University of Toronto students walk out of class with demand to end strike, refund tuition fees

TORONTO, March 18, 2015 /CNW/ - Hundreds of undergraduate students at the University of Toronto have walked out of class today and are rallying in front of the President's office demanding a tuition fee refund. Students are frustrated at the way that the strike has affected their education and at the university's refusal to meet with the striking union for over two weeks to resolve the labour dispute.

"We are being told to teach ourselves and run our own tutorials. I paid over $6000 to this school for an education I am not receiving," said Banafsheh Bezaei, a fourth-year undergraduate student on the St. George Campus. "I am furious that the University of Toronto refused to even meet with the union for so long."

Over 2000 students have signed a petition in under one week demanding that the University of Toronto refund tuition fees to students affected by the strike. "I signed the petition because I am an international student in my final year. I pay over $30,000 in tuition fees," said Drew Graffeo, an undergraduate student from Venezuela. "I don't even know if I'm going to be able to graduate. The administrators at this university make hundreds of thousands of dollars off of our tuition fees and their actions towards students, undergraduate and graduate, are simply unjust."

Contrary to claims made by the University of Toronto, some students have had their classes canceled entirely. "Both tutorials and lectures for my French class have been cancelled since the strike began," said Yolen Bollo-Kamara, undergraduate student and President of the University of Toronto Students' Union. "But I was told that I still had to write the exam, with only links to online videos to learn the material. This is not the education I paid for."

At the rally, students are delivering over 2000 of petitions and letters to the University of Toronto demanding a tuition fee refund in compensation for cancelled classes, tutorials and labs.

SOURCE University of Toronto Students' Union

For further information: Sandra Hudson (media coordinator): 416-722-8842; Liam Fox: 647-464-6583, liam.fox32@gmail.com; Housam Silim: 647-648-6974, hsaidsilim@gmail.com

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