Massive turnout for national day of action against tuition fees
Wednesday, November 5, 200840 Comments
Some of the materials handed out explained the depth of the problem. One illustration compared what Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty would have to do to attend law school presently, with what he actually faced almost 30 years ago. Minimum wage was $3.50 per hour when he started law school in 1980, and his tuition was $698 per year, meaning he would have to work only 5 weeks at minimum wage to pay his tuition. Comparing those numbers to the present $8.75 per hour minimum wage and law tuition of $20,155 at U of T, then Mr. McGuinty would have had to work for 58 weeks straight to cover the bill - more weeks than there are in a year. This example is a great way to illustrate the drastic rise in fees that students now have to deal with, and the debt with interest many must incur just to graduate.
Today's protest started in the heart of campus at the cannon with speakers and a rally, which turned into a march to St Georges Square in downtown Guelph. The demonstrators gathered in the square for about an hour to hear more speeches from student leaders before marching once again to end at the office of Liz Sandals, the local MPP.
Several hundred people took part in this demonstration including many U of G students, community members both young and old, and particularly noteworthy was the presence of high school students. These demonstrations rarely draw large numbers of students in high school for a host of reasons but today was very different - they showed up on mass with signed in hand and were some of the most articulate and passionate on the scene.
Police presence was obvious, but not overbearing. The rally and march were well planned to avoid any confrontations, and the event was quite peaceful.
Several media organizations were present as well, including at least 2 camera crews.
For additional photos from today's protest, please check out our photo gallery on it here.