1000 Red Balloons Floating in the Hall Building
Campaign Against Tuition Hikes Begins on ConU Campus
One thousand helium-filled balloons were released in the lobby of the Hall Building on Sept. 28–each one affixed with an anti-tuition hike message.
The balloons were released as a joint effort by the Concordia Student Union and the Quebec Federation of University Students as a protest against a proposed tuition fee increase of $1,625, which would gradually be implemented in the next few years.
“[This demonstration was for] international students and students from out of province who will either have to sacrifice a year of study or go study somewhere else,” said Chad Walcott, VP External Affairs. “[Our message] to Jean Charest is that winter is coming.”
The CSU says each balloon represents 30 of the 30,000 students who will not be able to afford to attend post-secondary education in Quebec if tuition is increased.
“The bottom line here is that education is a right,” said Lex Gill, CSU President. “People have a right to be on this campus, to study, to learn and engage. [And] increases to tuition fees directly prevent that from happening.”
There is currently a petition circulating asking the senate and provost for academic amnesty on November 10––the scheduled day of action against tuition hikes in Quebec.
The release of the balloons by members of the CSU occurred just hours after a dramatic Board of Governors meeting which saw undergraduate representation on the body cut from four seats to just one.
Though the timing of both the Board meeting and the balloon release were unrelated, the events aren’t independent of each other, said Cameron Monagle, a CSU Board of Governors representative.
“It’s indicative of the fact that this is a larger issue. These are the people––this Board of Governors now robbed of student representation––who are going to be deciding whether to implement these tuition hikes,” he said. “When students are taken away from that table it removes that component of the dialogue completely.”
Gill stressed the importance of further action and increased student involvement against tuition hikes saying, quite simply, “failure is not an option.”