On Diversity

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As I mentioned throughout my platform, our university has become extremely unequal with more of a focus on cost rather than academic excellence. This can be seen in our enrollment process where students with money are heavily preferred over those who just meet the academic requirements.

In order to explain this, we must consider two students. One is a student who has a 70% average and just barely meets the academic requirements for entrance. This student is also able to afford tuition so they are admitted. The other student has an 80% average and meets the requirements. However, they cannot afford tuition, so they are unable to enroll. A common response to this problem is scholarships. However, they are unpredictable and only few are given out. Beyond this - bursaries are available domestic students. Yet, they must take out maximum loans before being eligible. Thereby going in debt in order to receive some extra funds.

I do not believe that this system is fair.

Some may respond to this criticism and not see it as that big of a problem. The university is able to gain more revenue and continue sustained operations. However, we must challenged this idea and consider the type of university we want. Because, if we continue down this path, then we will have an inequitable system that no longer thrives on academic excellence but rather on the size of one's wallet.

Asides from this economic diversity, we should also be striving for cultural diversity. This is so that all groups in our society are able to see university as possible and realistic. Unfortunately, certain demographics do not see university as a possibility due to its physical distance, academic requirements, or the cost barrier. I know this because I felt that as a Somali refugee. To me, university was simply out of reach.

Thus, we should actively engage with students from those communities to show how one can pursue an University of Alberta education. This is done through advocating on issues and policies that directly affect these students while also doing sustained outreach to disadvantaged high schools.