SMAC protest Beaudry-Mellor
author: taylor balfour | news editor
SMAC urges students to show their disapproval in tuition raise
Tuition increase is an issue that isn’t new for university students country-wide. At the University of Regina specifically, $7 million was cut from the institution given the provincial government’s budget released earlier in 2017, meaning that tuition once again increased for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Thanks to the constant uprise of costs, Students Mobilizing Against Cuts [SMAC], held a protest on Sept. 12 which they entitled as the “Students and Friends United Picket” on their Facebook page.
“Students Mobilizing Against Cuts organized the day after the Saskatchewan Party government released the 2017-18 Saskatchewan budget,” Kelsey Morrison, a SMAC representative, explained.
“The budget made devastating cuts to public services that Saskatchewan’s most vulnerable rely on. However, SMAC organizes around the cuts to post-secondary education.”
“Tina Beaudry Mellor is the elected Saskatchewan Party representative for the riding where the University of Regina is located and where MANY students live,” the Facebook event for the picket explained.
“We want Tina and the rest of the Sask. Party to know that WE will not stand by while they continue to contribute to austerity in this great province. The cuts to post-secondary education GREATLY impact all students and their families.”
Stats Canada released a report in late 2016 detailing tuition increase across the country, where they claimed that the average amount that a full-time undergraduate paid $6,373 in tuition. This is reportedly “2.8 per cent higher than the 2015/2016 average ($6,201).”
“The protest itself went well and we are thankful for our speakers who came out over their lunch hour to further explain the devastating impacts of cuts to education and other public services,” Morrison explained.
“However, there were few students that came out to stand up against this government. We are very appreciative of those who came out to support students but we would like to see a larger turnout for future events.”
Attached to their page, SMAC created a poster for the picket detailing how greatly students could save if not for tuition increases.
“Since 2012, U of R tuition has risen by $1,900,” the poster says, including quotes claiming that said amount could buy 38 tanks of gas, 2 months of rent, around 136 pizzas a year, or 76 cab rides.
“In Saskatchewan, students are already paying some of the highest tuition costs in the entire country,” Morrison says.
“Students nowadays are carrying such a high debt load that some will not have their debt paid off until they are well into their lives.”
Hoping to encourage students to participate in protests, Morrison then poses a question.
“Are you okay with that? Being in debt forever? We aren’t.”
Any students interested in joining the conversation are invited to follow SMAC’s Facebook page where they update with coming protests.
“The capacity levels at this protest showed us that we need to continue educating people on the impacts of this budget and hope that they will become inspired enough about it to join us.”