After some discussions with our graduate student colleagues, the Students’ Union would like to clarify our stance around the CoSSS fee funding the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, something that we discussed in this video here. To be clear, the Students’ Union is not questioning the value of FGSR. The position of the Students’ Union is that a mandatory non-instructional fee (MNIF) should not fund FGSR. Instead, FGSR should be funded through instructional fees and the Campus Alberta Grant.
The primary reasons for our position include that FGSR does not provide services accessible to undergraduate students, and FGSR is central to the instructional mandate of the University of Alberta. A mandatory fee to all students should provide a service that is accessible to all students. This does not mean that every student needs to access all of the services, but rather that the unit is accessible for students to utilize. This is not the case for FGSR, which correctly only serves the needs of Graduate Students.
Beyond FGSR only serving graduate students, FGSR should not be funded through the CoSSS fee, because it is core component of the institution. Mandatory Non-Instructional Fees, as additional fees on students, should only fund services of the institution that are not core to its mandate. This is not true of FGSR. One component of being a Comprehensive Academic and Research Institution in Alberta is that the University of Alberta educates graduate students. In order to educate graduate students the University requires a Faculty of Graduate Studies. This is the role that FGSR plays at the University of Alberta and is therefore core to the institutions mandate.
On behalf of the Students’ Union, I hope this clarifies our position. It is not that we are opposed to FGSR in anyway. Instead, it is the position of the Students’ Union that FGSR should not be funded by a MNIF because it does not provide services accessible to all types of students and is central to the University of Alberta’s mandate as a Comprehensive Academic and Research Institution.
Students' Union President