For Immediate Release:
April 12, 2012
Students take action against Board of Governors fee hikes and occupy University of Ottawa President’s Office
[Editor's note: the occupation ended after 4pm on thursday]
OTTAWA – Students at the University of Ottawa are currently occupying the office of University president, Allan Rock, to condemn the recent Board of Governors (BoG) vote to hike tuition fees for the 6th consecutive year.
On Friday April, 5th the BoG voted - almost unanimously - in an email vote to increase tuition fees compounding to the total of a staggering 71% on average over the past 7 years. The vote was taken by email after the last BoG was disrupted by students voicing their stories about the impact of tuition fees - which President Rock did not want to hear and thus, prematurely shut down the meeting.
Student voices have been totally excluded from the budget process and the university has never allowed for meaningful participation by those directly affected by their decisions. Students demand that the university work with them in order to present a comprehensive budget that will meet the needs of the campus community.
Ignored and silenced by the administration, students are finding other means to draw attention to an issue that has placed an entire generation in debt.
“I often have to choose between paying rent or buying textbooks and financial stress is a huge source of anxiety for me, I don’t know if I will be able to pay off my debt after I graduate”, says Nicole Desnoyer, one of the student occupiers, “the Board of Governors is out of touch with students needs and are incapable of knowing how bad it is to be a student in Ontario, we need the University to listen to students and help eliminate financial burdens, not impose them”
Students involved in the occupation have the following demands:
1) Reverse the BOG motion that will increase tuition fees by 5% next year
2) Transparency and student inclusion in the Budget: create a “Finance Committee” with 50% students in order to examine ALL options for the university budget
3) Replace every seat on the BoG currently allotted to corporate CEOs for student and faculty. No more corporate governance of our universities!
Student debt and increasing tuition fees are barriers to access to education, students are fighting for affordable, accessible and public poste secondary education and stand in solidarity with fellow students on strike in Quebec.
Please let Allan Rock know how you feel, by calling and emailing him to meet our demands!
Allan Rock: Telephone: 613-562-5809; Fax: 613-562-5103; firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief of Staff: Telephone: (613) 562-5800 ext. 1032; alastair.mullin@uOttawa.ca