USC won't support CFS days of action protests
By Mark Brown
The Canadian Federation of Students is gearing up for its days of action week to draw attention to a number of student concerns, but it will receive only weak attention from Western.
Elizabeth Carlyle, president of the Canadian Federation of Students, said the goal of this year's events is restore transfer payments back to 1993 levels and ensure accessibility to post secondary education by calling on the federal government to dedicate funds towards education.
"The cuts have been too deep and they have gone on too long," Carlyle said.
This week's events will center on rallies, speakers and sit-ins across Canada, Carlyle said. The big day will be in Montreal today, followed by Toronto tomorrow and ending in Ottawa on Saturday, she added.
Kelly Barrowcliffe, president of the Western's Society of Graduate Students, said she was disappointed in the USC's lack of support for the CFS events this week, adding she was not sure if council's reasons for not supporting these events were genuine, referring to the lawsuit launched by the USC against the CFS.
SOGS had planned to hold a rally at Western but it fell through because the USC would not devote any resources to the event, Barrowcliffe said.
"I am very disappointed," she said. She added SOGS believes students have to be made more aware of the issues which will effect them.
Nick Iozzo, VP-education for Western's University Students' Council, explained the main reason Western is not participating in this week's events is because Western is not a member of CFS and members of the USC will be in Waterloo this weekend to attend a general meeting of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Association.
He added the USC does not always agree with the tactics used by CFS, noting incidents which occurred last year in Toronto.
"I don't think the type of tactics that are used is a question," Carlyle said.
Robert Fleming, president of Simon Fraser University Students' Society, agreed tactics are not the issue. Sit-ins are just one type of effective tactic used by CFS, unlike those used by the Canadian Alliance of Students' Associations, he said.
"I think CASA is an ineffective and worthless organization because you never see them, they never get tens of thousands of students out to support their cause," Fleming said.
"Rallies fail when they are not well organized, but when you have a large number of students representing a large degree of interest, it is something you are not going to ignore."
Fleming attributes successful rallies to influencing British Columbia to freeze its tuition for the last three years.
Although things did not go as planned for SOGS this week, they have already begun preparing for next year. Barrowcliffe explained the traditional rallies take place in January and February, adding SOGS will be holding an event on campus.