Open studies student wants representation

The University of Calgary has an Open Studies option but no representation, something that has to change, according to one of their own.

Matt McMillan, an Open Studies student focused on joining the Political Science department, is lobbying to get a position for a representative installed so students can rest assured that they will be looked after.

The idea came to the former U of C music student when he unsuccessfully ran for Operations and Finance Commissioner in last October’s Students’ Union by-election.

“All students should be reflected equally,” he said. “Why should we push for silence on this issue as opposed to solving it?”

While the idea of equal representation is well and good on campus, there are some snags to this yet-to-be-created position.

“In order to be a rep for a faculty, one must be a student for a year, in effect, not an Open Studies student,” said Joey Brocke, SU vice-president operations and finance, noting that open studies students can only take 10 courses while remaining such. So, an Open Studies student could only be a faculty representative if they dropped down to part-time status at some point.

“There’s a further question, which is how many people would still be in Open Studies and therefore eligible,” said Brocke.

“We would have to make a pretty big exception,” he said, adding it is difficult to simply create a position.

“To gain eligibility for becoming a faculty rep one would simultaneously lose Open Studies student status and have to join a faculty or leave the institution,” said Brocke.

The VP op-fi thinks that some sort of representation for Open Studies’ students is a welcome idea, but said that it would not come about in the traditional way current faculty reps act at the university and suggested McMillan set up a club.

Another inherent problem is that often times Open Studies students are not physically present on campus, they feel disconnected to the institution, something McMillan wants to change.

“It needs to be rectified,” said McMillan.

The analogy McMillan used to describe the process of having a new rep is that of a car race.

“Right now we have all the pieces lined up, before no one was at the track.”

A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Open Studies and Music as faculties at the University of Calgary. The Gauntlet regrets these errors.

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