Welcome back to class this Fall! While you’ve been away, your UASU has been hard at work advocating for you to the University of Alberta, the Government of Alberta, and the City of Edmonton. Here’s a quick update on how we have made your voices heard this summer.
COVID Safety Measures and Accomodations
In response to pressure from students and community leaders, your UASU successfully pushed the University to take stronger action on pandemic safety. Students, faculty and staff can breathe a little easier knowing there will be vaccines or weekly rapid testing, mandatory masking and vaccine clinics on campus! Your Executive team continues to call for clearer University guidelines, wastewater testing, online access to classes, academic supports, and flexible accommodations for students to keep our campus community as safe as possible this Fall.
Your UASU, the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA), the Alumni Association, and partners at the University of Alberta have also teamed up to help celebrate a safe and healthy return to campus this year by launching the Get Your Shot contest. Get your vaccine for a chance to win free Fall tuition and other great prizes! Visit perks.uasu.ca before September 10 to enter the draw.
Exceptional Tuition Increases
After the U of A raised domestic tuition 7% for 2021, we are doing everything we can to prevent additional exceptional tuition increase proposals from going forward unchecked. The U of A has until the end of October 2021 to do more student consultation before any exceptional tuition increase proposals can pass. These increases would affect new students starting in Fall 2022.
If you’re in Law, Dentistry, Engineering, Pharmacy, Radiation Therapy, Medical Lab Science, Counselling Psychology, or Business programs, you can help by writing to your faculty and telling them how excessive tuition increases would affect new students in your program.
We secured the return of the U-Pass with a price freeze for the next 4 years! We are also working to ensure continual access despite ETS delays in Arc card distribution.
Get Out The Vote
We’ve hired a Get Out The Vote Coordinator and are welcoming back volunteers onto the team! We will be announcing special events and watch parties so you can discuss the things that matter to YOU. Our team will be registering people to vote during the week of welcome and before election days.
Your UASU launched a gender neutral pronoun awareness initiative aiming to promote safer spaces for individuals of all gender identities in our campus community. By raising awareness about what gender neutral pronouns are and how to use them, we hope to normalise best practices surrounding these pronouns. Every single teaching professor this semester, at all campuses, has received a two page resource sheet and a slide to share with students on the first day of classes, with an invitation to participate in this initiative. Over 100 professors signed up to help so far. This means 150 classes are getting these resources... with more to come!
Period Equity Initiative
Your UASU has made sustainable pads available by the bathroom near SUBprint and at InfoLink desks. They are also available at SUBmart at cost. Two more dispensers will be going up in the Vanvliet Centre, and we’re continuing work to identify sponsors and add dispensers to CSIS and Education.
After 3 years of advocacy, the Zero Textbook Cost Indicator Program is officially launched and will run until 2022! Students can collectively save MILLIONS when instructors are encouraged to remove additional course costs by using open source materials. Over 500 professors have signed up since the program launched at the end of August. Check our Be Book Smart resource for more information about open source materials and other ways you might be able to save money on textbooks this Fall.
Indigenous Awareness Week
We’ve secured $20K in funding for Indigenous Awareness Week, and the events are being designed to honor and hold space for Indigenous students to celebrate Indigeneity. There will be opportunities for settlers to learn and engage in activities that bring into question colonial history and ways of being.
The planning committee is led by Indigenous students who are diligently planning workshops, discussions, and more. Mark your calendars for the week of January 17th, 2022!
The Practicum Intervention Policy is being drafted with a focus on preventative measures to protect students in coops and placement programs. More work is being done to ensure safe environments for students outside of campus.
Solidarity with essential workers
Custodians have worked tirelessly to make our campus a safe place to be and the University has unilaterally made the decision to outsource all custodial operations to a private contractor. We continue to stand with over 60 University essential workers affected by this decision and their union, the Non-Academic Staff Association (NASA).