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SLC reflects on previous academic year & votes in new BoG representative

By Eula Mengullo, May 23 2023— 

On May 17, the 80th Students’ Legislative Council (SLC) held its second meeting. The discussion primarily focused on members reflecting on the previous academic year and voting on internal business amendments. 

In consultation with the University of Calgary Provost and Vice-President Academic, Dr. Teri Balser, and university registrar, Dr. Amy Dambrowitz,  members reflected on the student feedback they have received throughout the academic year. Having spent the past two years shifting from online to in-person learning, they echoed the popular sentiment for continued diversity in course delivery options. 

“We had several conversations about the possibility of offering mixed format course delivery going forward,” said Students’ Union (SU) President Nicole Schmidt. “That is something that is coming from a lot of students across campus, indiscriminate of program or faculty.” 

Although the logistics has not been specified, Schmidt highlighted that it is something that the university plans on working towards. 

Similarly, SU VP Academic Shaziah Jinnah, emphasized that it essentially comes down to ensuring that professors and classrooms are equipped with the proper technology. 

“I think what is critical in this conversation — and what has come up several times — is obviously the need for the technology in classrooms. We don’t want to abandon the accessibility of online learning due to stigma of perceived better quality of in-person education,” said Jinnah. “I think the challenges that students have been facing in classrooms are being highlighted by the last couple of years. We have been presented with an opportunity to see how we can be resilient to students, but also how much our education can be resilient for us and how it can be adapted when we face challenges.”

Jinnah added that the accomodation of online learning could create additional space for courses that need to be taught in-person, allowing for a productive teaching environment for both modalities. She also addressed how this shift has impacted every industry, and that it would be a disservice to students to not make these necessary adjustments. 

In discussing the suspension of statutory declarations related to academic extensions and exam deferrals, Schmidt remarked that this has been met with positive feedback. This development took off the added pressure students have felt to provide official documentations when requesting for extensions, especially on a last-minute timeframe. Schmidt commented on the combined efforts between the university administration and the SU in streamlining the Student Accessibility Services website to ensure that students are aware of the accomodations available to them that are beyond medical. 

Another concern that was raised was the financial strain that the pandemic placed on students to access healthy, nutritious food options. Balser noted consultations with Schmidt to remove barriers to learning by combatting hunger. Dambrowitz further elaborated that there is currently work being done to help alleviate food insecurity amongst students and additional information on this will be available come late August. 

Following executive reports, the SLC voted on last term’s VP Academic Renzo Pereyra’s appointment as the upcoming Board of Governors Representative. 

“The 79th nominations committee recommended Pereyra for board representative based on his strong interview and the wealth of relevant experience,” said VP Student Life Adrian Alcantara. “Candidate Pereyra demonstrated a solid framework and action plan for the position and a commitment to student representation.”

Pereyra’s appointment received unanimous consent with no abstentions and shall be effective immediately.  

The SLC also discussed the proposed amendments to the SLC Code of Conduct as recommended by the Policy Development and Review Committee. The proposed amendments were met with some concerns from SLC members, receiving a majority of abstentions and defeating the resolution. 

The last item on the agenda called for amendments to the Refugee Student Board Terms of Reference, a resolution that received unanimous support. 

Agendas, minutes, and upcoming SLC meetings can be found on their website

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