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Notes from Council: Get Out The Vote campaign presented, tuition consultations discussed

"Whatever we stated throughout that process hasn't been implemented in these proposals, and it's what we're pushing back against," UASU president says.

“Notes from Council” is The Gateway’s ongoing series of recaps of noteworthy items from Students’ Council meetings.

At Students’ Council on February 7, council was given a presentation on Get Out The Vote (GOTV), which aims to increase the number of student voters in upcoming elections. Council also discussed the proposed tuition increases, and the university consultations that were done.

Get Out The Vote campaign presented to council

Aseel Atia, a representative from GOTV, presented to council on the initiative, which hopes to increase student participation in the upcoming provincial election on May 29. GOTV is a campaign run by the UASU, in collaboration with students’ unions and associations across Alberta.

“Our mission is to decrease voter apathy across campus, and encourage civic participation and engagement for the upcoming provincial elections,” Atia said.

Atia added that GOTV is important as students face different challenges when it comes to voting, such as mobility and scheduling challenges.

“Students have a plethora of different issues like midterms, extracurriculars, and being on campus during late hours, yet the average student will live with the long-term impacts of government decisions,” she said.

There will be a pledging campaign for GOTV to remind students of the upcoming provincial election on May 29, and students will be provided with voting resources.

According to Atia, advanced polling for the provincial election will be posted from May 25-26, “in order to make voting more accessible for students.”

“There’s still a lot to be able to protest and take direct action against,” UASU president says

At the the previous council meeting, UASU President Abner Monteiro said the University of Calgary did not receive adequate consultation on tuition increases, whereas at the U of A it has been “the complete opposite.” In light of this comment, former arts councillor Haruun Ali asked about what the UASU plans to protest on.

“It’s clear that you think the university has done somewhat of a good job consulting,” Ali said to Monteiro during open forum. “If you’re not protesting the consultations, are you protesting, generally, affordability?”

Monteiro replied that he sees consultation as making sure that there are conversations between the elected student leaders and the university, while involving those who will be impacted by the decision.

“Implementing what was consulted on is a different story,” Monteiro added. “There’s still a lot to be able to protest and take direct action against, to ensure that student voices are heard.”

“We’re focused now on the fact that whatever we stated throughout that process hasn’t been implemented in these proposals, and it’s what we’re pushing back against,” Monteiro said.

During question period, Aaryan Shetty, an open studies councillor, commented on the proposed international student tuition increase of 6.5 per cent, and the university consultations that were done.

“That tuition increase is still going to happen, it’s still going to impact international students, even though we had that period of consultation,” Shetty said.

“I can understand where you’re coming from with so much consultation being done, and feeling that sometimes none of these things have an impact,” Monteiro said.

He added that the university is addressing concerns that UASU executives have raised in the past, “so the hope is that they do something about this too.”

“If they don’t, then you obviously keep moving forward and figure out the best way to ensure the students are supported.”

Lily Polenchuk

Lily Polenchuk is the 2024-25 Editor-in-Chief of The Gateway. She previously served as the 2023-24 Managing Editor, 2023-24 and 2022-23 News Editor, and 2022-23 Staff Reporter. She is in her second year, studying English and political science.

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