McMaster graduate students initiate education campaign


They may feel it in the pocket book, but the McMaster Graduate Students Association thinks students don't quite grasp the full extent of tuition fee increases. So, the GSA decided to do its part to lobby against high tuition by trying to educate students on campus.

The GSA has been distributing a pamphlet supporting the Access 2000 campaign by the Canadian Federation of Students. The group is not, however, planning any formal events to coincide with CFS' Day of Action, scheduled for today.

“We felt the best way to engage the campus is through an information campaign,” said Joan Grace, GSA president. “I don't think most students are aware of what is going on. When I talk to graduate students, in particular, most aren't aware graduate programs have been deregulated, for example.”

The McMaster Students Union (MSU), which is in the midst of its presidential election, isn't planning formal events either. They have broken off their affiliation with CFS.

But the McMaster chapter of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is providing two buses to take students to a mass rally in downtown Toronto today. The event is the culmination of Student Day of Action.

Elsewhere, York University students plan to shut down their institution to protest rising tuition fees and government cuts to post-secondary education. In Thunder Bay, a group of Lakehead University students have spent 14 nights outside in minus 30 degree Celsius weather in unheated tents to show they are willing to freeze to get a freeze in fees.

The nation-wide campaign is petitioning the federal government to return $3.7 billion in transfer payments to the province for post-secondary education, while taking measures to reduce tuition fees and implement a national grant program for all students on a needs basis.

In the past 10 years, university students in Ontario have seen tuition increases of 134 per cent, among the highest in Canada, reports the Toronto Star. In 1998, the Ontario government removed a cap on fees for graduate and some professional programs, including medicine and business.