No UPass for students this summer

By Amy Badry

Commuting to the university is costly. The cheapest all-day parking is $5 and a round trip bus ride costs $5.50. Daily commutes can break a student budget.

Fall and winter students receive discounted transit fees through the UPass, but spring and summer undergraduate students do not have that luxury.

For the past couple of years, the university discussed the possibility of a UPass for the spring 2011 semester.

A Gauntlet article printed in February 2010 quoted associate vice-provost of residence and auxiliary services Voula Cocolakis saying “We are still finalizing the negotiation but they should be done in the next month.”

However, “due to administrative and operational issues,” the UPass will not be available until May 2012, according to the University of Calgary website.

“The go-ahead was given to make it available for summer students this year,” said vice-president external Matt McMillan. “Unfortunately it did not go to the Board of Governors in the fee approval and it did not go into the fee schedule.”

All fees need to be approved by the Board of Governors — the senior governing body of the university — before being administered.

“It was overlooked or something,” said McMillan regarding why BOG did not approve the fees.

However, Cocolakis said it was because Calgary Transit did not return the amending agreement in time for it to be approved by BOG.

“We should be getting the amending agreement shortly and it will be approved by BOG and we will have a spring and summer UPass for undergraduate students for next year,” said Cocolakis.

Last year, spring students were surveyed to see if there was interest for a UPass in the spring and summer terms.

“The results showed there was a 51 per cent interest in having a spring/summer UPass for undergraduate students,” said Cocolakis.

The university received the results of the survey in June and then went back to amend the UPass agreement with Calgary Transit to include a spring/summer UPass.

“In November, we still had not received the amended agreement from Calgary Transit,” said Cocolakis. “Those type of mandatory fees have to be approved by the Board of Governors.”

Because of Calgary Transit’s delay to amend the agreement, the fees could not be approved by BOG before the spring semester.

The UPass has been available for fall and winter students since 2002. Graduate students have been able to access a spring and summer UPass since 2005.

“I think it is ridiculous that we don’t get the UPass in the spring and summer,” said fourth-year international relations student Steph Penkala. “I have to buy bus tickets and I am here everyday.”

McMillan said not having the UPass in the summer is difficult for students who depend on the discounts. “It is very disappointing to your budget.”

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