Carleton kids get (some of) their way
By Joshua Budd
Students and administration at Carleton University reached an agreement on Feb. 21, ending the three-day occupation of the president's office by students.
Jeff Jakobsen, VP-academic for the Carleton University Students' Association, said the administration did not consent to the students' demand for a freeze on tuition but were willing to accept several other demands.
Among concessions offered to students were an agreement to eliminate a $48 student user fee for a university instructional television program and a commitment not to impose a $450-$750 universal technology fee on students next year.
Also, the administration granted students a fourth seat on the Board of Governors which Jakobsen said will give students a greater say when the board begins discussing the tuition increase in April.
Carleton president Richard Van Loon said a review committee exists at Carleton which has been examining university governance, a committee whose activity will be increased as a result of the protest. "Sometimes things need to be kicked once and a while so we kicked them."
Van Loon said concerns such as the length of time a student can sit on Senate and Board of Governors will be addressed.
It would be better if students could serve on the university bodies for two or three years instead of the current one-year term, Van Loon added.
Jakobsen said he was satisfied with the final resolution but added the matter is not closed, as students are planning future demonstrations on campus. "We set a precedent where this level of civil disobedience can have positive results," Jakobsen said.
Van Loon said the students and administration will send a letter in the next few days to Minister of Education and Training, John Snobelen, outlining the need for a raise in the level of government funding to Ontario universities to at least the national average.
If grants were raised, the university would not have to raise tuition fees for about three years afterwards because they could budget around it, Van Loon said.
Brad Lavigne, president of the Canadian Federation of Students, of which Carleton is a member, said the sit-ins were just the beginning of a broader campaign CFS is organizing to freeze tuition. He said the sit-ins are a result of the university administrative system not working.
Lavigne said he was satisfied with the concessions agreed to by the students and faculty at Carleton but added the tuition increase is not necessary. "[The university] must send a signal to the government saying tuition is too high and we are not going to be a party to it," Lavigne said.