GSA Fight Tuition

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is an active voice for students angry with university administrators, business leaders on our university governance bodies and Government Ministers who believe the only method to fund public education is to raise tuition.

This is maddening in the Concordia context, as it was their decisions to acquire debt in the private bond market and to pursue an aggressive, albeit badly planned, fundraising campaign with operating budget funds that partially contributed to Concordia’s current financial position. Having backed us into this dismal situation, our president now calls for further tuition increases as the only solution to our problems, not the type of creativity or support we would expect from the leader of one of Canada’s “most innovative universities.”

University administrators, from President Woodsworth to the manager of student accounts, repeatedly state that the government is mandating they make these changes or that we are simply following “best” practices as set by other Quebec universities.

The blind acceptance of these institutional mantras obscures the need to ask questions such as, “How much do we pay annually to service our private bond debt?” or “What is the effect of these decisions on the quality of education students receive at Concordia?” President Woodsworth has staged “open question” events on Friday, when most students are not on-campus, that see university leaders, staff members and faculty avoid asking any tough questions of our leadership. Students are left as the sole critical voice, so I will be asking these questions and others at the Board of Governors meeting on Sept. 30 at 8 a.m.

What legacy will our generation of Concordia students and faculty leave? If President Woodsworth, Chancellor Peter Kruyt and Governor Richard Renaud have their way, we will be a party to increasing tuition, thus “saving” Quebec universities for a privileged few who can easily afford higher fees. What our leaders fail to acknowledge is that their choices will also ensure many students face large educational debts throughout their adult life.

We ask that all students join Free Education Montreal and the GSA by participating in our Holler for a Dollar campaign and sign our petition that is available at the GSA house at 2030 Mackay Street. Most importantly, let the Board of Governors and President Woodsworth know how angry you are by joining us on Sept. 30 at 7:30 a.m. in front of the GM building.

—Adnan Abueid,
GSA President

This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 07, published September 28, 2010.

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