By Fabian Mayer, March 29 2016 —
For the second time in one week, the University of Calgary and its Students’ Union agreed to extend their mediation over MacHall’s ownership. The mediation period, which expired March 24, was extended until April 15 at 5:00 p.m. This is the third time the mediation has been lengthened.
Former SU president Jarett Henry is unsure what the extension means.
“It [might] mean that the two sides are very close to an agreement,” Henry said. “The other side is that it’s possible that it’s getting extended because it’s being delayed on purpose. I certainly hope that’s not the case.”
The SU made their dispute with the university over the building’s ownership public after years of negotiations on a new operating agreement stalled last September. The two sides engaged in a bitter back-and-forth over the content of the agreement, which was originally set to expire on Dec. 9, 2015. University administration stated that they planned to assume control of the building on this date.
Both parties initially agreed to a mediation period on Dec. 4, 2015 — just hours before a court was set to rule on an injunction that would have allowed the SU to maintain temporary control of the building.
Henry said one of his concerns is how much time and money is going into reaching an agreement, which he believes should be relatively straightforward.
“I know the SU has been transparent about the fact that it has cost over $170,000 in legal fees so far. I’m really worried about how much the university is spending on this issue as well,” Henry said.
The original mediation period began on Jan. 8, 2016. It was extended for the first time on Feb. 26 and for a second time on March 21.
“All legal proceedings have been put on hold during the mediation period, and the SU continues to operate and manage MacHall under the terms of the current License of Occupation, Operating and Management Agreement,” reads a statement on the SU’s
Both the university and the SU have refused to speak publicly about both the mediation and the subject matter of the mediation since December of last year.