U of G Prepares For National Day of Action
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
CSA Academic Commish Becky Wallace
“Universities across Canada will be going on strike to demand freezes in tuition and an increase in post-secondary funding,” says CSA Academic Commissioner Becky Wallace, one of the organizers of the Guelph campaign. Wallace says the day will be marked in Guelph by a performance in the University Centre by the band Half Dozen Down. Students will assemble to sign petitions and get organized before heading down with banners and placards in hand to local Liberal MPP Liz Sandal’s office.
“There will be marches and protests in every province as students show the government our numbers, our unity, and that we are willing to fight to defend a public education,” Wallace adds. The CSA is also organizing activities in the weeks leading up to the event in order to get students involved and interested in the issue.
This Wednesday, CSA executives will stage a mock funeral for “the death of affordable education.” The procession will start in the UC and move across campus during the noon hour. “We will carry a fake coffin, have a fake eulogy explaining our motives and even have fake grieving relatives,” says CSA Eexternal Commissioner John Coombs, who hopes the stunt will get students to pay attention to the issue, which is something the CSA execs feel all students should care about.
Wallace cites examples of student strikes in Quebec in 2004, which were an effective tool for bargaining with the government over lower tuition fees, as a goal for Ontario students to aspire to. She argues that tuition is slowly rising and that this will leave even more young graduates burdened by debt,
“Given that eliminating tuition fees would cost approximately $4 billion, and that the Conservative government spend $5 billion this year on personal and corporate tax cuts, there is no reason we shouldn’t be demanding this” she argues.
Wallace stresses that even if students are not comfortable with a public protest, there are still many forums in which they can help in the fight for accessible education.
“Students can stop by the UC to sign the petition and write a letter to government representatives. Even just talking about the importance of accessible education to your friends and family and exposing the unfairness and barriers that exist in our current education is important,” she explains.