TRUSU hosts budget consultation town hall

Students given chance to voice their concerns over problems at TRU

TRUSU university governance coordinator Alex McLellan speaks to a lecture hall full of students. (Aidan Grether/The Omega)

Following their Annual General Meeting on Jan. 24, TRUSU hosted a town hall event last week that allowed students to voice their concerns regarding the university’s operation and conduct. The subject matter was set by the issues students found most pressing based on the TRUSU budget consultation survey that is offered to students each year.

Leading the budget consultation town hall was University Governance Counsellor Alex McLellan. McLellan notified the crowd that they would be guaranteed anonymity for their comments during the event before diving into the consultation.

The first subject on the docket was unsurprisingly parking. While parking is a largely predictable problem, perhaps the most disturbing genre of criticism came from students asserting that while they had previously paid for parking, had still received tickets from Impark.

“One of the reasons why parking can be frustrating is that TRU is purposefully trying to move people away from driving to campus,” McLellan said on the issue.

While cost is certainly a factor in the aforementioned parking, the rest of the concerns discusses were permeated by theme of unaffordability. Ancillary course costs and the price of campus were the two biggest concerns voiced by students.

“It breaks my heart that everything comes down to money,” one disgruntled student said. “The relationship between a teacher and student is supposed to be like amazing, but it’s all about promoting a certain book for $200.”

Another audience member called into question the concerns students have about the seemingly arbitrary nature of textbook versions.

“Last semester I had an experience with one of the courses where the instructor was insistent on buying the U.S. version which was really expensive and unnecessary whereas the Canadian was cheaper, but not that cheap, around $60,” they said.

The cost to eat on campus was no doubt at the forefront, with complaints around the campus’ many dining areas, yet there remained a slew of other complaints and suggestions by the students. At the top of the contentions that are most realistically achievable by the university was the issue of food trucks. Food trucks have become a somewhat viable option in the past for students but have been subject to diminishing hours, sporadic scheduling and obscure placement.

Perhaps one point that was subtly poignant in the overarching concerns of students, as well as the purported desires of the school, was the lack of an on-campus bar in the vein of the late Heroes, now The Den. Multiple students that were trying to fix the lack of an on-campus social scene brought up the university pub as an example of an establishment that kept students on campus when their classes we’re finished through weekly events and dances.

The common thread amongst students’ complaints was the lack of overall directive for the school moving forward. Administrative decisions have attempted to cut down on students driving to school, yet have created parking issues. Some students even cited that TRU’s ambitious building projects have left their peers perplexed and unsure of the administration’s future choices.