SU drops the ball on tuition

By James Keller

In the growing tradition of Students’ Union’s do-it-yourself politics, some concerns I expressed recently were met with the challenge to "attend an SLC meeting (so [I] have some basis for [my] misguided rants)." So, much to the surprise of some SU executives, I attended the weekly Students’ Legislative Council meeting last week.

Some of these "misguided rants" are inspired by tuition consultation but the greater focus is the lack of communication with students. After attending SLC, I realized where the root of these problems lie.

Do you know when the BoG meeting is? When the Town Hall meetings were? The amount of the upcoming tuition? (Hint: 3.7 per cent.)

I’m betting your answers to these questions were grim. The truth is not many people know what’s going on regarding the tuition decision and thus, not many people care.

Let’s look at some examples.

First, the Town Hall meetings. These events are so underpublicized, it’s surprising SU members even know when and where to go. Sure, there are posters–no doubt lost in the array of free internet and telemarketing ads that we all ignore and avoid. And yes, there are even ads in the Gauntlet–one of which, interestingly enough, was smaller than a Bell Mobility contest ad and about one quarter the size of a Star Wars screening ad all on the same page. But all of this was too little too late.

There’s a free breakfast in MacEwan Hall the day of the BoG meeting. This is an excellent idea, but was advertised only a week in advance and in much the same way as previous–and equally unsuccessful–efforts.

Any other ideas? Paint the rock? Done. However, due to SLC planning, it happened Wednesday, giving students less than two days notice. Since the meeting starts at 8:30 a.m., we’ll assume that if you haven’t see anything by Thursday night, you’re not going.

So, you ask–you being both the reader and the now angered SU–what should be done?

The solution is simple, make sure people know and know well in advance. Of course it’s much to late too change anything this year, but the SU should’ve made the tuition issue a big deal from the first day U of C 101 students stepped into orientation. You shouldn’t be on campus and not have the date of the BoG meeting, Nov. 30, tatooed in your brian. Anything in terms of protest that happens on the day of the BoG meeting–which this year will again be next to nothing–should be the result of a culmination of months of campaigning. People should be angry. This takes time to reinforce.

Sadly, you probably won’t even read this until after the BoG meeting, since the paper is published the day before. Sadly, this might also be the first time you’ve heard of the BoG meeting or anything related to tuition.

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