This semester, your UASU Executives have been advocating for you on important issues like tuition affordability and transit safety, achieving big wins for gender-based violence prevention and academic policies, and helping to make our campus a more inclusive and accessible space. Keep reading to see the full report on what we've been up to this fall.

Tuition Increase Consultation
Working on this: VP Finance Julia Villoso, VP External Christian Fotang, President Abner Monteiro

  • Changes to the tuition consultation pathways are being implemented! For the first time ever, the U of A’s tuition increase proposals are being sent to the Students’ Council and the International Students’ Association Council for consultation FIRST.
  • The mid-November town hall meeting was held to hear from students directly and generate ideas for action against tuition increases. 
  • The Nov 29th Student Council meeting brought together students to ask questions and raise concerns directly to University Admin about the proposals.
  • This is a big opportunity to push back, request more support in key areas and protect students’ financial futures. 

Transit Safety and Housing Priorities at Edmonton City Council
Working on this: VP External Christian Fotang

  • Transit safety is a priority not only for you but for the City in the upcoming budget. 
  • Your UASU relays student concerns and quotes directly to the City and, most recently at the City Council Non-Statutory Public Hearings, called for more funding for the Community Outreach Transit Team (COTT) to improve support for poverty, addiction, mental health, and emergency housing - especially at University Station. 
  • We called for the City to improve lighting in dimly lit areas; fix/replace broken quarter dome/half dome safety mirrors that are often broken or obscured with graffiti; increase transit service frequency; and improve cell reception in the underground LRT so passengers can call for assistance or remain on their phones if needed.
  • We also supported building of affordable, mixed, non-market, and emergency housing like the proposal for 209 new spaces at the Jasper Place Wellness Centre.

Supporting Students Who Parent
Working on this: VP Student Life Joannie Fogue

  • Family Corner : 
    • The Family Corner will be accessible to students and their children next semester in Rutherford Library! 
    • Your VPSL has been working with Libraries, the Dean of Students (DoS) and stakeholders to make it a reality.
    • Students who parent on campus contributed to the design of the space as a welcoming, inclusive and accessible area for all.

Period Equity Initiative 
Working on this: VP Student Life Joannie Fogue, VP Finance Julia Villoso

  • Period Equity is refining how to directly support students most in need while also providing free pads and tampons for emergency use.
  • Your UASU secured $5000 in funding from the Dean of Students (DoS)

Delivery Services and Pick-Up Options
Working on this: VP Finance Julia Villoso

  • Delivery services and pick-up options for Deweys will be available in early January!

Gender-Based Violence Prevention
Working on this: VP Student Life Joannie Fogue, VP External Christian Fotang

  • After years of student advocacy, the University’s Board of Governors (BoG) approved the new Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Policy.
  • The UASU’s goal was to harmonize all policies and practices to create a single survivor-centred, trauma-informed, plain-language document. The new policy addresses: 
    • Gender-based violence, intimate partner violence and stalking
    • Explicit mention of the history of colonization, its links to sexual violence and deals explicitly with sexual violence against Indigenous people
    • A shift away from criminal language
    • Pathways for voluntary non-disciplinary resolution, where appropriate, like restorative practices
  • The Government of Alberta will fund additional supports for sexual assault survivors in rural and remote communities across Alberta, to ensure healthcare providers can deliver essential services.
    • This is positive news for Augustana Campus to address the lack of sexual assault evidence kits and the problems involved with travelling significant distances to get access to support.
  • This is the result of collective advocacy from students and the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS) who pressed the Minister of Advanced Education and the former Associate Minister of the Status of Women for change.

Federal WINS - with the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) 
Working on this: VP External Christian Fotang, President Abner Monteiro 

  • The 20hr/week limit for International students has been temporarily lifted! That means that international students who want or need to work more have the option.
    • Your UASU continues to advocate to make it permanent.
  • $50 million will go to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to address visa processing backlogs and reduce pressure on international students
  • Your UASU and the Indigenous Students Union (ISU) met with Prime Minister Trudeau to advocate for urgent student needs at advocacy week with the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA)
  • Federal Student Loans Interest has been eliminated permanently starting April 2023. 
    • While students with provincial loans from Alberta still have to pay interest, the federal change will save students $410 over the course of their loan repayment.
  • The Repayment Assistance Plan threshold was increased to $40,000 to help students through financial difficulties
  • Over $400 million dollars will go to the Canada Summer Jobs Program and $300 million will go to the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy to benefit students
  • We know that many of you are thinking beyond your Undergrad and are planning for the future, that’s why your VP External Christian Fotang spoke at a panel of experts to recommend the Federal Research Support System increase graduate student research scholarships.

Academic Integrity Policy
Working on this: VP Academic Gurleen Kaur

  • New working groups will focus on protecting students by making sure academic integrity issues are more transparent and handled more consistently across the University.

Experiential Learning Policy
Working on this: VP Academic Gurleen Kaur

  • Working groups are also looking at how we can better protect students on co-ops and work placements. All students should feel safe and have suitable support while completing program requirements.

ARRC Recommendations
Working on this: VP Academic Gurleen Kaur

  • Following the launch of the Indigenous Strategic Plan, faculties are now participating in consultation to develop Indigenous course content as a part of their future programs.

Textbook Affordability
Working on this: VP Academic Gurleen Kaur

  • Zero Textbook Cost project is in its 3rd semester and will keep growing bigger and better next winter! Last year students saved $9 million on textbooks.