Representation Executive Council (REC) Monthly Advocacy Update: March 2022

Your 2021-22 Representation Executive Council (REC) from left to right: Rachel Timmermans (REC VP External), Spirit River Striped Wolf (REC President), Yasmin Ahmed (REC VP Academic), and Joseph Nguyen (REC VP Student Affairs)

Hello MRU students,

We are your 2021/2022 Representation Executive Council (REC). REC comprises four MRU students just like you who were elected by MRU’s student body to represent student issues to MRU and all three levels of government. 

The 2021/2022 executive team is:

  • REC President Spirit River Striped Wolf
  • REC Vice-President Student Affairs Joseph Nguyen
  • REC Vice-President External Rachel Timmermans
  • REC Vice-President Academic Yasmin Ahmed

In this post, we want to let you know about the work we did in March 2022.

New Senior Positions at MRU

SAMRU REC members have been busy this year participating in hiring committees for some very important senior positions at MRU. Their direct voice and input will shape the direction of MRU for years to come. Here are the committees that are in progress or have wrapped up in March 2022:

  • Yasmin is on the Provost and VP Academic hiring committee
  • Joseph is on the VP Finance and Administration hiring committee
  • Yasmin finished up her work on the Associate Vice-President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion hiring committee and is pleased to welcome Dr. Moussa Magassa to MRU!

Government funding and the MRU Budget

Spirit River and Joseph, who are both members of the MRU Board of Governors, voted to approve the funding agreement with the Government of Alberta covering 2022 to 2025. This agreement ties 15% of MRU’s 2022-2023 government funding to performance-based metrics that MRU must achieve in order to receive all of the funding. Next year’s metrics relate to work-integrated learning, domestic enrolment numbers, and graduate skills. In 2023-2024, a fourth metric will be added relating to administration expenses, bringing the total at-risk funding up to 25%. Then, in 2024-2025, 40% of MRU’s government funding will be at risk unless all of the performance metrics are fully achieved.

Spirit River and Joseph also voted to approve MRU’s fiscal plan for 2022-2025 at the Board of Governors meeting. This plan is based on a “return to normal” approach for university operations after two difficult pandemic years. 

SAMRU booth at the Sustainability Fair on March 31, 2022.

Sustainable MRU

Joseph participated in a Sustainable MRU working group to bring fun and innovative ideas to the MRU Sustainability Fair that occurred on March 30th and 31st, 2022. 

Faculty Strike Follow Up

In a previous blog, we reported that Spirit River was planning on advocating for MRU and the faculty association to create a communication and contingency plan so the university can quickly and impartially keep students updated during any future potential strike or lockout situation. MRU President Tim Rahilly has since told Spirit River that he wishes to partner with SAMRU to achieve this goal. 

Covid and on-campus masking

SAMRU, the Mount Royal Faculty Association (MRFA), and the Mount Royal Staff Association (MRSA) agreed to partner in pushing the Alberta Government and MRU to keep masking requirements until the end of the Winter semester. Students were promised a certain level of safety precautions in place for this semester and we believe that these standards should be upheld.

A joint letter on behalf of the three organizations was sent to the Alberta Minister of Advanced Education requesting to keep masking mandatory until the end of the semester. However, the minister upheld his original directive that post-secondaries were to remove mask mandates for the rest of the semester.

Municipal Transit Advocacy

Calgary Student Alliance meeting with Councillor Penner.

Rachel and Spirit River, as part of the Calgary Student Alliance (a group of student leaders from post-secondary institutions across the city), met with Ward 11 city councillor and Chair of City Council’s Community Development Committee, Kourtney Penner. The discussion involved how to improve transit not just for current students, but for all Calgarians. 

Federal Advocacy

Rachel met with Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, along with other Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) members. Rachel advocated that parental and spousal contributions should be removed from the student aid assessment process for students over the age of 20. 

Spirit River met with the Director of Policy for the Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu to discuss CASA’s priorities. 

2022-2023 REC Team Announced

Following the election period on March 14-17, the following four students will make up your Representation Executive team next year. They begin their roles on May 1, 2022. 

  • President Joseph Nguyen
  • VP External Tera Cardinal
  • VP Academic Yasmin Ahmed
  • VP Student Affairs Pamela Malec

A big congratulations to the winners and best of luck in your advocacy efforts for the coming year!

Stay in the know!

Joseph and Spirit River have been hosting a monthly podcast called Tea with REC where they discuss what REC has been up to, often with special guests. Tea with REC is now available on Youtube and Spotify! Make sure to tune in for updates on the issues mentioned above, and more (like special guests).

If you’re interested in learning more about how to get involved with student representation and advocacy work, sign up for updates on how to get involved in the 2022-23 academic year!

Wow, that’s a lot of progress in just one month! And these are just the highlights. REC members take on their respective roles as full-time jobs over twelve months, which means that every day is full of great work happening behind the scenes dedicated to improving the student experience at MRU. Keep tabs on this blog for monthly updates from your REC for updates on what we’re working on. You can also visit this link to learn more about the four REC members this year as well as how to become an elected student representative yourself!