By Natalie Sit
Farewell to the Den
One of the University of Calgary’s institutions closed Aug. 26, 2000 when the Students’ Union took over the Den from university administration.
"It’s a piece of history, it’s a piece of my school career lost," said social anthropology graduate and former Den employee Jason Corall. "You can go to the richest business downtown and [someone there will] have had a beer at the Den in 1979."
A new bar will be built in the Den’s location which is expected to be completed by next spring.
"We’re going to try to keep as much from the Den that we can," said SU President Toby White. "We purchased a lot of the equipment, like the bar."
According to U of C Director of Ancillary Services Peter Fraser, the decision to close the Den was a hard one but the renovation costs would have been too high.
"Will a lot of people [from] the Den come back?" asked Fraser. "I doubt it. A lot of people won’t set foot in the new Molson Centre. Or they cancelled their season tickets."
New name for General Studies
The faculty formerly known as General Studies changed its name to the Faculty of Communication and Culture due to the University of Calgary’s move to a direct-entry model of admission for first-year students.
The faculty avoided confusing first-year students by sending out e-mails and approaching them during U of C 101.
"I am expecting confusion, but I want to eradicate it," said Communication and Culture Dean Kathleen Scherf. "This is the type of thing that [should] not take years to clean up."
Scherf believes the new name will clearly define what the faculty is about and will increase research. Another upside will be more students attracted to the faculty.
No moolah for the U of C
Of a $200 million provincial infrastructure grant to post-secondary institutions,
the University of Calgary received nothing. Mount Royal College received $94 million and the University of Alberta $21 million. U of C Executive Director of External Relations Stu Reid believes the distribution of money was fair to the U of C.
"To put it in context, we got money for the Informations Communications Technology expansion a year and a half ago," said Reid. "So in the context of things over time, I am assuming it is all going to balance out."
However, Students’ Union President Toby White believes the infrastructure grant is needed at the university.
"We are currently at 120 per cent of our physical capacity," said White. "There is a very high need for academic space and for the same reasons MRC received money."
Yum! An SU surplus
The forecasted 1999/2000 Students’ Union budget surplus of $20,000 turned into an unexpected $250,000. Some reasons for the large surplus included extra revenue from concerts, staff turnover and interest on unspent expansion money. The extra money is sitting in a bank account, waiting for a destination.
"People must remember that we are embarking on a large expansion project and we are working with a number of unknowns as a result," said SU Vice-president Matt Lauzon. "Each year we are expected to pay the bank roughly $900,000 in loan payments and surpluses are part of that."
Other SU members believe the money should go elsewhere.
"Personally, I don’t think it’s right that it should sit there waiting to be used for whatever it does," said SU External Commissioner Oliver Bladek. "I think it should go to
students but that’s for the SLC to decide."
U of C and Children’s Hospital may play together
The University of Calgary is on the short-list to house the new $200 million Alberta Children’s Hospital. Other sites include the U of C’s West campus, Foothills Hospital, the former Motor Vehicles site on Bowness Road, Fire Park and Lincoln Park.
The U of C stands to benefit from the close association between the hospital and the Faculty of Medicine.
"We’ll be able to capitalize on research facilities already in place [and] put in some new facilities that will greatly complement these," said U of C Executive Director of External Relations Stu Reid. "For [researchers], a great convenience is being able to incorporate their clinical work close to their lab and research."
Some concerns were raised by the local communities surrounding the potential hospital sites.
"We’ve made a commitment to consult with all of them over the next few months and give them detailed responses to their questions as they come up," said Calgary Regional Health Authority Vice-president of Communications Roman Cooney.
Accounting the SU
The Oct. 3 Students’ Legislative Council meeting brought the matter of accountability to the forefront. Some commissioners felt uncomfortable approaching Students’ Union executive members, either privately or publicly, about performance of other exec members. SU President Toby White and SU Vice-president External Duncan Wojtaszek brought forward a feedback mechanism worked on over the summer.
"There is a communication problem [between commissioners and executives] and the lack of communication could lead to a lack of accountability," said Academic Commissioner Nic Porco. "[Executives] need feedback to be accountable and even to know how to be accountable."
Wojtaszek said there are accountability procedures built into the SU such as question period and executive reports at SLC and trimester reports. But some commissioners feel uncomfortable using those avenues because the executive decides the monthly honoraria received by the commissioners.
