Volume 94, Issue 103

Wednesday, April 4, 2001


Med students rally against hight tuition

USC applauds students and profs

CHRW gets a national nod for excellence

Downtown surveillance cameras set to be on the lookout this summer

Transit strike hits Victoria

Alberta students join fight for foothills


Med students rally against hight tuition

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

Vast increases in tuition levels are making Western's medical school a place only accessible to the rich, claims Western's Medical Education Task Force on Tuition and Accessibility.

Yesterday, at a press conference in the Richmond Street Lounge of the St. Joseph's Health Centre, METTA released data it believes shows evidence of a dramatic change in the demographics of medical school students since the program was deregulated in 1997.

Danielle Martin, a second-year Western medical student and the Ontario regional representative of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students, said tuition fees for first-year medical students have risen from $4,844 to $14,000 since deregulation.

"Medical school has become a place for only the rich," she said.

Martin said the task force has collected confidential and anonymous data from Western medical classes, which reveal data showing the average income of medical students' family households has been increasing.

METTA is presenting a motion to the Western Senate on Apr. 20 which proposes an alternate tuition plan to universities.

The METTA Senate motion will asks for the tuition fees of all medical students, including those in first-year, to be levelled off at $11,000. She said METTA perceives the Senate motion as a compromise. "We'll take a hit and you take it," she said, of Western's administration.

"The proposal the students have made would result in a lot less revenue," said Greg Moran, Western's VP-academic, adding provincial cutbacks in university operation funding have forced the university to raise tuition in order to maintain top quality education to its students.

Martin said the university has a responsibility to provide accessibility to its professional programs. "It's about whose coming in the front door and who has access to the system to begin with."

John Gillis, a recent graduate of Western's medical school and a family medicine resident in the rural program at Southeast Middlesex Health Centre, said he thinks the problem is not debt, but accessibility. "There is a fundamental belief that doctors should be the best and brightest of the population, not the best and brightest at the top 10 per cent of the population," he said.

There is huge crisis in medical services for rural and under-serviced areas Ontario, Gillis said. "Students are most likely to return to the area they're from to practice," he said.

Joan Dafoe, a second-year medical student at Western, said if she had faced $14,000 for tuition in her first-year, it may have deterred her from entering the field. "It turns it into a financial decision instead of a career decision," she said.

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