USC may protest
By Brendan Howe
Students across the province are gearing-up for tuition protests and the same could be happening at Western if the University Students' Council passes a motion being put forward at tonight's meeting.
The council's Board of Directors has decided to recommend the USC endorse and participate in a rally with the Society of Graduate Students on the Concrete Beach Jan. 28 to protest rising tuition levels and student debt, said USC President Ryan Parks.
The protest would be part of the National Day of Action organized by the Canadian Federation of Students, an organization which SOGS is a member of but the USC is not. The USC is a member of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, the rival student lobby group of CFS.
"We're all members of Western and we're setting our differences aside," Parks said.
He explained the USC external affairs committee met Jan. 8 and decided to recommend that council not support the day of action. After VP-student issues Sam Castiglione met with SOGS on Saturday, the USC Board of Directors decided participating in the event would be beneficial.
"Because we've had our questions answered, we feel we have a higher comfort level with participating," Parks said. The Board was originally worried that education may not be the focus of the protest and had concerns about a close affiliation with CFS as well as the issue of student safety, he added.
With the event taking place on campus, the USC can provide Events Staff to ensure safety and Parks said he has been assured by SOGS the event will focus on Western students.
Social Science councillor Peter Ash said he has yet to make his decision on the matter but has some reservations. "My only concern about it is I don't really necessarily approve of some of the methods CFS employs."
He added he is worried about lending support to an organization which does not have a very good history.
The McMaster Students' Union is still unsure about participating in the day of action but plans to have its members vote on it later this week, said President Greg Kaufman.
Sarah Vance, spokesperson for the Central Students' Association at Guelph, said they plan to participate as well, by joining Ryerson, York and the University of Toronto for a march through downtown Toronto. All four of those schools have councils which are CFS members.