U of T ca'task'rophie
By Mark Brown
Students at the University of Toronto are upset about the administration's most recent attempt to discuss concerns about tuition and student aid.
A Task Force on Tuition and Student Financial Support was set up last week at the school which would hear students concerns regarding better ways to distribute funds to assist students.
Adel Sedra, U of T vice-president and provost, said they believed it was a good idea to look into the criteria for differential tuition and to see if it affected accessibility.
"On the financial side we wanted to have policies to ensure the best deployment of the school's financial resources built up through a number of programs," he said.
But Chris Ramsaroop, an executive member of the Arts and Science Student Union, said he believes the task force could justify the deregulation of tuition and decreases by increasing support services which are based on merit rather than financial need.
"The committee is made up of people who don't understand what students go through," he said. "Members of the committee have not been student-friendly and from their past record I expect the worst from these people."
Charlotte Reeve, a field worker for the U of T Graduate Students' Union, said she was concerned with the lack of student representation. "The committee seems to be top heavy with people who do not deal with the students, but the GSU is adopting a wait-and-see attitude," she said.
Sedra agreed the university was thinking about creating two separate task forces but there was a great deal of overlap between the two. "It would have been a wasted effort," he said, adding he disagrees with Ramsaroop that student concerns would not be heard.
The task force will form some sub-groups to deal with specific issues that other groups such as the student governing bodies can be heard, Sedra said.
The task force has a balance of different interests, consisting of five students, five faculty members and five outside members of the university community such as alumni, he said.
Western's VP-academic Greg Moran said he is not sure what a task force on these two issues would accomplish. "What we have is a president who is trying to do what he can federally and provincially."
The students' position is quite clear, said Moran, adding the administration would like to consult the students on these issues once the provincial government gives the school a better understanding of the tuition base.