November 2020 Advocacy Updates

As your graduate student representatives, the GSA Board of Directors and the Research and Advocacy Analyst work on many advocacy priorities to the best interest of UCalgary graduate students. If you have any questions or concerns, please email askgsa@ucalgary.ca.

Throughout the months of November and December, the GSA’s advocacy team met several times with university administration to ask questions and propose changes to the tuition proposal put forward by the university. In addition, November was advocacy month through CASA federally and abGPAC provincially. This meant that our advocacy team was very busy with meetings with elected officials and working to raise awareness on issues that matter to graduate students. 

The GSA was very pleased to have worked towards the launch of a new needs-based bursary for graduate students. The University has launched this new bursary and students will be able to apply through the University itself. 

Throughout the month of November, the GSA advocated on the following subjects: 

At the Federal Level

  • Through the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), the GSA met with several federal elected officials to advocate on issues such as immigration and quarantine issues for international students, student mental health, and jobs programs for students and new graduates. 

At the Provincial Level

  • The GSA advocated through the Alberta Graduate Provincial Advocacy Council (abGPAC) on key issues around student mental health funding, supports for caregiving students, professional development, tuition, and the Alberta 2030 review. This work included meetings with the Minister of Advanced Education, Minister of Labour and Immigration, several government MLAs, and members of the Official Opposition. 
  • The GSA has been in regular contact with staff in the office of the Minister of Advanced Education on topics related to the Alberta 2030 system review. GSA President Tanille Shandro wrote to the Minister to express the GSA’s lack of support for any move to deregulate domestic tuition.  
  • The GSA submitted its feedback to the provincial government ahead of the 2021 provincial budget. Please take a look at our submission here

At the Municipal Level

  • The GSA continued its work with the Calgary Student Alliance on the UPass issue and is looking at cost-effective alternatives.

At the University Level

  • Town halls were held by the University where graduate students could ask questions directly of Provost Dr. Dru Marshall and her team on the university’s tuition proposal. Thanks to all students who attended and asked great questions. 
  • The GSA board also held a town hall on any and all topics students were interested in. Thanks to all graduate students for great questions on tuition, provincial government cuts, and other advocacy topics. 
  • Tuition was approved by the UCalgary Board of Governors on December 11. For more info on the University’s position please have a look at Provost Dr. Dru Marshall’s thoughts on the issue: https://www.ucalgary.ca/news/tuition-increase-will-still-remain-below-national-average-our-u15-peers