Council backs tuition rally
By Sabrina Carinci
Tuition increases, changes to student funding and the creation of student programs have each amounted to one thing Canadian university and college students are fed up and willing to fight.
In a University Students' Council meeting Wednesday, student representatives unanimously voted to endorse a peaceful rally in Waterloo.
The rally, set to take place Oct. 16, will precede a weekend-long general meeting of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance and its member schools. It will address the funding of post secondary education, affordability, accessibility as well as student-aid funding.
As a means of endorsing the rally, the University Students' Council will provide buses both to and from Waterloo for those students interested in participating.
According to Nick Iozzo, VP-education for the USC, the importance of the rally stems from the fact students often come across as being unconcerned regarding various political issues. "We want to put education at the forefront it's a great way to use the media to pay attention," he said. "This is a practical but civil means for students to voice their concerns."
October's OUSA rally takes place on the same day as the Canadian Federation of Students National Day of Action. Dave Small, VP-finance for the USC said this was a coincidence and the two rallies should not be confused with each other.
The CFS is mostly known for their in-your-face tactics, Small said. "I haven't seen CFS get anything except TV coverage."
The OUSA rally taking place in Waterloo, however, is strictly being referred to as a peaceful one.
Daniele Gauvin, spokesperson for the Ministry of Education and Training would not comment on the effects of student rallies, however she said the government has done a lot to help Ontario colleges and universities to support their students.
Support from the Ministry includes starting a Student Opportunity Trust Fund in which the government matched dollar-for-dollar what the colleges and universities raised. "This was a one-time initiative to raise a lot of money and it was very effective," she said.
According to Gauvin, this trust fund will help 185,000 students over a period of 10 years.
The Ministry has also spent $306 million this year on Ontario Student Opportunity Grants, which is a type of loan forgiveness program. "This will help approximately 92,000 students," Gauvin said.