This morning, the University of Alberta announced major changes to Lister Centre, drastically altering the employment conditions of 46 students and dramatically changing the fundamental structure of Canada’s largest undergraduate residence. The Students’ Union was not consulted on this proposal.
“This decision from the U of A to post sweeping changes to student residence without properly consulting the Students’ Union or any residence association is in direct contradiction to the 2009 Memorandum of Understanding, a signed contract between the Lister Hall Students’ Association and the U of A,” said Students’ Union President Colten Yamagishi.
“The U of A’s actions directly contradict the Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education’s commitment to consult with student leaders and listen to student concerns on issues that affect them. These actions are gravely disappointing — it has become clear that students aren’t receiving the same level of respect or consultation from university officials.”
Prior to this unilateral move by the University, students who held the role of floor coordinator or hall VP were elected by their peers and were joint employees of the LHSA and the University, a model of cooperation and trust between students and their institution. These changes fit with the University’s increasing tendency to marginalize the student voice, and will allow the University to ignore student concerns further.
“Lister’s democratic system of having student representatives elected and accountable to the students they serve has been an important cultural aspect of the residence, and one of the key reasons that Lister has been so successful,” said LHSA President Eric Martin.
“The LHSA had high hopes coming into this year, and we were excited to do what we could to strengthen the bond between our association and the U of A’s Residence Services. It is disheartening to see that this is how they’ve decided to start our year off.”
The Lister residence has been an integral part of student life at the U of A for 50 years. Thousands of U of A alum were outraged when the University attempted to make similar changes in 2008, and the University agreed to consult with students on any future changes. The University has risked its relationship with thousands of alumni, thousands of current students and generations of future students with this unilateral change.
For more information, please contact:
External Communications & Media Advisor
University of Alberta Students’ Union