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University of Calgary administration unable to define student experience

By Melanie Woods, November 24 2015 —

Despite coming under fire for recent corporate sponsorship scandals, a lawsuit with the Students’ Union over MacHall and other cases of administrative mismanagement, University of Calgary administration reiterated at last week’s budget town hall that they will always prioritize the student experience.

However, when pressed to define student experience, not a single upper-level administrator was able to provide an answer.

At an event attended by faculty, donors and angry students, administration defined the student experience as “the experience that students have.”

“What we at the U of C are here for, essentially, is the student experience,” provost Dru Marshall said in a media scrum following the event. “And by that we mean how students experience the experience that students experience.”

Marshall then returned to flipping through her copy of Six Simple Steps to Win a Legal Dispute.

University president Elizabeth Cannon agreed with Marshall. She said that the student experience is administration’s first priority.

“The experience that students experience is of the utmost importance,” Cannon said. “We want students to be able to continue experiencing that student experience without losing sight of the student experience. Because the student experience is key to defining the student experience.”

One student at the town hall took to the open mic to ask for Cannon’s resignation.

“Well, I’m not sure what you’re expecting, but the answer is ‘no,” Cannon said. “That would be the absolute worst thing for the student experience. Literally nothing else would be so crushing to students and their experience.”

Cannon also said that, should the university swoop in with a highly-trained battalion of armed guards and seize control of MacHall on Dec. 9, maintaining the student experience will be administration’s top priority.

“Students will experience how we address the student experience if we take over MacHall,” Cannon said. “But we will prioritize the student experience. Students can be sure that the experience they experience will be the student experience, and by that we mean the experience experienced by students.”

Marshall added that students should actually look forward to a forceful university annexation of the popular student centre.

“Does the Students’ Union know what’s best for the student experience? Or do upper-level management administrators who haven’t set foot in a classroom for 25 years? I think the answer is clear by how many times they talk about the student experience compared to us,” Marshall said. “But because the matter is before the courts, I can’t say much more except that the priority is the student experience. We will preserve the student experience for students.”

Cannon said courting corporate investors promotes the student experience.

“Our partnership with Enbridge was all about improving corporate synergy and the student experience,” Cannon said. “The fine folks at Enbridge know that students experience the student experience, and they wanted to help shape that experience to be one that students experience.”

She added that 2013’s controversial $8-million administration building upgrades were also about the student experience.

“Any student walking through the administration building can look through the small window, past the well-lit glass executive office and experience a tiny glimpse of that beautiful staircase,” Cannon said. “Now that’s what I call a student experience. Students experiencing an experience experienced by students — what could be better?”

This article is part of our humour section.

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