From people protesting the university’s decision to award David Suzuki an honorary degree to the university preparing for cannabis legalization, the second half of 2018 saw its fair share of big campus stories. With 2019 here to stay, here is the second part of our look back on the year that was.
L’Express closes after a good run
After over 30 years, L’Express, the Students’ Union-run cafeteria-style venue, was closed for good in June due to declining revenues from the business. It and Taco Time were both replaced in the SUB food court by Hula Poke and Konz Pizza, which opened in late August.
Honorary degree for David Suzuki sparks protests
During the summer, the university announced that David Suzuki would be one of 13 people who would be receiving an honorary degree from the U of A. People both in and out of the university were vocal about their disagreement with the decision. Fraser Forbes, the dean of the faculty of engineering, called the move “a direct and alarming threat to our faculty of engineering.”
Additionally, a tax law firm based in Calgary decided to cancel its financial gift to the university in protest.
While critics were vocal, the university stood by the decision to award Suzuki an honorary degree.
All this cumulated to a protest outside the Jubilee on June 7 where protestors from Calgary and Red Deer arrived on campus grounds by bus as Suzuki received his honorary degree inside the building. One protestor even tried to return his degree to the university.
Chalifoux Hall and Nîpisîy House open to students
The names for the two residences were announced earlier in June, with Nîpisîy being the Cree word for willow, and Chalifoux Hall named after Thelma Chalifoux, the first Metis woman to serve in both the university senate and the Canadian Senate.
U of A allows cannabis consumption on campus
With the date for legalization set for October 17, the university spent several months drafting its own policy on cannabis use. After taking input from the community and waiting for the City of Edmonton to draft its own laws on the matter, four consumption spots were created on university grounds.
The U of A’s approach to cannabis consumption is comparatively liberal compared to other universities in the country as some such as the University of Calgary, have completely prohibited cannabis use on university grounds.
New tuition legislation finally sees the light of day
Originally due in fall 2017 the Alberta Government finally released a revised tuition framework on October 29, outlining how universities can set tuition levels.
The framework, which takes effect in 2020, will cap increases to domestic student tuition to inflation and provide a tuition guarantee for international students. The framework also gives students’ unions a veto on mandatory non-instructional fees. The legislation was later passed though the Alberta legislature on November 20.
HUB residences call for more security
The Fine Arts Building wasn’t the only building that drew security concerns. In November, the HUB Community Association proposed the installation of OneCard security locks throughout the building in response to some of the activity that’s been happening in the area, like trespassing, assault, and theft. The proposal is currently being reviewed by the university.