October 22, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 29  

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UVic students plan tuition boycott

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

When paying tuition really gets to you, just stop paying - that's what they're doing out West.

The University of Victoria Students' Society is planning a tuition boycott, said Joanna Groves, director of finance for the UVSS and chair of the committee planning the boycott.

According to Groves, the decision to begin planning the boycott came after a positive response from a similar tuition boycott held at Simon Fraser University and to provide an outlet for students to protest against rising tuition. "All the details haven't been worked out; its still in the planning stages," she added.

Over the last year, tuition fees at UVic have risen 30 per cent, Groves said, adding the university's Board of Governors decide on matters pertaining to tuition fees and they are appointed by the provincial government.

"The biggest goal we have is that the provincial and federal governments will listen to students - although that's a pretty big goal," Groves noted.

The tuition boycott which occurred at SFU starved the university of its operating budget, said Geordi Dent, member services officer for the Simon Fraser Student Society, adding the university senate passed a bylaw about the two per cent/month penalty for late tuition on student bursaries. "The money did not even go back to the university," he noted.

Dent pointed out approximately 1,400 students signed up with the SFSS for the boycott. "I can tell you a lot more did [the boycott]," he added, noting there may have been as many as 3,000 students involved.

"For the first time the university president said if the province funds the university, tuition will not be raised," Dent explained, noting the boycott also forced SFU to award more bursaries and the resulting media coverage put pressure on the provincial government to change its tuition policies.

Dent said he hopes there will be similar boycotts in the future involving thousands of students from universities and colleges to press for a change in tuition policy.

"We've never thought of doing this sort of thing," stated University Students' Council President Paul Yeoman, adding the circumstances are different in Ontario than in British Columbia. "These tactics aren't necessary if we're looking at good news stories in Ontario," he said.




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