Winnipeg – Students at the University of Winnipeg have been voting all week on the question of whether they support the progressive reduction of tuition fees. The vote is coordinated by the Canadian Federation of Students, as part of a national campaign calling on governments to fund access to college and university.
“The Tuition Fee Vote 2003 campaign is designed to create dialogue on campus about tuition fees, access and funding for education,” said Meeghan Gavin, Manitoba Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “We hope to send a strong message to the provincial government that it must strengthen its tuition fee policy by legislating the freeze on tuition, expanding the policy to cover ancillary fees, and scheduling further fee reductions.”
Added Gavin: “Many students were shocked that, despite the tuition fee reduction and freeze, fees have risen significantly in some faculties and programmes in Manitoba. The Canadian Federation of Students is providing students with a chance to express their point of view. The response so far has been tremendous: students have been streaming to the voting booth all week.”
The Canadian Federation of Students opposed votes on fee increases last year in the Faculty of Law and other faculties, and is calling on the provincial government to reverse the fee hikes. The Federation argues that the student vote in the Faculty of Law, which has been used to justify a 91% tuition fee increase, was unfair and should not have been recognised by the Province. In the U of M poll, the students who were eligible to vote would not be affected by the hikes and students were told by senior university officials that the fee hike would increase the prestige of the law school and the value of their degree.
The results of the University of Winnipeg vote will be announced on Friday morning, October 31, 2003. Similar votes at the Collège Saint Boniface and Brandon University will take place early in the winter semester. Tuition Fee Vote 2003 is part of a campaign leading up to a National Day of Action for Lower Tuition Fees, February 4, 2004.
With 70 member associations and 450,000 members across the country, the Canadian Federation of Students is Canada’s national student movement. http://www.cfs-fcee.ca/