Flat fees tuition proposal passes; students outraged at decision and
blocked from meeting by excessive police presence
TORONTO, May 21 /CNW/ - Students at the University of Toronto are
outraged at the Governing Council's decision to implement a flat tuition fee
payment structure in the Faculty of Arts and Science. The new payment
structure will require students to pay for five courses - even if they only
take three. This is a 66% increase in tuition fees.
The new fee structure was proposed to address a severe deficit within the
Faculty of Arts and Science. "The University has lost over $1.3 billion in
risky investments this year," said Adam Awad, Vice-President University
Affairs of the University of Toronto Students' Union. "This transfer of debt
from the public university to individual students is unethical and will impede
access to post-secondary education. Having this institution become a place for
the rich is contrary to its commitment to equity and diversity."
The University has acknowledged that there is little benefit to students
besides an incentive to enter the workforce faster. One governor noted that
the proposal likened the University to a factory, producing individuals for
the workplace as efficiently as possible, rather than an institution of higher
Students organized themselves to be a presence within the Governing
Council chambers as the vote was taking place. Although the University of
Toronto is mandated by law to have meetings open to the public, students were
shocked to be met with dozens of police officers, blocking students' access to
the meeting. "The police presence is ridiculous," said Awad, addressing the
Governing Council. "Why are you so afraid for students to be here?"
Students raised concerns about other institutions that also have a flat
tuition fee policy such as the University of Guelph. "Nine programs of study
this year have been cut at the University of Guelph," said Sandy Hudson,
President of the University of Toronto Students' Union. "Flat tuition fee
structures are nothing but a repulsively unethical band-aid solution to the
persistent underfunding of Ontario Universities. Our University has let the
government off the hook, at the expense of thousands of students."
Students have taken the University to court to stop the flat fee proposal
from moving ahead. "This is not over," said Awad. "We will continue to fight
this regressive policy."
For further information:
For further information: Adam Awad, VP University Affairs, University of
Toronto Students' Union, (416) 823-2672 (cell); Sandy Hudson, President,
University of Toronto Students' Union, (416) 722-8842 (cell)