Volume 91, Issue 20

Wednesday, October 1, 1997



Song and dance

The best things in life are free
The poor Canadian Federation of Students. Once a credible organization of which Western's University Students' Council was formerly a member, the federation has resorted to cutting its lip in hopes someone will kiss it.

This week CFS announced that it is in favour of abolishing tuition for university students. This was not a proposal for zero increases, an initiative most student groups have been fighting for.

Zero tuition. The idea makes zero sense.

But you can give them to the birds and bees
The idea is simply not a viable option. As it is right now, universities are suffering cutbacks, class sizes are being increased to their capacities and facilities are falling apart. Corporate support is already being sought to help finance the problems universities are dealing with.

How are schools supposed to make up for the $4 billion that would be lost if tuition was abolished when they can't cover the cost of education effectively now? And if the money shortage problem is put in the government's hands, how high are Canadian taxes going to skyrocket?

Members of CFS have admitted that the announcement was made to gain attention to the student loan crisis. But what kind of attention is the organization really getting and at what expense? The loan crisis is overshadowed by the overwhelming idea of zero tuition. Using a flash in the pan style of commentary, the federation may have attracted some immediate media interest in the subject but it will not be taken seriously by the government, the ultimate decision makers.

I want money, that's what I want
Why not ask the government to give people who do not go to university their free tuition to spend as they like on other things? If a lobby group is proposing unrealistic goals they will surely begin to lose credibility.

Schools such as McMaster, Carleton, Trent, Guelph, York and others are paying CFS to voice their concerns. But if the reputation of the group is soiled, their calls will go unheeded in national affairs.

Students need an effective loan program to deal with tuition today. Pie in the sky notions of free schooling may be OK for Publisher's Clearing House gimmicks but the students who belong to CFS member schools deserve and pay for more effective leadership strategies.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazed@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997