Strike against high tuition fees

The DSU is planning a rally in Quebec at the Government Consultation of Students against the rise of tuition fees

By Elise Favis

The Dawson Student Union (DSU) is planning a trip to Quebec City by bus on Dec. 6, where students will rally against the university tuition hikes at the Government Consultation of Students.

The rally is associated with Education is a Right, a federal-run campaign that the DSU has been promoting from the beginning of the semester.

“Tuition fee increases are just not acceptable,” Amanda Arella, DSU Deputy Chairperson explained. “[Higher fees] are not the solution to funding our universities and would make education less accessible.”

As of last spring, the Quebec Government proposed that tuition fees should heighten to the national average. If such a proposition is enforced, university tuition will rise 250% higher than the current rates. This would ask students to pay $5,000 in fees, rather than the current $2,000 approximate fee. The issue has reached the attention of student bodies around Quebec, creating controversy and outrage amongst them.

“Ultimately, the reality is that students are often living under the poverty line. They have to start thinking about how they’re going to pay for school,” Arella said.

According to Statistics Canada (www.statcan.gc.ca), the median average yearly income in 2008 per household was $27,000.

“The majority of Dawson students are in pre-university programs,” Shannon Gittens, DSU Director of External Affairs said. “This will be an issue they will have to face and they need to be educated on what they’re going to step into.”

The DSU believe that with Dawson’s large population, they are at an advantage to make a huge difference, “If everyone makes an effort, it becomes cumulative,” Gittens continued. “The little things become something big. We’re 7,000 students, so we have an advantage that no other English school in Montreal has.”

The DSU has advertised and educated the issue by the means of tabling in the upper atrium, flyers, posters, giving out declaration forms, Facebook events, class talks, and live action events that students can look forward to in the upcoming weeks.

First semester Cin/Vid/Com student Jeremy Towner expressed his view, “Some people just can’t afford that kind of money to go to school.”

“Higher tuition fees are kind of necessary in the sense that universities can’t go on with such low income,” Julia Smith,  a third semester Social Science student said.

The DSU urges students to take part in the fight against tuition fees. To sign up for the rally, visit the DSU’s office on the second floor beside the student information kiosk. Students are asked to donate $5 to reserve their spot, and the money will be refunded to their respective owners after the event.

As well as the rally, an online petition has received nearly 12,000 signatures to date concerning the tuition hikes. The petition can be accessed on the Quebec National Assembly’s site at http://www.assnat.qc.ca.

“Students should be aware that post secondary education is their right and tuition fees are a barrier that stops them from accessing that right,” Arella concluded.

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