Students' Union Advocacy
The purpose of the Not On Our Backs Campaign is to promote a vision for affordable, accessible and high quality education in Alberta by restoring funding from the Provincial Government and calling for regulations that protect students.
“We’ve been very clear that we will not be balancing the budget on the backs of students” Premier Alison Redford
The University of Alberta is an important piece of Alberta’s landscape. The university provides important economic stimulus, fosters leadership and civic engagement in young Albertans and provides opportunities for social mobility. A recent study demonstrated that through increased earnings and the implications of its research the University of Alberta had an economic impact of $12.3 billion dollars in 2009/10 alone. This makes the University one of the most important economic drivers for the province. Beyond this, earlier studies have demonstrated that a post-secondary education increases an individual’s lifetime earnings, likelihood of volunteering, likelihood of being involved civically, and overall health outcomes all of which benefit the individual, but also the communities they live in.
The 2013 budget from the Government of Alberta saw a dramatic cut to Post-secondary education in Alberta. While institutions were promised 2% increases to the Campus Alberta Grant, the grant was cut by 7.2%. At the University of Alberta the loss of funding from the Government of Alberta needed to cut $43 million from its budgets.
Despite the Premier’s promise that the budget would not be balanced on the backs of students, the inevitable consequence of such a dramatic and surprise budget cut has major impacts for students and the rest of the University community. As the majority of the University’s budget is concentrated in salary and benefits, the University of Alberta has had to reduce staff numbers through lay offs, voluntary severance packages and the loss of some contract academic staff positions. Theses losses have had serious impacts on students: classes needed for graduation are offered less often, whole programs have been removed, support from lecturers and teaching assistance who are taking on larger responsibilities has been reduced increased class sizes. Additionally, students have the burden of difficult budgetary situations placed on their backs through unfair Mandatory Non-Instructional Fees and international student tuition.
How you can get involved
Over the remainder of the Winter Semester, Students at the University of Alberta will be working on a series of campaigns to promote reinvestment in post-secondary education and protection for students from unfair fees. The campaigns being run by the Students’ Union will include a Provincial Reinvestment Campaign, a Fee regulation campaign and a debt campaign. You can participate in the campaigns you feel most connected to or all of the campaigns. More information will be available under the Not On Our Backs tab closer to their individual launch.
Students' Union Executive and Administrative Offices
Students' Union Building
University of Alberta
8900 - 114 Street NW