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A new years wish to the President and Board of Athabasca University

A new years wish to the President and Board of Athabasca University (AU)

- freedom from involuntary membership in the Athabasca University Graduate Student Association (AUGSA) -


The AUGSA doesn't represent me, and I want the freedom to opt-out of this AU compulsory association (along with dismissal of the automatic $13/credit payment).


Opt-out freedom to disassociate from the Athabasca University Graduate Student Association.


Would I join the AUGSA if it was free?

No, it does not represent international students, and discriminates students outside Alberta. The association bylaws are geocentric to Edmonton, Alberta. The idea that a student has to physically be present or connect to the Alberta timezone in an entirely distance education institution exemplifies cognitive dissonance.

Does the AUGSA benefit students equally?

No, the association actively supports a winner-take-all approach in giving large awards to select students of the annual AUGSA conference, rather than equal awards for all presenters. Equality needs more than lip service.

Would I notice any difference if the AUGSA did not exist?

No, I was in graduate studies before the AUGSA existed and I have become more impoverished now that it is sanctioned by Athabasca University. I had freedom back in 2005-2007 that I do not have now, and it is costing me more now to get an education with the $13/credit tax.

Leadership not Inertia

I am not the only one to believe in freedom. Liam (Byrne, 2018) advocates freedom to disassociate from student unions. Liberty for all students, we are not in a totalitarian university... are we?

Athabasca University New Years Resolution Wish

For 2019, please liberate me from the Athabasca University Graduate Student Association now!


Thank you,


Steve Swettenham




Byrne, Liam. “Students’ Unions Don’t Represent All. We Should Be Able to Opt Out.” The University Times, July 25, 2018.


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