Point of Order by Stéphane Groulx – High Student Fees for College and University Lead to Classism – February 9, 2012

CFN–  On February 1st , students from across Canada gathered to take part in a collective protest against  the high cost of tuition fees. This protest is known as the National Student Day of Action and this year students in Ottawa and the surrounding area united on Parliament Hill; the location on which the protest is held every year.


The police were on location for when the students got to the site of the protest to keep the peace just in case things got out of hand. As well, certain Colleges and Universities granted academic amnesty on that day so that the students could freely participate without facing penalties from being absent.


If a student were to have missed any quizzes or tests because of their choice to participate in the protest their Professors were to provide them the opportunity to take the test or quiz at a different time.

While the message of the National Student Day of Action is clear and factual; tuition is at a record high and many students will be thousands of dollars in debt by the time they graduate, one must ask themselves whether or not the protest itself is effective. Every year students and their unions speak up from coast to coast united in their front, yet still the average cost of obtaining a post-secondary education continues to rise in spite of the annual protest.
Such a premise also brings up the issue of whether or not the institutions themselves perceive this protest as a threat to the status quo. Surely if these colleges and universities saw this activity as a real danger to business as usual on campus, they would not have granted these students academic amnesty.  One would think that an institution that saw this protest as a threat to the existing state of affairs would most likely implement policy to crack down on if not silence these zealous students.
It is also worth stating that when protesting something as important as tuitions fees, sometimes just having strong leadership and a devout following does not cut it. A movement should also project a strong unified message as well as have a sound organization which does not fragment or stray from the topic at hand. I mention this because I spoke with a few protesters to get their take on the event, and while they had generally positive things to say about it, some pointed out that on a few occasions there  were a few individuals who went out their way to bring up other issues of national concern which while valid actually take attention away from the reason students have united there for in the first place: Tuition fees are too high.
Students are being placed in record levels of debt because of it, and something proactive has to be done to make post-secondary more affordable.
The National Student Day of Action is built on a foundation of good ideas, but if we want to truly bring about positive change, one day is not enough. Essentially what I’m saying here is perhaps it is time that students consider extending the protest and make it a national week of action or better yet, a series of events conducted throughout the year which would repeatedly highlight how important it is that government act to lower tuition because many of us (including myself) are going to end up thousands of dollars in debt and will therefore have a hard time coping with it once we reach the “real” world.
Students and their families should not have to suffer because the student wants to obtain a higher education. Keeping tuition fees at such high levels while continuing to raise them is unfair. There will come a time when only the monetarily  privileged will be able to afford to go to College or University, and I fear that time is just around the corner.

Born and raised in Cornwall Ontario, Stéphane is a social activist and political science student at the University of Ottawa who is avidly passionate about politics, policy-making, as well as getting youth involved in the democratic process.
Stéphane also loves to observe and explore his surroundings, take part in rational discussion, learn new things, write, and meet new people.

If you wish to contact or sponsor Mr. Groulx email us at info@cornwallfreenews.com or call our hotline at 613 361 1755

JL Computers

1 Comment

  1. I certainly agree with the right to peaceful protesting. I am not sure if the direction is right since in 2007 a Carleton University professor earned over 400,000 dollars and is an exception, however many are in the sunshine list. The salary takes away from other government envelopes because they only teach about 40% of the time. If you were to have 2 professors each teaching 50% of the time, we could remove a point 5 position, allowing money then to reduce tuition.
    Stop full day juinor kindergarten, have parents look after their kids and save a few hundred million more to be used towards tuition. Education funding in Ontario is over 22 billion a year, there must be changes possible somewhere to help more people.

    Ontario is in record debt and deficit, we are now a have not province getting 4 billion in welfare from other provinces, and we need major discussions on areas like this. As you are a leader of tomorrow, thanks for getting the ball rolling.

Leave a Reply