Volume 95, Issue 73

Tuesday, February 12, 2002
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Swimming in a pool of roommate love

Gotta love all them pseudo-intellectuals

Thawing out the tuition freeze

Thawing out the tuition freeze

By Tait Simpson
Opinions Intern

Tuition, the ever-present hangover that surrounds higher education, seems to have become this year's hot topic.

Although tuition has been a subject of endless debate across campuses since post-secondary education began, talk has reached a deafening roar this month.

Even those students who don't consider themselves politically active and run for cover at the sight of a University Students' Council president or presidential candidate can't help but notice that tuition rates are on the rise.

While the USC presidential forum in the atrium was capable of drawing a few dozen onlookers, last Wednesday's march to freeze tuition drew a few hundred protesters – some of whom were even willing to spend their whole afternoon trying to get their point across.

Whether it's a call for a tuition freeze from the provincial Conservatives or the reaction to the jaw-dropping tuition rates being proposed for University of Toronto and Queen's law schools, it is clear the future of tuition is nearing a crossroads.

Lost in the debate and press coverage are the comments made by New Democratic Party members of the provincial legislature. Their views provide a stark contrast to all other proposal-free tuition diatribes.

Not a freeze or a reduction on tuition, but free tuition. "Ontario should focus on providing free tuition within 10 years for all university and college programs," said MPPs Peter Kormos (NDP–Niagara Centre) and Shelly Martel (NDP–Nickle Belt).

The two brave MPPs propose raising taxes by $600 a year in order to provide free tuition to all students, using Cuba and Ireland as examples where free tuition already exists.

The other parts of the Cuban system usually aren't too popular, but Ireland sounds fine to me. While, the Ontario NDP governments of yesteryear don't have a great record when it comes to balancing the books, here they provide a refreshing alternative to watching students fight just to have the increases in their tuition slow down so their bank accounts can catch up.

If students are prepared to listen to administrators tell them the deregulation of tuition is only a matter of time, then maybe we ought to also listen to those who think they can take tuition rates in the other direction.

Any official party in Ontario that thinks they can slowly reduce tuition until it is free should be getting more attention than is given to this current suggestion by the two NDP MPPs.

In the ongoing fight over tuition, perhaps now is the time in this long and on-going fight to give the other side a chance to be heard because hey – nobody hates free stuff.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002