Laurentian Students Protest University's Tuition Fee Hike

    Higher Tuition Fees Are Seen as a Lump of Coal Before Holidays

    SUDBURY, ON, Dec. 12 /CNW/ - In the spirit of Scrooge, the Laurentian
University administrators are putting forward a motion calling on the
University's Board of Governors to increase tuition fees for undergraduate
programmes by 4 per cent and for graduate programmes by 8 per cent (the
maximum allowed per year by McGuinty's "Reaching Higher" plan to increase
student debt).
    Students' union representatives were particularly frustrated about this
year's tuition fee increase proposal because the meeting to determine the
2008-2009 academic year fees was scheduled as students are busy studying for
exams or have already left campus for the holidays.
    "Laurentian administrators are considering the budget months earlier than
usual and right before the holidays in an attempt to avoid hearing opposition
from students," said Eric Blondin, Vice-President Political Affairs for the
Association des étudiantes et étudiants francophones (AEF). "There's no reason
the University can't wait until February when we're at least given an
opportunity to debate this."
    Laurentian University students demonstrated near a bridge in downtown
Sudbury during the morning commute today to draw public attention to the
University's proposed fees hikes and shed light on the anti-democratic
scheduling tactic.
    "Tuition fees have increased at four times the rate of inflation over the
past 15 years," said Kayla Turpin, Vice-President Issues for the Laurentian
Students General Association (SGA). "At the very least, students deserve a
tuition fee freeze for the next 42 years so inflation can catch up and a fair
ratio of government funding can be restored."
    While other provinces with comparatively less financial resources, and
even some with Conservative governments, have been freezing and reducing
tuition fees, the McGuinty Liberal government refuses to offer students any
protection from tuition fee hikes.
    "Ontarians want an activist government which is why the overwhelming
majority think tuition fees should be reduced," said Jen Hassum, Chairperson
of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "It's time that university
tuition fees and student debt be accounted for in the provincial budget so
governments like McGuinty's have to take responsibility for their unpopular,
conservative policies."

For further information:

For further information: Kayla Turpin, Vice-President Issues, Laurentian
University Students' General Association, (705) 675-1151 ext. 1083; Eric
Blondin, Vice-President, political affairs, Association des étudiantes et
étudiants francophones (AEF) de l'Université Laurentienne, (705) 675-1151 ext.
2408; Jen Hassum, Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario, (416)
925-3825 or (416) 832-9073 (cell)

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