U of C launches CORE lobby

By Bonnie Leung

The University of Calgary unveiled its latest lobbying campaign, the U of C Coalition for Reinvestment, on Mon., Feb. 7.

CORE is comprised of the Alumni Association, the Graduate Students’ Association, the U of C Senate, the Students’ Union, the U of C Faculty Association, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees and the U of C administration.

"We are a coalition of diverse groups on campus with a common vision and goal," said AUPE Chair Dan Tilleman. "We are here to launch a public appeal for base operating to the university that will allow us to create and sustain a world class university. We would like to ask the Calgary community to help us by writing their MLA today."

Since CORE’s primary focus is directed towards the community, U of C students will not be directly affected by this effort. Students will participate mostly with the current SU postcard campaign.

"Students at the U of C can expect to see a lot more involvement," said SU Vice-president External Nassr Awada. "We’re going to be issuing [the second phase of the] postcard campaign in the next couple of weeks."

Tilleman says CORE was formed to ask the Calgary community for support for funds from the provincial government.

Awada hopes to see students’ financial situation helped by CORE.

"We’ve seen [tuition] skyrocket in the last 10 years to a point where it’s been creating very serious problems for students and their families," he said. "They are forced to work part-time or full-time jobs as well as take out loans. The result: students are not only stressed and increasingly in need of such services as food banks, but are also taking longer to finish their degrees."

Other than government spending, the university says it has no other choice but to raise fees to augment its budget.

"Our operating budget has two major sources of input: one is the provincial operating grant, the other is tuition fees," said U of C President Terry White. "It’s very tough for a younger university in a rapidly growing community to meet the challenges we’re faced with in terms of our operating budget."

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