I recently was sworn in as the graduate senate representative on the SU Council, finishing out the 2016-17 term. Tonight I attended my first SU Council meeting, and brought forth two items for discussion.
- Graduate Student Travel Funding: currently $7,500 of the SU budget is allocated to “academic enrichment funding” (e.g., travel). Nate (Pres) and Clayton (VPF) came to the lounge on Monday for a budget outreach consultation, and several graduate students attended to ask about funding for travel. Of the $7,500, $3,500 is used by AVC and the other $4,000 by graduate students in other programs. At Council, Clayton gave an update on the fund’s usage. There were 51 applicants (30 were AVC students). They are talking about splitting the $7,500 into two pots: one for AVC ($3,500) and one for non-AVC graduate students ($4,000). These pots of money would increase, after the split. Estimated totals (not definite totals): $4,000 for AVC (increase of $500) and $6,500 for non-AVC grad students (increase of $2,500). Clayton said he’d like to see an increase annually to each pot of money. With the Wave-refresh project, they are hoping to have more funds to put into other areas (since the Wave operates at a deficit currently).
- Opt-Out of Fees for online, off-Island students: these students are currently paying $162/semester in fees for services they can’t access (i.e., $97 for Athletic & Admin Fees; $29 for Transit Pass; $36 for Fitness Centre Access). Other universities offer an opt-out for transit fees (e.g., Carleton U, U of Sask, U of Regina, SFU), with refunded amount going directly to student account. Clayton (VPF) gave an update at Council on this. Mike Cassidy (own of Trius Transit) is not opposed to an opt-out. The biggest issue being discussed in meetings with university administration is the classification that would have to be created in the system for such students. Nate (Pres) meets regularly with Jackie Podger (UPEI VP Finance & Admin) and the issue of opt-out and student classification is not new to their conversations. The Registrar’s Office is also on this, discussing how to define this student classification. Nate, who could not be present at Council, said that the UPEI administration have a tentative deadline for opt-out: May 2018.
This is all of the information I have for now. Next council meeting is in two weeks, and I will update on these issues over time.