>They’ll Get a Brain Freeze before a Tuition Freeze

>Ug protesters. That’s all I can say when I read this story. When will students realize that yelling protest slogans, tacking signs on awnings and handing MPP’s report cards with F’s for accessibility and A’s for student debt doesn’t do anything in the long term? It gets momentary attention, but nothing happens. I may have to interject mid-story just to make fun of them. Off we go.

With lips turned blue from the cold and flushed pink faces, students chanted “What do we want? Tuition fee freeze! When do we want it? Now!” while marching down Gordon Street yesterday.

They waved burgundy signs reading “Reduce tuition fees.”

Minutes earlier, about 150 University of Guelph students gathered at the University Centre to demonstrate as part of a National Day of Student Action, a nationwide protest involving thousands of students.

Several of the Guelph students grabbed coffee before they headed out to brave the cold, which hovered around -21 C with the wind chill.

The bitter winds had many returning to the warmth of the university building.

You really want those tuition freezes, eh? If you were serious, you would have worn your woolies.

Those who did make it downtown demonstrated outside MP Brenda Chamberlain’s office. They were told by one of Chamberlain’s staff that tuition isn’t a federal issue.

Nice research job, fellas. Really shows you know the issue.

Students continued to chant outside her office for at least 30 minutes before they tacked a large sign that read “Reduce tuition fees” to the building’s awning and moved on to Liberal MPP Liz Sandal’s office.

Way to waste your time and theirs.

Sandals greeted the students outside her office and responded to their concerns by pointing out that the provincial Liberal government has put in place a five-year plan to invest $6.2 billion in post-secondary education to open up more spots for students and to provide grants to 120,000 students.

As a result, more students are opting to enter college and university, she said.

“We don’t even have the resources,” screamed student leader Becky Wallace. “Students are dropping out. It’s not fair.”

Sandals replied that there have always been students who have struggled to pay tuition.

“That’s such a cop-out,” a student yelled from the crowd.

Sandals added the Liberals have made more student grants available and increased financial assistance.

But the students wouldn’t hear it, and handed the MPP a report card with an “F” for accessibility and funding, and an “A” for student debt.

Way to make an impact. If you want to be heard, at least return the favour! Otherwise, you’ll get nowhere and you might as well piss into the wind.

Erika Wieler, 18, a first-year U of G student, said her tuition jumped this fall when a freeze was lifted.

She said she only has three-quarters of her savings left, which she’s been putting away for university since she was 11.

“Now, I’m going to have to make as much money that I made in seven years in one year.”

Yep, tuition sucks.

The average tuition for a Canadian university student in 2006-07 was $4,347, up 3.2 per cent from the previous year and almost triple the average of $1,464 in 1990-1991. Quebec students were at the bottom end of the scale, paying an average of $1,916, while Nova Scotia students paid the most — $6,571.

The Canadian Federation of Students estimates the country’s more than one million post-secondary students have debts totaling $20 billion, and the amount grows $1.5 million each day.

Chris Bentley, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, pointed out the Liberals froze tuition early in their term. The freeze was lifted last fall. Tuition then rose as much as five per cent for undergraduates and as much as eight per cent for those in specialized programs.

The freeze couldn’t be maintained, Bentley said.

“We would all like the cost of what we do to remain the same,” he said. “What was good enough when I went to university is not good enough today. We need to keep up with the times.”

When will people realize that if they want to effect change, they need to actually do some, well, long-term work. Yelling at MPP’s just makes you look like a crackpot. Ug. Yeah tuitions are high. What needs to get cut is the administrative waste. If presidents and chancelors weren’t making six-figure salaries, maybe we could put the money where it belonged. But all this screaming and yelling is such a waste of energy, and it makes them look stupid. It’s so very sad.

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