The recent announcement of future tuition hikes in the province of Quebec has put financial issues on the minds of many Quebec students. While it is unlikely that students can have any affect on the extent of the tuition hike, there is one area in which students can act to save themselves some money.
Currently, the Concordia Student Union and faculty associations are over-funded and bloated organizations which could use some downsizing. Concordia students with a full-time course load pay over $200 per year to student groups. By abandoning services and perks provided by the CSU and the faculty associations that are underused and not really necessary or relevant in an academic sense, we can save students money, and potentially offset some of the damage done by future tuition hikes. Only by demonstrating concern and responsibility with our own funding of our own organizations can we hope to influence the government of Quebec to act similarly when funding our universities.
Over the years, student government and student organizations have become increasingly large and expensive to fund. The blame for this rise in costs falls in part to student organizations. The fees we pay student groups have doubled since 2003. It is students and student organizations that advocate for and use the ever increasing number of services that are available at universities. It is students who vote for increased fee levies, and it is students that attend costly, non-academic related events.
If students want to keep university affordable, they should not only worry about tuition hikes, but should be thinking about the extent to which we fund our student organizations. If students are seriously worried about the cost of a university education, they would call on their representatives to institute the sort of changes in student government and organizations that are likely to make those groups less expensive to run.
Some changes that could be made to save students money are quite evident. For instance it seems quite reasonable that clubs and faculty associations should be able to support themselves financially, or at least contribute significantly to their own costs. Organizations such as those should be prepared to engage in fundraising and other such activities, and should no longer rely wholly on the student body to fund their activities.
Another huge waste of money at Concordia is the seemingly endless cycle of parties which are thrown. These parties, which usually employ the offer of free or subsidized alcohol to draw attendees, are most often not related in any way to anything remotely academic. While these events are most likely great opportunities to get drunk with your friends, they have no connection to any sort of academic activity, and as such do not belong in an academic institution. More importantly, it must be recognized that not only do these sort of events not belong at Concordia, but they, along with many other useless services and events, contribute to the ever increasing amount of money it takes to fund our student government and student organizations.
Essentially, students at Concordia need to make a choice. If we want to oppose the announced tuition hikes, we must demonstrate a certain amount of financial responsibility and frugality within our own organizations. We, and more specifically the CSU, have to be far more conservative when making decisions regarding which services, organizations, and events warrant funding, and which don’t. Students and those organizations must act responsibly and in their own best interests. If we continue to treat useless services, perks, and events as something that inherently accompanies a university education, we should not be surprised when the government has as little concern for our financial future as we seemingly do.