Volume 91, Issue 57

Friday, January 9, 1998

on the rocks


Tuition: USC talks, others walk

By Brendan Howe
Gazette Staff

In the wake of the Ontario government's announcement to allow universities to increase tuition levels by 20 per cent over the next two years, student councils are planning a variety of protests. At Western however, the University Students' Council still does not have a plan of action.

USC President Ryan Parks said since the Board of Governors will not make their decision on whether to raise tuition levels for next year until April, council has quite a bit of time to plan their reaction.

"We have some ideas. They're in the preliminary stages right now," Parks said. "At this point I don't want to release details because it will compromise the effectiveness of our plans."

However, VP-student issues Sam Castiglione said the USC does not have any plans yet on what they will do to try to stop Western's Board of Governors from raising tuition levels. He added he wants to get a feel of what other universities are doing before they decide.

To do anything with regard to tuition right now will not do anything for us, Castiglione said. With the help of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, which the USC is a member of, he plans to lobby the provincial government first.

Castiglione has an OUSA meeting on Monday and a meeting with Education Minister Dave Johnson on Tuesday. He plans to discuss tuition issues at both meetings.

Meanwhile, the Ryerson Students' Administrative Council is currently planning several forms of protests. Since September they have secured over 5,000 signatures for a petition to present to the Ryerson Board of Governors at a meeting on Jan. 26.

"We want Ryerson to be the leader and not take that 10 per cent," said RYESAC President Angelo DeLuca

He will also be putting a motion forward at the next Board meeting to get the finance committee to reject the 10 per cent increase for next year in their budget.

RYESAC is also participating in the national day of action in protest of the tuition hike on Jan. 28, organized by the Canadian Federation of Students, as well as meeting with their administration to discuss tuition issues.

Parks said he has set up a meeting with members of Western's administration and that council will decide next Wednesday if they will participate in the national day of action. He added the fact it is a CFS-organized event will play a part in council's decision as the USC is not a member of CFS.

The Queen's Alma Mater Society is bringing a motion forward to their Senate to freeze tuition. President Maynard Plant said they have already launched an information campaign which will lead up to the Jan. 30 Senate meeting.

He added although they are not members of CFS they are participating in the national day of action. "There's an issue of solidarity here that we want to honour."

Parks admitted he was surprised by the government's announcement. As he did not think they would allow universities to raise tuition as much as 20 per cent.

Tuition Stats

– This year an undergraduate social science student paid $3,217* in tuition

– If Western takes full advantage of the government announcement that student will be paying $3,893* in the 1999/2000 year

– Last year Western collected $71.6 million in tuition, in 1992/93 it was 49.8 million

– The average student debt will soon reach $25,000

– Some graduate and professional programs will have no tuition limits

* Base tuition fees only, supplementary and activity fees not included

To Contact The News Department: gaznews@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998