Students battle against tuition increases
By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
The McMaster Students' Union has decided to issue a province-wide petition with the hope all Ontario students will fight the war against tuition increases by taking the issue into their own hands.
"This is not a McMaster endeavour it is an Ontario student endeavor," said Fayez Quereshy, associate VP-external for the MSU.
The petition, being mailed tomorrow to every affiliated and non-affiliated students' union across Ontario, will ask for support in initiatives regarding the Ontario Student Assistance Program and increased funding to institutions while freezing tuition for the next five years.
The final aim of this project is to present the petition to the Ontario Provincial Parliament in December during mini-budget time and force the government to respond, Quereshy said.
"We are doing this in a pro-active manner which allows the student voice to be heard before recommendations for the final budget are made."
Barry McCartan, executive director of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, said he was approached by the MSU for advice on the presentation of the report to parliament.
There are certain standard guidelines to be followed when submitting reports to Parliament and as McCartan had been involved in a similar aim this past spring, he said he was happy to help out.
McCartan had not seen the final version of the petition, but when told of the specific recommendations to be made, he said he wished there had been more dialogue between himself and the MSU.
The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations is also working on their own petition to be served to the federal government some time in the new year, said national director of CASA, Hoops Harrison.
"I personally think petitions are good for combining activism and the democratic process. It is constructive and effective," he said.
Harrison said CASA intends to send their petitions to non-member schools, adding there is no reason all the members can't work together. McMaster's Students' Union is affiliated with the Canadian Federation of Students.
University Students' Council President Ryan Parks, who is also the Ontario regional director for CASA, said he is unsure as to whether they will become involved in the petition by McMaster. "It's not that we don't support their aims but we have to look at our timelines and own initiatives with the CASA petition," he said.