Volume 95, Issue 71

Thursday, February 7, 2002

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Day of Action protests sweep the country

London protest targets MPP's office

Candidates seek crucial political geek vote

Controversial speaker visits Huron

SSSC cash problem solved?

London protest targets MPP's office

By Erin Conway-Smith
Gazette Staff

Mr. Freeze, a six-foot, papier-mache idol, led the way for several hundred Western students and faculty who marched downtown to the offices of Dianne Cunningham, the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, in support of freezing tuition for post-secondary education yesterday.

Cunningham was at Queen's Park in Toronto where protests also took place as part of the national Day of Action organized by the Canadian Federation of Students.

Western faculty were in attendance at a rally held on the Concrete Beach prior to the march to show support for students protesting the underfunding of universities by the provincial government.

"It's not just about an individual's right to education it's about the systemic mismanagement of post-secondary education," said Dan Jorgenson, president of the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association.

"As someone who graduated with massive debt, I'm in full solidarity," said Nick Dyer-Witheford, a media, information and technoculture professor.

The protest outside Cunningham's office was also attended by students from Fanshawe College, local high schools, union members and supporters from the London community.

Central High School teacher Sean Mattys said he graduated from university recently with three degrees and $60,000 worth of debt, requiring him to work two jobs in order to pay it off.

Students from Central said they fear they will not being able to attend university or college due to financial concerns.

"I'd like to know how much [Cunningham] paid for university," said Nathan Elias, a grade 10 student.

Jesse Greener, an event organizer and VP-external for the Society of Graduate Students, said he was "ecstatic" about the turnout to the protest.

"I'm encouraged for the future. I think what happened here is the start of something on the Western campus," he said.

Police were on-hand throughout the day but did not have to intervene at anytime, said Staff Sgt. Brad Carrothers for the London Police Department.

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