The Academic Commission presented a different version of the feedback system involving a committee of five elected officials.
The Campus Cove will not be the only store in MacHall with a slurpee machine. The Students’ Union approved $29,000 for the purchase of two slurpee machines at the SU’s convenience store.
The university-wide exclusivity contract with Pepsi means the SU slurpee machines will only offer Pepsi flavours.
"I am confident that this increase in service will be viewed favourably by students," said SU Vice-president Operations and Finance Matt Lauzon.
According to Lauzon, the SU expects the slurpee machines to be paid off within one year of purchase depending on the price of individual slurpees.
Gorby rolls into U of C
Former leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev visited the University of Calgary Oct. 12 as part of the James S. Palmer lecture series. Gorbachev spoke of balancing private enterprise with social well-being.
"We cannot protect our citizens’ health through our own laws," said Gorbachev. "We need to govern globalization; profits are not the only important factor."
Gorbachev also spoke of melding the concerns of non-governmental organizations into the world’s decision making. He felt protests like those last year in Seattle should be tolerated as they expressed concerns by a majority of people.
"The media called Seattle [protesters] subversives–why?" asked Gorbachev. "The protesters represented the people. We need civil society institutions, NGOs, to speak to governments."
$1 million to redevelopment
One million dollars were approved by the Oct. 17 Students’ Legislative Council for redevelopment. This will cover items such as design and construction of club office space, the SU convenience store and a new retail and meeting space in the "Airport Lounge." Over $200,000 was earmarked to Students’ Union office renovations.
"We hear a lot of complaints from students that our offices aren’t necessarily student friendly," said SU President Toby White. "When you walk in, you don’t feel you have access to the whole office."
According to White, the SU will try to keep students informed on the progress but he believes students just want the project to
"Students have been putting money into the expansion and redevelopment fund," he said. "We want to make sure students can see the benefits of that as soon as possible."
It’s true, it’s true–expansion is starting
On Oct. 26, MacEwan Hall expansion began with a ground-breaking ceremony. The new $8.8 million building will extend from the east side of MacEwan Hall. It will contain a new ballroom, an underground link to Science B and a plus-15 walkway to MacKimmie Library.
"It’s been a long, long road that we’ve had to take to reach this point, but we’re all very excited to be here," said University of Calgary Students’ Union President Toby White.
The groundbreaking ceremony also included a Rock moving ceremony. The well-known campus icon moved to a triangular piece of turf between the construc-
tion site and Swann Mall.
"It’s like moving the Statue of Liberty," said fourth-year Ecology student Colin Curry. "If it wasn’t in the Bay of New York, would it still be the Statue of Liberty?"
Lower tuition increase a possibility
The possibility of lower tuition was bolstered by the rumour of an increase to the University of Calgary’s base operating funding. Administration recently moved the tuition decision from the December Board of Governors meeting to February.
"The university doesn’t want to get into a situation where they would have to make a tuition decision before more government funding does become available," said Students’ Union President Toby White.
The SU plans to improve student consultation, something White promised in his election campaign last year. White added consultation will also include plans such as ads in the Gauntlet, student groups and tables around campus.
A possible cure for diabetes
University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine researcher Dr. Ji-Won Yoon announced a breakthrough in Type 1 diabetes research.
Type 1 diabetes or juvenile diabetes is caused when the body’s immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The body is unable to regulate its sugar level as a consequence. Yoon’s lab injected a genetically-modified virus into the livers of lab animals. The virus carried a genetic code causing target cells to produce a substance similar to insulin.
"One injection results in almost full remission of Type 1 diabetes," said Yoon. "There is no detectable side effect."
Curing the problem of mines
Four University of Calgary mechanical and manufacturing engineering students won second place in a national competition sponsored by Mines Action Canada for the design of a solar-powered battery recharger for mine-detection equipment. The team included Michael Hand, Cam Rankin, Jason Thomas and Aparna Verma.
"This project helps to reduce human suffering. Usually kids become amputees as a result of [mines]," said Rankin. "If you care about people having food to eat, this issue directly affects that. If people can’t till their land because there are mines in it, then they can’t eat."
The project is part of a mandatory full-year design course for mechanical and manufacturing engineering students.