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the Gauntlet

Open studies student wants representation

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The University of Calgary has an Open Studies option but no representation, something that has to change, according to one of their own.

Matt McMillan, an Open Studies student focused on joining the Political Science department, is lobbying to get a position for a representative installed so students can rest assured that they will be looked after.

The idea came to the former U of C music student when he unsuccessfully ran for Operations and Finance Commissioner in last October's Students' Union by-election.

"All students should be reflected equally," he said. "Why should we push for silence on this issue as opposed to solving it?"

While the idea of equal representation is well and good on campus, there are some snags to this yet-to-be-created position.

"In order to be a rep for a faculty, one must be a student for a year, in effect, not an Open Studies student," said Joey Brocke, SU vice-president operations and finance, noting that open studies students can only take 10 courses while remaining such. So, an Open Studies student could only be a faculty representative if they dropped down to part-time status at some point.

"There's a further question, which is how many people would still be in Open Studies and therefore eligible," said Brocke.

"We would have to make a pretty big exception," he said, adding it is difficult to simply create a position.

"To gain eligibility for becoming a faculty rep one would simultaneously lose Open Studies student status and have to join a faculty or leave the institution," said Brocke.

The VP op-fi thinks that some sort of representation for Open Studies' students is a welcome idea, but said that it would not come about in the traditional way current faculty reps act at the university and suggested McMillan set up a club.

Another inherent problem is that often times Open Studies students are not physically present on campus, they feel disconnected to the institution, something McMillan wants to change.

"It needs to be rectified," said McMillan.

The analogy McMillan used to describe the process of having a new rep is that of a car race.

"Right now we have all the pieces lined up, before no one was at the track."

A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Open Studies and Music as faculties at the University of Calgary. The Gauntlet regrets these errors.

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Comments

This article is absolutely rife with errors. Firstly, neither open studies nor music are faculties. Open studies is not actually a program at the university, and this is very important to note. Music has been represented all year by the faculty of Fine Arts Representative- a position that has not been vacant in at least four years. Open Studies students are represented by the Faculty Representatives in the faculties they are taking courses in, and there is absolutely no possibility of creating a faculty representative postilion for them as they are not housed in a faculty, and cannot be housed in a faculty. The representative structure of faculty representatives are determined by the highest academic governing body at the University- General Faculties Council, where a student from every undergraduate faculty is represented by a faculty representative. The create an Open Studies representative would be to create a structure that is not represented at an institutional or provincial level. As it is, the interests of Open Studies students are represented by the five at-large executive members on the Students\' Union, and in specific by the office of the Vice President Academic. Open Studies students also frequently access student rights advising. I suggest that the Gauntlet takes more care in fact-checking their articles before publishing misleading ones such as this.

My two cents to share: Joey Brocke is running for the position of President, while Matt McMillain is running for the position of VP Operations and Finance. And Matt is helping Joey with his presidential campaign.

It\'s interesting no ones thought to interview the VP Academic for an academic story?