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The final SLC meeting of the semester highlighted wins in executive trimester reports

By Eula Mengullo, April 28 2023

The final Students’ Legislative Council (SLC) meeting of the year took place this week and discussed executive trimester reports. 

Trimester reports are an accountability mechanism to ensure that Students’ Union (SU) executives are accomplishing the goals they have set out at the start of the year. 

SU President Nicole Schmidt presented her report followed by VP External Mateusz Salmassi, VP Operations and Finance Aly Samji, and concluded with VP Academic Shaziah Jinnah Morsette. 

Some of the accomplishments highlighted by Schmidt include increased student funding, government advocacy and tuition consultation. 

Most recently, Schmidt has secured $700,000 of quality money funding to create a mental health bursary for undergraduate students that would enable them to access off-campus support. In terms of increased affordability support from the provincial government, she noted the advocacy responses that resulted in a two per cent tuition cap that will be implemented in the 2024 academic year as proposed by the UCP and the NDP’s plan to freeze tuition even prior to 2024. 

“Both of those announcements came as a result of SU advocacy and lobbying,” said Schmidt. 

“I definitely think our SU can take credit for that. We’ve really done a lot more direct outreach and direct advocacy to MLAs than the other big post-secondary institutions in Alberta and I do think that that’s the result of our work over the last two years,” she continued. 

For the VP External portfolio, Salmassi highlighted his advocacy to the provincial government regarding tuition increases as well as his work in mobilizing the student body including the January protest against tuition hikes. 

“It was one of the larger student protests against tuition in quite a while, and a lot of that was honestly thanks to all of you,” said Salmassi. “While we were not successful in stopping the tuition increase or delaying the tuition increase at the board level, there were obviously those provincial effects and very positive developments.

“I would say a lot of my work on these fronts has included more student-facing outreach and mobilization, including experimenting with ways that we can mobilize the student body, and a lot of lessons learned for the following years,” he continued. 

As for the VP Operations and Finance, a significant portion of the portfolio entailed creating a new SU bylaw and integrating information from the constitution into the bylaw alongside the policy analyst.

“Other than that, it’s been a lot of work with the institution in terms of contract,” said Samji. “There’s a lot of contractual things that have been going on with the university, particularly the beverage management.”

Samji also discussed the Wi-Fi situation on campus as well as tackling food insecurity.

“The university is receptive to looking at what they can do to improve Wi-Fi, particularly for resident students, given that they seem to be some of the worst affected groups on campus, so the nice thing is that they are willing to come to the table on that,” said Samji.

On the topic of food insecurity, he mentioned that there is currently some preliminary work on creating a partnership with the university to offer additional low-cost nutritious options by diversifying the different tenant areas within the Stör. 

With regards to developments within the VP Academic portfolio, Morsette discussed university policy against online proctoring, term break deadlines and strengthening relationships with student services across campus. 

“I was able to get the university to put a policy in place to affirm and have it officially in place that they don’t support online proctoring and that they’re against it, and that professors can’t do that,” said Morsette.

While there is currently no policy over not having deadlines during the term break, Morsette mentioned that she will spend the early days of her term as president affirming this. 

“I will continue finalizing that and working on that for the fall semester in my transfer as a president,” said Morsette. 

Lastly, Morsette highlighted her work on strengthening relationships with various services across campus including Neurodiversity Supports Advising, Career Services, Office of Experiential Learning and International Student Services amongst others. 

For agendas, minutes and upcoming meetings, visit the SU website

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