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Letter to the Editor: UofC Board of Governors stifles free expression, refuses to reject Alberta government’s agenda  

We, as University of Calgary students, have written an open letter to the Board of Governors asking them to vote no to the proposed tuition hikes. The letter was released on Monday, Dec. 4 and has gathered over 325 signatures from undergraduate and graduate students, academic associations, instructors, and student clubs. A copy of the letter with all the signatories is included below. 

Since 2019, the Alberta government has made clear that their goal was to increase students’ tuition. They have followed through on their promise, lifting the tuition freeze and gutting U of C by over $100 million. Before doing so, the province appointed their friends to comprise the vast majority of seats on the Board of Governors. 

It’s no surprise then that every single tuition increase proposal has been passed on account of these government-appointed board members. 

In conjunction, a small number of students held a protest against the proposed tuition hike, however, students were not permitted to enter the building, staying outside for over two hours while asking the Board of Governors to vote no. 

When asked if we were able to stand inside in silent protest against their decision, we were told we were not permitted in the building. When asked if we were permitted to enter the building to go to the washroom or get a snack from the vending machine, we were told we were not permitted to enter the building. When asked to pass through the building to enter a different area, we were not permitted into the building. While walking through the halls, we were told we were not allowed to carry signs. 

These rules of protest were conveyed to us the day we arrived, not given any prior notice of not being permitted in the building. This was a shock to all students involved, who were then relegated to outside as the snow came down. 

To reiterate — the Board of Governors would rather have a collective of students standing outside of the Administration building in below-zero temperatures than allow them to even pass by their office. They would rather stay warm in their ivory tower than stand and face the students they are actively harming. 

The Board voted yes to the proposed hike, meaning tuition will increase by 2 per cent for domestic students and 6 per cent for international students in the upcoming academic year. We are disappointed to see this result and we hope in the future that the Board of Governors take the wishes of students into consideration when making future decisions, or at the very least allow them the freedom to contest this decision. 

The Board of Governors can not have it both ways. They can not enable the Alberta government’s defunding of our university and then disrupt students’ right to peaceful assembly and protest. They can not allow the province to be free of the board’s criticism while stifling their students’ ability to express their own. 

If the Board of Governors is so dedicated to escaping criticism, they must show they support their students by calling on the Alberta government to reverse the $100 million in cuts to U of C’s operating funding. 

— Sheroog Kubur, in collaboration with the Coalition of Alberta Post-Secondary Students (CAPS)

Letters to the Editor published in the Gauntlet do not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet editorial board. The Gauntlet retains the right to edit submissions for brevity and clarity.

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