November 10: Tuition Day

Concordia Student Union Launches Tuition Campaign

  • Photo Sam Slotnick

Don’t like the idea of paying even more for your already-expensive post-secondary education? Then mark your calendars for Nov. 10, where a massive, province-wide mobilization of students against tuition increases is set to take place in Montreal.

Recently announced by Quebec’s largest student lobby group, the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec, thousands of students are expected to turn up and show the provincial government their disapproval.

In conjunction, the Concordia Student Union officially kicked off their own campaign against tuition hikes on Aug. 21, and CSU VP External Chad Walcott spoke with The Link about the union’s plans moving forward towards November.
“Our goal is to get as much information out as possible, so students can make an informed decision with regards to demonstrating and the possibility of striking to fight the increased tuition—which is coming,” he said.

Walcott explained he spent most of his summer finding solid facts about the impending increases to prepare for “classroom speeches, flyering, and just making students aware of the issues and consequences of these tuition increases, and aware of their rights.”

Last March, the Quebec government, under the leadership of Liberal Premier Jean Charest, announced that tuition fees are set to increase $325 a year for five years beginning in 2012. With an anticipated total increase of nearly 75 per cent, students can expect schooling to cost an extra $1,625 annually by the end of the five-year period.

$2,220 is what a Quebec post secondary student currently pays in fees.

$3,800 what a Quebec post secondary student will pay in 2016-2017.

The CSU, in collaboration with McGill University and the FEUQ are hopeful that increased student presence might put pressure on the government, curb the increases and help find solutions to what many have called a funding crisis. Walcott noted that unyielding student activism in Quebec has benefitted of students historically, citing student strikes in the early ‘90s and ‘00s.

“It’s not impossible,” said Walcott. “If we show the government that this matters to us, and that we’ll peacefully go into the street in great numbers, and that we do care—and we will vote, and [Charest] will lose [the next provincial election]—the government will start listening.”

Walcott stressed that the focus for the CSU is getting students all over Quebec to work together, and that Concordia will be taking a central role in the student movement. “We have to be front and centre in the mobilization and organization in this struggle,” he said. “This is going to be a
historic year […] students can make history, and that’s a huge deal.”

This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 32, Issue 01, published August 30, 2011.

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