Students say no for SLA, yes to U-Pass

By Chris Beauchamp

Students voting in the Students’ Union general election had a shot at direct democracy with five referendum questions on the ballot.

Students voted overwhelmingly to continue the U-Pass, with 4,370 in favour to 1,328 against.

“Personally, I’m quite surprised with the margin of victory,” said “No” campaign organizer Oliver Bladek. “I respect the decision of the students to support the U-Pass.”

Rates for the U-Pass will increase to $60 per semester next year, with subsequent increases of $2 annually until 2008.

“We got cheaper rates than any post-secondary institution in Calgary,” noted Peter Fraser, Director of Ancillary Services. “For the next three years we’ll have a U-Pass and we’ll work to keep the service improving.

Voters chose to maintain the current fee for Student Legal Assistance, a victory SLA Student Director Inayat Jetha attributes to their awareness campaign.

“Ultimately, the referendum outcome was positive,” said Jetha. “Not only because we get to keep our fee, but because we were able to reconnect with the student body.”

Voters also opted to reduce the SU levies which fund academic travel, disability access and library assistance.

“We’re very happy to receive the support of students,” said Assistant Director of Library Collections and Services Ada-Marie Atkins Nechka.

Gavin Preston, SU Vice-President Operations and Finance, noted the library endowment will continue to grow on interest and academic travel will still be funded through the SU budget.

“I’m not convinced students should be paying the access fee,” he stated. “The university has a real responsibility to provide those services.”

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