By Hayley Mick
They’ve tried almost everything to have their views on rising tuition costs heard, from storming the president’s office, to making demands through the Gauntlet. And after all the effort, it appears the Revolutionary Anarchist Kollective will have their day. University of Calgary President Dr. Terry White has granted students, faculty and community members a chance to voice their concerns at a town hall meeting scheduled for 12-1 p.m. on Fri., Jan. 21, in the MacEwan Hall Ballroom.
"We think the forum is a positive thing," said RAK member Wesley Morgan. "He [White] will be directly dealing with students’ concerns, which we don’t feel he does a lot of."
The one-hour meeting is designed so university administration can update students on various issues regarding university policy, and also provide an opportunity for students to voice their concerns.
"We’ll provide information on what’s happening with tuition, what’s happening with curriculum redesign, and a couple of other matters by way of introduction, and then we can answer questions on anything that students want to talk about," said White.
Associate Vice-president Student Affairs Dr. Peggy Patterson was responsible for organizing the meeting’s itinerary.
"Our goal is to split the meeting in half," said Patterson, "with time allotted for both information-giving and a question and answer period."
The town hall meeting is a unique opportunity for general members of the student body to discuss a range of issues; for the RAK members, rising tuition is on top of their list.
"We are very aware that all of the [university] administration aren’t part of an evil plot to raise tuition," said Morgan. "But at the same time, the administration is not one [that] we feel has supported the students on the issue of tuition thus far."
RAK stormed White’s office on Feb. 11, 1999, demanding that their concerns about rising tuition costs be heard. White promised to meet with students to hear their opinions. When the meeting failed to materialize, RAK wrote a letter to White in the Nov. 25 issue of the Gauntlet, stating they had organized a student forum regarding tuition, and requested that White either attend or organize a new venue that might better suit his schedule. White responded one week later by informing RAK of the Friday’s town hall meeting.
Approximately 40 RAK members are expected to attend the meeting, although the group’s current concern is that there has been insufficient publicity and that students are unaware the town hall is taking place.
"Certainly there’s no intention it would be a secret," said White. "If you’re going to have a town hall then you’re going to have a town hall and you want people to be there."
"We’ve done town hall meetings before," he added. "The students that were at the last one said that they thought town hall meetings were a good idea, but we should have one that is mainly intended for students. So we thought we would try that."