Students hold mock funeral at Queen's Park to mark the Death of Affordable Education; Zombies claim students are being "buried by debt"



    TORONTO, Oct. 30 /CNW/ - College and university students from Toronto
campuses hosted a mock funeral procession through a tombstone-lined cemetery
on the Queen's Park lawn this morning. Meanwhile, students dressed as zombies
rose from graves to illustrate that they are being "buried by debt" in order
to finance their education.
    "Dalton McGuinty was elected on the promise that he would be the
'Education Premier' but, from where we sit, he looks more like the Grim
Reaper," said Toby Whitfield, Vice-President Finance and Services of the
Ryerson Students' Union. "Under McGuinty's plan, the tuition freeze was
cancelled and Ontario students faced the largest tuition increases in the
country."
    Under the McGuinty government's "Reaching Higher" framework for tuition
fee increases, students have been hit with annual tuition fee increases
between four to eight per cent, and as much as 36 per cent over four years in
some programmes. As a result, Ontario's fees have risen to the second highest
in Canada, up from third place last year, and student debt has increased by
350 per cent in just over a decade.
    "Investing in education is the only way to buoy Ontario's slowing
economy," said Gilary Massa, Vice-President, External for the York Federation
of Students. "Burying a generation of students under debt is not a sound
economic plan. McGuinty must invest in the province's future."
    "The stress of managing rising tuition fess, mounting student loans and
multiple part-time jobs is crushing many students and turning others into
virtual zombies," said Shelley Melanson, Chairperson of the Canadian
Federation of Students-Ontario. "Today, our message to the McGuinty government
is clear: education shouldn't be a debt sentence."
    This mock-funeral and zombie march was held to help raise awareness of
the November 5 student day of action to drop fees. "On November 5, thousands
of students in cities across Ontario will hold demonstrations to call on the
McGuinty government to make serious investments in post-secondary education
and drop fees," said Sandy Hudson, President of the University of Toronto
Students' Union.

    The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites more than 300,000
college and university students across the province.





For further information:

For further information: Shelley Melanson, Chairperson, CFS-Ontario:
(416) 882-9927 (cell); Joel Duff, Organiser, CFS-Ontario: (416) 707-0349
(cell)


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