Blocking traffic to protest tuition

Feel the need to vent some anger and show the Board of Governors what you think about tuition increases? Well then, you may want to take part in Operation: Barricade.

The event will block two intersections on or around campus for 15 minutes Fri., Dec. 5, the same day the tuition decision is made. The goal is to express students’ feelings regarding the proposed increase in costs.

Students’ Union External Commissioner Kevin Maloney and Events Commissioner Greg Clayton are organizing the event, and both agree the protest is not only necessary, but also shows students are not happy.

“The whole idea is that it’s a symbolic thing,” said Clayton. “Raising tuition blocks the access of students to school and so we, as students, will physically block access to the school.”

Maloney acknowledges students are not involved in decision making, and believes the event will get the point across to the public.

“Whatever way you look at it, post-secondary students are getting screwed,” said Maloney. “Federally and provincially, tuition is becoming an issue and I think it has to become a city issue too.”

However, SU Vice-President External Lauren Batiuk thinks the effects will be more negative than positive.

“I’ve had numerous Board of Governors members say to me that protesting has actually made them angry and has had them take a step back in the student movement and hearing what students have to say,” said Batiuk.

Her main concern is the intersection blockade may actually aggravate commuters, rather than promote sympathetic feelings. Batiuk is worried the image of “whiny” students the SU has worked so hard to change this year may be at risk.

“The most powerful thing we can do is educate people,” said Batiuk. “We need to look for long-term goals, rather than the short little stunts that get the media attention.”

Batiuk strongly advocates alternative measures, such as lobbying the individuals making the decision and engaging in constructive criticism with them. Maloney recognizes the method of getting the message across is an issue he and Batiuk don’t see eye to eye on.

“At the end of the day, the SU and the SLC is a democracy and if that’s what people want to do then that’s what’s going to happen,” said Maloney. “And there’s nothing anyone can do about that.”

Students will meet at 8:45 a.m. on Fri., Dec. 5 in MSC north courtyard.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.