October 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.

The month of October was a busy one for the GSA. At the institutional level, the GSA advocacy team met with the University administration to discuss tuition and fees going forward. The GSA continues to strive to maintain affordable and high-quality programs for graduate students. With provincial funding cuts, a massive provincial deficit, and the end of the tuition freeze students are facing quickly increasing costs. Beyond the ever increasing costs for students, employment opportunities are also suffering due to low energy prices initially, and the global pandemic more recently.

The University of Calgary and GSA will host a town hall meeting for graduate students on tuition for next year. This town hall will be on November 17 from 6 – 7 pm. Stay tuned for more details.

The University announced the continuation of the hybrid model for courses with a small increase to in-person classes. This is prudent given the case counts in Calgary related to COVID 19. However, it raises questions about how students can continue to get the university experience and what they paid for when cutting a cheque for tuition.

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

At the Federal Level

  • Allowing for international students to travel to the UCalgary to commence or resume their studies and research. The pandemic kept many international students from being able to travel to Canada.

At the Provincial Level

  • The GSA continues to monitor the provincial government for developments on the Alberta 2030 system review. We expect more clarity on next steps in December.
  • As mentioned in the federal section, we advocated for international students to be able to come or return to Canada for their studies. They can now return as of October 20, 2020.
  • The GSA presented graduate student advocacy priorities to all student leaders in Alberta and to the Ministry of Advanced Education.

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

  • The GSA is continuing its discussions with the University administration on the topic of tuition and fees for next year. There will be more to come on this issue.
  • A Town Hall was held on the Growth through Focus strategy that summarized the process thus far.
  • The GSA participated in meetings related to the Campus Sexual and Gender-Based Violence policy.