Door shut on Trent student protest
By Kevin Gale
An unsuccessful attempt to persuade the administration to reconsider raising tuition at Trent University has left a student leader feeling left out of the picture.
On March 21, Matt Gallinger, president of the Trent Central Students' Association, presented the school's Board of Governors with a shovel and an empty chair to signify student discontent with the university' opting to raise tuition 10 per cent for next year.
Gallinger said he also incorporated a successful March 20 student referendum calling for the administration not to raise tuition, which he hopes the Board will commit to when it finalizes the budget next month.
"I have a mixed feeling about it," Gallinger said. "It was well-received but when it came time to talk about the issues we were kicked out."
Gallinger said immediately after the presentation, the Board went into closed session. "We made the presentation, there were no questions and we left."
The meeting itself was a special meeting to talk an about external review of the administrative practices during the faculty strike last November not the tuition increase, said Jalynn Bennett, chair of Trent's Board of Governors.
Bennett said the next scheduled Board meeting would have been too late to hear student concerns, so the Board adjusted the agenda to include the presentation. "The Board listened carefully but could not make a commitment to the referendum," she said, adding the school needs the money to make up for provincial government cutbacks in the past few years.
However, when the budget is finalized in April, the Board will take the result into consideration and has already raised $4 million for student aid for the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund, Bennett said.
Gallinger said he is making some progress with the school's senate budget committee and will continue to use that avenue to get either no tuition or a smaller tuition increase next year.