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University of Calgary can’t escape controversy at budget town hall

By Fabian Mayer, November 18 2015 —

Controversies surrounding the University of Calgary loomed large at the university’s budget town hall on Wednesday. Upper-level university administrators presented budget plans, mentioning a 1–1.5 per cent budget cut.

President Elizabeth Cannon and provost Dru Marshall took questions from the campus community following the presentation. Most questions focused on the MacHall ownership dispute between administration and the Students’ Union, as well as the pending investigation into the university’s suspect relationship with Enbridge.

First-year law and society student Frank Finley asked Cannon if she would consider resigning as a result of the controversies.

“The answer is no,” replied Cannon.

Finley spoke to reporters about his question following the event.

“Apparently we can be bought and that doesn’t make me happy. That makes me embarrassed as a student,” Finley said.

The largest applause of the afternoon came shortly after the question was asked, though Finley was unsure whether it was for the question or president Cannon’s response.

“That’s a good question. I asked my friends that and they didn’t know it either,” Finley said.

“It doesn’t really matter what applause was in the room. What matters to me was that the question got across.”

Finley said he plans to start a petition asking Cannon and other senior administrators to resign.

U of C Faculty Association president Sandra Hoenle thinks it might be a bit early to call for Cannon’s resignation, though she didn’t rule out the possibility.

“Depending on the outcome of the review, yes,” Hoenle said.

Other questions centred on whether student services would be affected if the university takes control of MacHall when the university’s current lease agreement with the SU terminates on Dec. 9.

Marshall reiterated that student services would not be affected if university administration took over the revenue from MacHall throughout the event.

“I don’t know how many times we can say that. The only thing I can say is that if this occurs we’ll have to demonstrate our words with actions,” Marshall said following the town hall.

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