Court to hear building dispute
A court date has been set to hear an injunction application from the University of Calgary Students’ Union, which hopes to prevent the University of Calgary from taking over the management of MacEwan Hall, a student centre managed by the union.
The injunction hearing, which will take place on May 5 at 2 p.m. at the Court of Queen’s Bench, is the latest development in a dispute between the two parties over the operations and ownership of Mac Hall that has been ongoing for more than two years.
“I think it’ s pretty shameful that the university is forcing us to go to court especially in light that it’s the 50th anniversary of the university,” said Levi Nilson, president of the students’ union.
Negotiations between the two groups came to a halt in September, when the union threatened to take legal action against the University.
In December, both sides agreed to mediation, which put all legal proceedings on hold, but three months of mediation between the parties ended in mid-April without a resolution.
According to the university, the current agreement related to the use of the building refers to the university as the owner and was signed by both parties on Dec. 9, 1999.
But the student union claims it has documentary evidence dating back to the 1960s that proves students have a 55 per cent stake in the ownership of Mac Hall, which generates millions in revenue for the SU from tenants.
“If the university assumes control of the management of Mac Hall and the SU’s revenues generated by the management of Mac Hall, we know students will feel the negative impacts to important SU services, programs and advocacy,” said Nilson in a news release issued Monday.
The university responded in a statement that the news release was inaccurate and that Mac Hall will continue to run as usual if the university takes over, that it “will not ‘confiscate’ SU revenues,” and that the union “will continue to run all of the businesses it owns and operates.”
Though the university says it will work with the union to support student programs and services with the proceeds from third-party tenants in the building, Nilson said the loss of control over leases with third-party tenants will result in a “significant financial hit” to the union’s budget.