News in handy review form

By Katy Anderson

New CJSW space

When last year’s operating agreement was signed it looked optimistic that a new CJSW space would be built sooner rather than later. But plans of construction hit another obstacle as the University of Calgary Students’ Union and CJSW had a disagreement about costs and communication. CJSW called for an independent audit, which concluded the SU was charging 10 per cent more than necessary. The SU insisted that their price was within market standards. CJSW is currently pursuing a loan from a private donor.

Federal Election 2006

Calgary West federal election candidates met in MacEwan Student Centre to discuss post-secondary education. All candidates were present except for Conservative incumbent Rob Anders. According to his campaign manager, Devin Iversen, Anders’ strengths as an on the ground campaigner were needed in British Columbia.

“I think we all know who not to vote for,” said Canadian Action Party candidate Tim Crayzer.

Other candidates included two students from the university, New Democratic Party candidate Teale Phelps Bondaroff and Green Party candidate Danielle Roberts.

Conservative Rob Anders was the winner of Calgary West.

Den goes smoke free

The SU voted unanimously to make the Den smoke free by September 2006.

The Graduate Students Association followed suit, and vowed to make the Grad Lounge smoke free by May 2006.

USRIs suck

The fall 2005 semester saw the Universal Student Ratings of Instruction move completely online, causing student response rates to plummet from an average of above 60 per cent to less than 35 per cent.

USRI’s are used not only by students for course selection and by faculty to improve instruction, but also by deans and department heads to assess and evaluate instructors.

“It seems as if there was a basic flaw in research design,” said U of C professor Dr. Allen Ponak.

SU elections

Annual SU elections saw the hallways littered with more posters than there are trees in a forest. Emily Wyatt won the coveted presidential position.

Her executive are: VP operations and finance Cody Wagner, VP academic Shannon O’Connor, VP events Eric Jablonski and VP external Julie Labonte.

Cartoon scandal

The infamous Muhammad cartoons made an appearance in a Canadian student newspaper. The Cadre, the University of P.E.I’s student newspaper, chose to run the cartoons. The UPEI administration immediately ordered copies of the newspaper to be removed from circulation on campus.

Women’s Centre

Thanks to a private donor, the U of C will have a visible women’s centre for the first time since the 1970s.

Negotiations are underway to determine details, but an announcement is expected before next September. The centre may be located in the former Multi-faith Chaplains Centre.

Prof sues the U of C

Haskayne School of Business law professor Dr. Peter Bowal took legal action against the university for wrongfully withholding his salary and an abuse of trust and discretion.

In the 2001-02 academic term Bowal was on a sabbatical to the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. which was approved by the U of C. A month before his time was up, Bowal was sent an email telling him to resume his duties in Calgary within days.

When Bowal did not return to Calgary he was sent a letter of termination and a statement of assessment to repay $50,000 in wages to the university.

“I was suddenly and retroactively terminated, for no purpose,” said Bowal. “No one spoke to me about what had happened.”

Bowal signed a new agreement to save his job, quit his fellowship and returned to campus.

University administration refused to comment on the matter.

Xerox–A deal with the devil?

U of C’s Board of Governors signed an agreement with Xerox, which allows the university to continue to pursue outsourcing Printing Services to Xerox and eventually enter into a contract.

The deal will replace old copiers and scanners and will create an information management system that allows documents to be created and organized electronically. The system could save the university up to $13.8 million over seven years but has employees worried they could lose their jobs.

Working together-ish to lower tuition

Alberta’s four universities sent a letter to Advanced Education Minister Dave Hancock outlining recommendations for a proposed affordability framework for post-secondary education.

Student leaders across the province were disappointed they were left out of the process.

“We were under the impression the universities and students’ unions were going to come up with a single position on base funding, operating grants, all of these things,” said U of C SU president Bryan West. “But at the same time we were having these conversations, the universities were already sending their recommendations to the ministry.”

U of C provost and vice-president academic Dr. Ron Bond denied knowledge of any agreement between administration and the SU to provide a joint proposal.

“It’s frustrating for the student groups involved to seem to get support and then have them turn around, behind closed doors, and say something else,” said West.

Union and university get unified on new agreement

Months of bargaining came to an end when an agreement was signed by the U of C administration and support staff. Discussions broke down in December and the university administration pulled out of negotiations. A protest was held outside the Board of Governors meeting, and the university quickly resumed talks.

The new contract states the workers will get a 3.5 per cent raise per year for the next three years. The workers noted that the pay increase was still lower than at comparable institutions and conceded they still would like increased job security.

“If you take a look at the entire contract, we believe it’s a pretty good package,” said Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Local 52 bargaining team chair Keith Gill. “Although, we felt it took too long.”

Support staff voted 54 per cent in favour of the contract, although less than half of U of C’s approximate 2,900 AUPE Local 52 members participated.

Arts facelift

Performing arts at the university are about to get a lot sweeter.

The SU Students’ Academic Assembly voted unanimously to give the fine arts faculty $30,000 for facility improvements. The money will be spread thin over the faculty’s long list of needed improvements, but is a welcome gesture.

The funding will not come from the university, but from the Students’ Union.

“I think it is the university’s job,” said SU vice-president academic Paige Forsyth. “This is a push on the university to put money towards this, because I don’t think the faculty has the money.”

Renovations will start this summer.

Does that make pro-choice, pro-death?

Last year’s Campus Pro-life club display had to be held off campus and was vandalized. To avoid a similar situation this year, there was much discussion as to where CPL could demonstrate. Initial agreements between the SU, administration and CPL had the display facing inwards in a circle to ensure it was seen only by those who consented. CPL began talks with the SU, failed to reach an agreement and were passed on to university administration.

The university conceded and the display was allowed, facing outwards. Passers-by were pre-warned with signs, but it did little to cool students’ anger.

The two-day display finished without violence as pro-lifers and pro-choicers campaigned side by side.

Over the hill

The U of C turned 40 this year. To celebrate the university handed out cake. Fourty alumni were selected as the top alumni from over 115,000 graduates.

Although Prime Minister Stephen Harper was named, he was not present at the celebration.

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