re: Tuition increases improve access (Sept. 29)
What dismay and frustration I felt reading the students’ own paper’s editorial calling for an increase in tuition fees. And what a combination of fantasy and far-fetched twists that argument was. What was the point, for example, of comparing student debt in Canada and at Harvard? Harvard students are wealthy to begin with, which most likely explains why they do not need to go into debt. I’d like to take a walk around its campus and see how many blacks or Hispanics from inner cities I can find.
If tuition fees go up, how would that make it any easier for poor students to pay? Scholarships can only help but a minuscule fraction of the students who would otherwise not be able to afford a post-secondary education.
There is as much a financial reason as there is an ideological one for the constant hike in the price of education. On the one hand we have complains about the sad straits of finances, and on the other lavish spending on unnecessary upgrades of equipment, expensive software and other sorts of non-essentials; all as if money was actually not a concern. Finally, this results in a pseudo-defeatist attitude that says: “there is no choice but to make students pay more”.
Eventually, what the issue of tuition fees and accessibility boils down to may not necessarily be the number of enrollment, or the welfare of the students enrolled, but who those students are and how equal the opportunities for post-secondary education will be to every segment of society, every age group, working and or family status.
Great editorial on tuition fee increases, nice to hear a view that isn’t “stop hikes!”
re: Students want out of CFS (Sept. 22)
The Canadian Federation of Students has been out of touch with the student movement for decades now. This is epitomized by the fact that the current Chairperson of the organization is denying that petitions are currently underway! The student movement in Canada is on the cusp of shaking itself free of the CFS, and this is a great thing.
The CFS is a malignant tumour on the Canadian student movement. It has tried for years to claim that it is the student movement and that it speaks for students. This is patently false. This is what the CFS is: a group of bureaucrats in Ottawa who graduated from school years ago, and who have no idea of what contemporary issues in the student movement are.
So they dictate the issues they think we should believe in (like Israeli-Palestinian crap, like supporting the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, etc), which are often great, but not truly student issues (just wider social justice issues). But that’s not what’s problematic: the problem is that they are out of touch with students. They have no idea what is stirring in the student movement at any given time, since they are NOT STUDENTS!
So when a compelling case is stirring throughout the Canadian student movement, from coast to coast, they deny it. Case in point. I was hesitant to sign the petition and declare my support overtly, even though I felt this way. But the fact that they have the audacity to sit on their rich asses in nice Ottawa houses and tell us that there is no petition underway makes me angry enough to write this now.
re: re: Students want out of CFS (Sept. 29)
The idealism put forth by Gregory Johannson last week in his counter-argument to the prevailing belief in the country regarding the CFS (namely, that we should leave the CFS, and that despite repeated attempts to reform the organization, it has proven itself unable to progress and improve its structure and practices) is nice to hear, but not practical.
I consider myself an idealist. I have a disproportionately great amount of hope regarding the future; I believe that where there is a will, there is a way – in most cases. However in the case of the CFS, individuals and organizations (including myriad student unions) have sought to improve the democratic accountability, financial management, and campaign priorities of the organization for a good decade now. However, in each case it has failed miserably.
The CFS has proven itself highly resistant to change. It has been running the same campaigns for over two decades now (including to ‘lower tuition’); rather than becoming more democratic, it has made it harder for student unions to decide for themselves. The fact that the national branch of the CFS is denying that a petition drive is currently underway across the country shows how out of touch they are with students.
Thus, although I do commend the hope that Mr. Johannson seeks to inspire, I do not believe it is fitting in this situation. We must drop the CFS now, since any alternative has proven itself to be impossible.