By James Falls, February 13 2019 —
On Feb. 12, in the final session before both reading break and the 2019 Students’ Union general election, Student Legislative Council saw a presentation of the results of September’s MacHall survey.
The survey, administered from Sept. 6–27, had 4,109 students respond, up from 1,358 responses in the previous year. Sixty-six per cent of respondents said it’s time to update and expand MacHall, while 27 per cent were unsure. The remainder responded that it isn’t time for an expansion to the student centre. SU president Sagar Grewal and vice-president operations and finance Kevin Dang said that after a number of consultations, University of Calgary administrators aren’t interested in pursuing expansion at this time.
Grewal said the decision came down to a number of factors, including current finances, challenges in acquiring government funding and the space’s potential for generating revenue. Grewal went on to say that the SU would reconsider the topic later, with special consideration to the new building manager role implemented earlier this year, the $2-million cost of MacHall Ballroom redevelopment approved by previous year’s council and the possibility of redevelopment opportunities.
Faculty of Arts representative Quinn Stevenson asked why council was being informed of the results now when the consultations had occurred in November. Grewal said that the findings were presented to the university in a rough draft and that the SU wanted to avoid making the potential redevelopment an election issue. He also mentioned concerns the university had around the accuracy of the survey’s data because it was conducted during Orientation Week, which may have resulted in new students filling out the survey disproportionately to senior-year students.
Faculty of Arts representative Marley Gillies asked about a timeline for the U of C to provide funding, as survey results favoured redevelopment. Dang said the school provided no timeline.
“If any expansion does happen, it needs to be student-funded,” Grewal added. “A project of this scale would definitely require a referendum and the SU would likely take a loan as well as put up money as an organization.”
A General Faculties Council report from vice-president academic Jessica Revington highlighted revisions to the Code of Conduct, reversing changes made in November. Students are no longer required to report additional employment as a conflict of interest if they’re employed by the university, particularly “if employed in a retail or hospitality industry.” Revington expressed concern about students within the Faculty of Nursing and whether they will have to report their employment, as they “frequently work in their industry as healthcare aides.”
Student-at-large U of C senate representatives Jonah Secreti and Alisha Gordon delivered a report on the Feb. 7 senate meeting, where U of C president Ed McCauley was welcomed as the senate’s newest member. Secreti also mentioned continuing discussion of engagement opportunities for the senate within the university’s Indigenous Strategy, ii;aa;oh’to’p. The next senate meeting is on Apr. 4, with Secreti and Gordon reporting to SLC on Apr. 9.
Grewal’s executive report highlighted meetings regarding review of the SLC complaint procedure and the finalizing of Quality Money Committee applications. Revington’s report mentioned ongoing nominations for Teaching Excellence Awards and various ‘get-out-the-vote’ events.
Dang’s executive report showed ongoing meetings surrounding the SU’s Strategic Plan, as well as working with the Policy Development and Review Committee on the Open Educational Resources Advocacy Policy. Vice-president external Anayat Sidhu’s report mentioned continuing work around ‘get-out-the-vote’ events and the SU’s Strategic Plan, while vice-president student life Nabila Farid highlighted her work with the Diversity Days and Sexual and Gender Wellness Week events.
SLC adjourned this week without an in-camera session.
The next meeting of SLC will be held on Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the MacHall Executive Council Chambers. Access elected official reports, trimester reports, minutes and all other SLC documents here.