The Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale etudiante listed its demands on Thursday as the student movement against tuition hikes heads into May.
The student group announced that tuition fees should remain frozen and that the money to fund post-secondary institutions can be found elsewhere without burdening taxpayers.
A four-point plan was proposed as an alternative to Premier Jean Charest and Education Minister Line Beauchamp’s offer to extend the increase over seven years instead of five which some student leaders have called “insulting.”
The plan calls for several changes in university governance, including asking that universities to reallocate existing funding. In their presentation, CLASSE representatives said that 26.2 per cent of university funds goes toward research and that $142 million could be spent on improving teaching instead.
CLASSE demanded that university advertising budgets be cut, saving an estimated $18 million a year, and called for a moratorium on the construction of satellite campuses and a suspension on any current expansions. Additionally, CLASSE insisted that an immediate freeze on the salaries and hiring of university administrators and rectors be implemented.
The group also wants an open debate on free education.
If the government does not accept the offer, students and their supporters will continue to strike in the streets according to CLASSE spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.
Although many universities and CEGEPs are reaching the end of the school year, student strikes continue on a daily basis with more planned for the rest of the week:
- Thursday, May 3 – A nude protest is set to starting in Emilie-Gamelin Park at 8:30 p.m.
- Friday, May 4 – A demonstration is planned in Victoriaville outside of the general council of the Quebec Liberal Party.
- Sunday, May 6 – A “Mother’s Day” protest to be held outside of Charest’s office on McGill College in Montreal.