Volume 96, Issue 93
Wednesday, March 26, 2003

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Rally around a good cause

Western's Concrete Beach is usually a scene of considerable social action, but today the Beach will be home to a rare scene of Western social activism.

Today at 12:30 p.m., there will be a "Freeze Fees" rally, attended by, among others, the New Democratic Party and Liberal candidates for the riding of London North Centre in the upcoming Ontario provincial election.

Today's rally, organized by the Society of Graduate Students, the University Students' Council and the Public Interest Research Group, a Western based club, will reflect the trio's common goals of making post-secondary education affordable for students.

Students sleep in, drink and loiter everyday, all in a daily effort to miss class. The fact of the matter is, if you care about your tuition, you can find time to attend this rally. Is it really that important for you to see your fifth episode of Friends when you could be listening to informed speakers express their opinions on where the future of tuition in Ontario is headed?

The tentative plan for the rally is to eventually march from the Concrete Beach to the downtown office of Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Diane Cunningham. We'll save you the suspense; she won't be there. However, listening to what politicians and fellow students have to say on this very pertinent topic will ensure that attending this rally is a worthwhile experience.

Not all students are concerned with the constantly rising fees. Some students never see the tuition bills that are paid by their parents, scholarships or as part of company plans. However, for most, tuition is a constant struggle – the rapid rise of tuition in Ontario over the last eight years has put a university education out of the reach of some of its citizens. If you're not worried about increasing tuition, odds are the person sitting next to you is.

If you're graduating this year and are not concerned about what happens in the future, remember that this rally promotes a decrease in graduate school fees – an area which has seen its tuition level rise even faster than fees at the undergraduate level.

Since last year's rally, the provincial NDP and Liberal parties have heard the plight of students for lower tuition fees and incorporated their demands into their education platforms for the upcoming provincial election. Don't let anyone tell you that student voices can't make a difference. Demands that were voiced only one year ago are now a centrepiece of current political platforms.

The rally at Western today is intended to raise awareness about a very important issue. No matter how directly it affects you, chances are you stand to gain more by attending this rally than going about your daily routine.



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