President’s message – Oct. 20, 2011

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The Our Future is Now campaign is in full swing, and we’ve already had major successes! We have asked that all political parties commit to implementing some policy recommendations that will benefit students and make education a real priority in this province. Because of the pressure put on politicians by students, several of our recommendations have been adopted by parties into their official platforms. The Green Party, in particular, has gone further than a tuition fee freeze and actually pledged to eliminate tuition fees altogether. The Liberal Party has promised to remove family income and assets from consideration to get a student loan – which is a great idea, considering many students are alienated from parents or otherwise receive little or no support.

The New Democrats have also listened to students by pledging to approve the University of Regina’s residence and childcare proposal. The proposal would add 608 new beds to campus and 180 new childcare spaces. The proposal has been collecting dust on government shelves since early May of this year, so it was good to see it finally getting some much needed attention. An affordable housing announcement by the NDP also promised 2,500 new units, 1,000 of which would be for students. Rent has increased an average of 43 per cent since 2006, while the vacancy rate continues to be at, or below, one per cent – Regina is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis and it is wonderful to see politicians recognizing that.

The Saskatchewan Party has made some small announcements relating to post-secondary education, but the campaign is not over and hopefully they will be announcing more soon. If elected they will create a $500 a year (up to a maximum of $2,000 overall) scholarship for high school students, starting with those graduating in 2012. While additional scholarships will not have a detrimental effect, the announcement does not help those who graduated in 2011, those who are working to save money for university, current students, or anybody who might want to move to Saskatchewan to take post-secondary learning. The money could be better used by freezing the skyrocketing rate of tuition fee increases that we currently face as students.

To get involved with the Our Future is Now campaign, send me an email at president@ursu.ca. To date, we have had a flash funeral at the Legislature, mourning the death of potential due to barriers to attending post-secondary education; we have also held a fax mob at which we faxed invoices to Brad Wall and Dwain Lingenfelter that students had filled out for debt and/or tuition. On the 25th in the Owl, we will be holding Kandidate Karaoke, and on the 26th there will be a candidates forum in the Owl.

Remember to make your voice heard and vote on Nov. 7, because our future is now.

Kent Peterson
URSU President

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