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THE GATEWAY 

volume XCVTII number 2 ♦ the official student newspaper at the university of alberta ♦ www.thegatewayonline.ca ♦ lhursriay.fi September. 2007 



ZHENDONGLI 

FRESH FISH! First-year students. Orientation volunteers, and members of the Students' Union gather Tuesday evening at Hawrelak Park to listen to the President's address. Full coverage on page 4. 


PSE aid misses the mark—report 


Housing woes affect 
aboriginal students 


NATALIE CUMENHAGA 

Senior News Editor 


Alberta's housing crunch lias lieen well 
publicized, but for aboriginal students 
hoping to pursue postsecondary studies 
in the province, the challenge of finding 
an affordable place to live is in no way 
old news. 

Last month, attempts to improve 
tile housing situation were signified 
when Slrathcona MLA Rob Loughheed 
presented a $550 000 cheque to the 
University of Allierta's Aboriginal 
Student Services Centre for the refur¬ 
bishment of residences allocated spe¬ 
cifically for aboriginal students. 

“There area lot ofba triers for aborig¬ 
inal students who come to school I 
think t here should be some incentive to 
keep aboriginal students oil campus,” 
Aboriginal Student Council (ASC) 
President Derek Thunder said of the 
need for aboriginal-specific housing. 

The funding went towards the refur¬ 
bishment of the Bekourt-Brosseau 
House (B&B House), a six-person unit 
that opened in 1999 as a Metis house 
but which has since become equally 
accessible to First Nations st udents. In 
addition, the $550 000 fuelled reno¬ 
vations at a four-person house in East 
Campus Village, as well as to two row 
houses in the Michener Park Complex. 
These two residences, which were 
previously open to all U of A students, 
will be now reserved for aboriginal 


students only. 

"We could probably do about 30 
times that, if not more," Aboriginal 
Student Services coordinator Melissa 
Gillis said of the number of housing 
spaces now set aside for aboriginal 
students. 

"There are a lot of 
barriers for aboriginal 
students who come 
to school. I think 
there should be some 
incentive to keep 
aboriginal students on 
campus.” 

DEREK THUNDER 

ASC PRESIDENT 

But Loughheed said that the money 
was only a small part of $250 million 
coming from the federal government 
over three years time for aboriginal 
housing initiatives across the coun¬ 
try. He explained that die renovations 
were only a small component of proj¬ 
ect the aboriginal housing money will 
be funding. 

He added iliat as more of the fund¬ 
ing becomes available, the possibility 
to build new units for aboriginal stu¬ 
dents may open up. 

PLEASE SEE HOUSING * PAGE 5 


NATALIE CUMENHAGA 

Senior News Editor 


Tuition freezes and tax credits aren’t to 
be praised, according to a new study by 
the Educational Policy Institute (EPI). 

The. study, entitled “The End of 
Need-Based Student Financial Aid in 
Canada," takes aim at a general trend 
away from need-based aid funding 
in favour of universal programs. Tlie 
report shows that based on funding 
patterns across Canada over the past 
15 years, less and less money is going 
to students in dire need of financial 
assistance. 

"EPI. they’ve kind of painted tlie 
picture that everybody knew was 
happening, but they didn't really 
acknowledge the investment that 
our government has made into the 
loan program, and there lias been 
some investment there,” University 
of Alberta Students' Union Vice- 
President (External) Steven Dollansky 
said. 

The study points to the fact that, 
in Alberta, the past four years in par¬ 
ticular have been marked by numer¬ 
ous tuition and student aid programs. 
The study calculates that although a 
two-year tuition freeze, reforms to 
provincial student loans, tax credits, 
and other initiatives have been hailed 
as important steps towards addressing 
student concerns in tlie province, they 
have also prioritized non-need-based 
assistance. 

The study states dial over the last 
four years, the Government of Alberta 


has spent roughly $183 million on 
access-related policies. It calculated 
that only 21 per cent of all new assis¬ 
tance was need-based, while the 
remaining 79 per cent was non-need- 
based assistance. 


“In Alberta its common 
knowledge tliat 
universal aid lias far 
outpaced need-based 
aid.” 

STEVEN DOLLANSKY 

SU VP (EXTERNAL) 

U of A Provost and Vice-President 
(Academic) Carl Amrhein com pa red 
the phenomenon of universal aid to 
a situation wherein every student 
receives $100 relief on tuition. In 
such a scenario, whether that funding 
means anything to them or not will 
depend on their ability to pay tuition 
in the first place. On the other hand, 
the same amount of funding could be 
put towards giving $500 only to stu¬ 
dents who can demonstrate financial 
need. 

"1 think the big question for me is 
not so mud) the amount of money that 
is advertised in the University's calen¬ 
dar. but actually how rnudi money a 
student has to pay versus their ability 
to jjay," Amrhein said. 

Dollansky also noted that one of 
the largest contributors to need- 


based aid in Canada, the Millennium 
Scholarship, will ran out at the end 
of next year. The fund contributes 
approximately $9 million every year 
to U of A students. 

Maurice Tougas. Alberta Liberal 
Shadow Minister for Post secondary 
Education, said via email that so far 
he is unaware of any plans from the 
provincial government to replace the 
Millennium Scholarship’s funding if it 
is allowed to run out. 

"fW]e’ve heard concerns from stu¬ 
dent groups that there was, and is, no 
real plan for dealing with this shitrtfall 
in funding—and more specifically, 
targeted funding," Tougas wrote. 

Dollansky said he hopes the fund¬ 
ing won’t falter at the federal level, and 
that the provincial government won't 
have to step in to replace it. He added 
dial ideally, more would be done lo 
streamline postsecondary funding 
policies between federal and provin¬ 
cial levels. 

"In Alberta it's common knowledge 
that universal aid has far outpaced 
need-based aid. and it's something 
dial we advocate for because often 
it’s those groups that slip through the 
cracks." Dollansky said. 

Student Financial Aid Information 
Centre (SF.AIC) centre director Jane 
Lee works with students to help guide 
them through the student loan sys¬ 
tems from application to repayment, 
and she said EPl's report shows how 
complex student financial aid is in 
Canada. 

PLEASE SEE EPI REPORT • PAGE 3 


Inside 


News 1-li 

News Feature 7 

Opinion 9-12 

Feature 14-15 

A&E 17-23 

Sports 24-30 

Comics 30 



Political who’s who 

From Legislative Losers to Governance 
Greenhorns, we ll show you the 
strange, sexy world of U of A politics. 

NEWS FEATURE, PAGE7 



’Plant retrospective 

Ryan Heise looks at the triumphs and 
turmoil that peppers the Powerplant s 
88-vear existence. 

FEATURE, PAGE14-15