Editorial—It’s Time To Act

I was going to gush today about the return of our much missed “Course Exam” column, by a new writer who, if her first submission is any indication, has a solid idea of the kind of things students need to know beyond just the syllabus, but unfortunately, something much more important has come up.

If you haven’t already seen the video by Athabasca University president, Peter Scott, it’s time to go do so.  Now.

The gist of it is that the province has provided universities with their new “performance based metrics” on which they receive funding.  One of the “performance” metrics given to AU is that they increase staffing in the rural town of Athabasca University.  This despite the fact that rehousing these staff will cost the university significant amounts of money and provide absolutely zero benefit to students.

If the university doesn’t do this, it will cost them a significant amount of money as the government with-holds funding from the university.

Either way, the university will be out a significant amount of money, and that’s money that could have been used to help provide more programs or more staff able to work at a distance and so be able to get your calls and concerns answered more quickly.  But hey, what’s your education compared to a few votes, right?

That’s why it’s time to act.  If you’re an Albertan, even if you’ve already graduated, please call your MLA, you can search by your postal code, and ask why they want Athabasca University to take money away from providing education to students.  Maybe point out that they already only provide around 26% of the funding to AU, less than most supposedly “private” schools receive, and ask them why they want even less of that money actually going to students who help drive Alberta’s economy forward.

Once you’re done that, ask them to forward you on to the Minister of Advanced Education, or contact his office yourself at (780)427-5777, and politely ask why they are demanding Athabasca University spend Alberta advanced education money to rehouse staff rather than provide you with an education. Consider pointing out that this will be remembered come voting day.  You will likely get little more than runaround from that call, but they’ll log you as a concerned citizen. Then try calling some of the numbers on this list of the deputy minister’s office with the same concerns.   This is especially important if you happen to live in the Athabasca region.

If you’re not from Alberta, it’s more difficult, as, let’s be honest, you really don’t matter to the UCP at all, but you could contact your own MLA and ask if they’d contact Minister Nicolaides at the above listed number to ask why they want to damage your own education.  I doubt the minister has any sense of shame left, but it’s worth the effort.

This is a blatant attempt by the UCP to grab votes in one small area, no matter how many people it hurts, forcing the use of taxpayer dollars to do it.  But if we don’t tell them that it’s unacceptable, that it will have consequences on voting day, then there’s no reason beyond personal morality for them to ever stop.  Does anybody here really think the government minister has that in any capacity?

Bah.  I’m disgusted.  Enjoy the read! 

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