Volume 91, Issue 60

Thursday, January 15, 1998

round and round


Western to join protest

By Brendan Howe
Gazette Staff

A day of lobbying has passed and a day of rallying is on slate as Western prepares to do what it can to stop tuition fees from going through the roof.

At last night's University Students' Council meeting, members overwhelmingly supported the proposed motion to team-up with the Society of Graduate Students for a rally as part of the Canadian Federation of Students' National Day of Action on Jan. 28.

Planned to take place on the Concrete Beach, the two-hour rally hopes to bring Western students, faculty and other members of the London community together in a demonstration over educational issues.

The recent announcement by the provincial government to allow universities to raise tuition levels by up to 20 per cent over the next two years has spurred plans for protests across the province.

USC President Ryan Parks said it is important for Western students to come together to rally against tuition increases even though the National Day of Action is hosted by CFS schools across the country. "This is about Western students, nothing more, nothing less."

The USC is a member of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations which does not usually support or participate in CFS events. At Western, however, both provincial lobby groups have members, with SOGS associated with CFS.

SOGS VP-communications Kelly Barrowcliffe said the two organizations have some different views but they are trying to accomplish the same thing in the end. "A unified voice at Western would be really awesome."

Taking part in an event organized by CFS was one of the main concerns raised by councillors because the organization has a history of violent protests. Council members were also concerned about how well-attended a rally like this may be.

Both the USC and SOGS plan to mount extensive promotional campaigns to get student support for the rally.

VP-student issues Sam Castiglione was also trying to further the tuition lobbying effort on Tuesday when members of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance met with Minister of Education Dave Johnson. Castiglione said they were trying to give the minister more information on the situation at universities around the province.

Castiglione said the impression they got was the Ministry of Education did not yet know how they were going to implement the Dec. 15 tuition announcement because the wording used by the Ministry of Finance was quite vague.

He noted that yet to be decided is what degree of accountability a university will have to provide when raising their tuition and which graduate and professional programs will be deregulated.

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

Copyright The Gazette 1998