By Nassr Awada
We still need your help to stop tuition increases. Last year we needed your help to show the Board of Governors how important and pressing this issue is to you. They received that message. This year we need your help in sending this message to the province.
Why the change of focus you ask? Well, this year we worked very hard with administration and received some tangible results for students. With over 18 meetings on the issue since the beginning of August, the SU and Admin have worked out a level of understanding on the tuition issue this year.
Unfortunately tuition is still going up, and we know students need and deserve better. The good news is that it is the lowest increase since 90/91–5.15 per cent of the total amount. Furthermore, the administration is finally acknowledging affordability as an issue.
Last year we protested and received an 80 per cent of the maximum allowable tuition increase. It was successful to the extent that the Board rejected a 100 per cent increase. This year we negotiated, and did a little better with 65 per cent of the maximum. Next year, hopefully there won’t be a tuition increase at all.
Having spent a great deal of time checking university budget numbers, the SU felt that the University really did need the money a tuition increase represents. However, they are working on, with SU representatives as full participants, reviews of both budgeting practices and ancillary services.
So with the university willing to work with us this year and having a demonstrable financial need, the obvious object of focus becomes the provincial government. Why? Well to start with, Alberta is the only province in Western Canada that has not issued a tuition freeze or rollback. And with a $2 billion surplus they certainly can afford to take some action, particularly since funding has not been restored to 1994 levels and there are 3,000 more students here.
We can talk facts until we are blue in the face. Simply put, we deserve a higher quality, more affordable education. However, until we can get the voters of this province to understand this and realize it is in everyone’s best interest, we will be stuck with this problem.
Please get involved in some of the SU’s upcoming activities. Sign postcards at one of the many tables set up, pick-up some soup at the Soup Kitchen on the Feb. 2. Show up to the Board meeting on Feb. 4. Let your fellow students, the public and the government know you care. With your help we can effect change so please be on the look out for more up-coming events.