OTTAWA, Sept. 11, 2013 /CNW/ - After weeks of public pressure, Mayor Jim Watson finally sat down with representatives from the Ottawa Student Transit Coalition this afternoon. Students left the meeting disappointed by the Mayor's short-sighted and stubborn response to concerns raised by tens of thousands of Ottawa students and residents.
"Instead of seeing this as an opportunity to genuinely address the concerns of College students, Mayor Watson treated the meeting as a cheap PR exercise for his administration," said Anne-Marie Roy from the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, "Oc Transpo management admitted to stabilizing years of deficits and mismanagement by taking money directly from students by imposing an age-cap. It is inexcusable for the Mayor to think he can get away with transferring his lack of financial oversight onto the backs of students."
The Mayor reiterated that the problems raised by the Coalition could be addressed by Algonquin College and La Cité collégiale joining the U-Pass program. This despite having received a petition from over 10,000 Algonquin College students last year calling for the elimination of the age cap and rejecting the U-Pass.
"Our members see past the Mayor's blatant political manoeuvring to strong-arm us into the U-Pass," said Sherline Pieris from the Algonquin College Student Association, "despite giving the semblance of wanting to listen to students, it is clear that Mayor Watson is more interested in talking at us than listening to the realities of our members. The choice he is giving College students is "U-Pass or No Pass". It's very upsetting."
The Ottawa Student Transit Coalition represents approximately 90,000 college, undergraduate and graduate students at Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, Saint Paul University, La Cité Collégiale, and Algonquin College.
The member associations are:
Graduate Students' Association (Carleton University), Local 78 of the Canadian Federation of Students
Carleton University Students' Association
Student Federation of the University of Ottawa/Fédération étudiante de l'université d'Ottawa, Local 41 of the Canadian Federation of Students Graduate Students' Association of the University of Ottawa/Association des étudiant.e.s diplômé.e.s de l'Université d'Ottawa, Local 94 of the Canadian Federation of Students
Saint Paul University Student Association/L'Association des Étudiant(e)s de l'Université Saint Paul, Local 85 of the Canadian Federation of Students Association étudiante de La Cité collégiale, Local 107 of the Canadian Federation of Students Algonquin Students' Association
SOURCE: Ottawa Student Transit Coalition
For further information:
To schedule interviews with representatives from any of the Ottawa Student Transit Coalition student associations, please contact: Mathieu Murphy-Perron at 613-704-2188 or [email protected].