January 2021 Advocacy Updates

Resuming from the break, the GSA Advocacy team spearheaded into its advocacy objectives for the month of January. The team focused heavily at the institutional level advocacy in January.

The Institutional level 

After months of discussion and consultation, we were able to wrap up the tuition discussion with Tanille’s presentation at the Board of Governor’s meeting on December 11, and the subsequent vote. We were pleased to see that many of the items we advocated for were taken into consideration including decreasing the rent increase for Varsity Courts 5% to 3%. Moving forward, we will continue to advocate for a value-added and affordable graduate experience, with emphasis on increasing minimum funding as well as ensuring infrastructure maintenance for Varsity Courts residents. 

The GSA was successful is discontinuing online exam proctoring due to rising concerns. Online exam proctoring is a category of tools that attempt to replace in-person invigilators with software-based methods to deter academic misconduct while students are taking online exams. 

The newly-formed Senate Student Engagement Committee has established its priorities for this year, as well as a strategic direction for future years. The goal of the committee is to create more connections between the Senate and the student body. The GSA will take this opportunity and showcase our graduate students to the Senate and the UCalgary community at large. 

At the Provincial Level 

To address a previous gap of graduate students missing from campus sexual violence policy consultation by the government, abGPAC consulted with the Department of Advanced Education by providing the graduate student perspective to the issue. We emphasized the unique position and power dynamic a graduate student may face, and encouraged the Department to do a thorough campus sexual violence policy review through this lens.

At the Municipal level 

This month, the UCalgary GSA met with Mayor Nenshi during their monthly Calgary Student Alliance meeting. We brought up the issue of UPASS, Green Line, Vaccinations for students and Get out The Vote campaign with regards to municipal election campaign.  

At the Federal Level 

As a member of the National Advocacy Committee of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), we have launched the annual national advocacy campaign, titled #CloseTheGaps. This is a digital campaign that will allow graduate students to share what are the challenges, or “gaps”, they face in their education. Learn more about this campaign here.

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