university education is meant to prepare, not train you. Here, you learn how to think critically, how to write, and you also grow up a little.
The Globe and Mail has an interesting page set up where it shows what “The University Payoff” (among other things) that would be interesting for you to explore. Find it here:
This Monday, Enterprise and Advanced Education Minister Stephen Khan visited the U of L Campus and got a tour of our (outdated) science facilities, had a meeting with the Board of Governors, and had a meeting with the ULSU and GSA Executives. While it was great for the minister to be meeting with us, we were concerned that it had taken him so long to make an appearance here in Lethbridge. The Minister responsible for Advanced Education, as he is, should place a higher priority on meeting with the very important stakeholders in post-secondary education. This includes student associations, faculty associations, and university administrations, all of whom have had a difficult time getting face time with the minister.
During the 45 minute meeting between the minister and the students, we stressed two very important points: 1) to put the current tuition cap (which limits tuition increases to inflation) into the Post-Secondary Learning Act in order to remove any potential loopholes around this rule, and 2) to put regulations on non-instructional fees which at this time are not limited in what they can increase by. A situation like that has just occurred here at the U of L where the Student Services Fee (formerly Student Administrative Fee) is increasing by $2.50 per course per year for the next three years resulting in a fee of $20 in addition to tuition per course by 2015. More information can be found here:
Today, Premier Redford was on campus and she had the opportunity to tour the Trading Room in Markin Hall and the Science Labs in University Hall. The purpose of this tour was to juxtapose the different environments here at the U of L. The brand new, state of the art trading room is one of a kind in Western Canada where finance students have the opportunisty to invest real money for their classes. This is compared to the Science Labs in U-Hall which haven’t changed since the 1970′s. The University of Lethbridge has the worst science labs of all Alberta universities, if not all Alberta post-secondary institutions. We hope this tour today showed Premier Redford the importance and the need for a new Science Complex on our campus, not just to give our students and faculty the facilities they deserve, but also as a safety measure by moving potentially dangerous labs out of a building which houses hundreds of students just a few floors down.
This year a huge initiative of mine is to encourage more collaboration on campus, specifically between clubs. A lot of organizations on campus tend to do the same sort of events and rather then working with each other they are competing with each other. These groups are not doing it on purpose, most of the time this is happening because they are not communicating with each other. How do we resolve this lack of communication? How can the ULSU encourage more collaboration?
It’s something I am trying to encourage with the Students’ Union as well and we are definitely making strides in that direction. LPIRG’s Kristina and I have been working together on the Clubs Workshop series. Our final workshop will be next Wednesday in AH117 and will focus on PR Basics. During today’s Clubs workshop Kristina said:
“Clubs need to focus on quality events, rather than quantity. The best way to start creating quality is by partnering up with other Clubs or Organizations.”
Her statement hit it right on the money. Instead of having five different clothing drives come December those five groups should be encouraged to partner up and work together to be more successful. The first step that I will take to encourage clubs is to remind them that when they are given the opportunity to give their club reports at Clubs Council I want to see them bring up ideas for projects and ask if other clubs want to collaborate. What are other ways we can encourage collaboration on campus?
Collaboration on clothing drives means more clothes for those who need them!
Shuna Talbot – VP Internal Affairs
Club rush week will be starting this Monday in the Atrium! The dates are as follows:
Monday: 9am to 4pm
Tuesday: 9am to 4pm
Wednesday: 9am to 4pm
Thursday: 9am to 1pm
If you are new on campus or a returning student and want to get more involved with your University community this is a great opportunity! The amount of student involvement in campus life is what sets our University apart from other university campus’. We have something for everybody there are over 80 clubs on campus, everything from academic related clubs to humanitarian clubs. If you are looking for a specific club, but it isn’t available on the University of Lethbridge campus YOU can start it! It is very easy to start clubs and if you would like more information on how to start a club please contact the VP Internal (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also find Sororities, Fraternities, The Lethbridge Public Interest Research Group (LPIRG), The Women’s Centre, and so much more at Club Rush Week! It’s not just for clubs any more!
Either way I encourage everyone to swing by the Atrium (the open space that connects Uhall and the Fine Arts building) and learn more about the clubs, services and other organizations!
Shuna Talbot- ULSU VP Internal Affairs