By Melanie Woods —
The first few weeks of university can be overwhelming. From finding your classes to figuring out exactly how much coffee a single human can ingest, there’s a lot going on. As you start talking to people around campus, you may have some questions. We compiled a brief overview of the University of Calgary’s hot-button issues so you can sound smart with your friends and have a witty retort when someone talks about the $150,000 staircase.
Energize Eyes High
The U of C’s motto is “Mo Shùile Togam Suas”, which translates from Gaelic to “I will lift up mine eyes.” This phrase served as inspiration for the U of C’s 2010 Eyes High corporate branding strategy. The goal of Eyes High was to have the U of C rank as one of Canada’s top five research universities by our 50th anniversary in 2016. While Eyes High fell short — we currently rank sixth — administration hasn’t taken their foot off the gas. The latest campaign, Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High, looks to raise over $1.3 billion in donations for the university.
The MacHall Debate
The U of C and its Students’ Union have debated a new lease agreement on our campus student centre for years with little progress. Last fall however, the SU shook things up by serving the university with a very public and very aggressive lawsuit for majority ownership of the building. While going to a university where students are suing administration might sound super exciting, the actual process is incredibly bland. The two parties spent most of last year locked in unproductive closed-door mediation, before returning to court when a deal couldn’t be reached. The actual lawsuit hasn’t even begun yet — the court recently spent all spring and summer debating an injunction to allow the SU to retain operation of the building for the duration of the lawsuit. After the injunction, it’s on to the actual lawsuit. Don’t expect that to end any time soon though — at this rate, you and I will both be long gone from this university by the time things are sorted out. To catch up on all of the twists and turns and many, many delays of the dispute, check out our coverage online at www. thegauntlet.ca.
Enbridge and other scandals
U of C administration has faced a number of scandals in recent years. A few years ago, senior administration came under fire for $8-million administrative office renovations, including a much talked about $150,000 glass staircase. Last year, a CBC report unveiled questionable relations between the U of C and corporate oil. In particularly, president Elizabeth Cannon’s role on the board of Enbridge came under harsh scrutiny when critics suggested it compromised academic integrity. Alongside the MacHall lawsuit, the Enbridge scandal prompted a lot of questioning of administration from students and faculty. This came to a climax at a November town hall where students publicly called for Cannon’s resignation as U of C president. Cannon didn’t resign and an independent review board cleared her of wrongdoing. But the scandals haven’t stopped, as another CBC report in May brought to light $90,000 spent by U of C admin processing a freedom of information request. In an institution as large as the U of C, there are bound to be more scandals yet to come.