Union to U of G: Tuition cuts are needed now

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Written by Erinn White

CUPE 3913, the union representing Teaching Assistants and Sessional Lecturers is calling on the University of Guelph, and other schools in the province, to drop their tuition fees, in support of the Drop Fees Campaign that is organized for November 5th.

“As educators and supporters of the public post secondary system, we’re working on a daily basis to ensure that access to education is barrier free,” says Trish Altass, the union’s chair.

“This issue is important to us as we negotiate new collective agreements – we want to ensure that working class academics are able to study at U of G.”

The union is negotiating new collective agreements for both of their bargaining units concurrently. The local will meet with the university for a first conciliation meeting on November 7th.

Reducing barriers to education is an important issue in this round of bargaining.

“Economic barriers are a method to marginalize people based on class and economic status and are inherently discriminatory,” says Wilson Harron, the union’s human rights rep.

The union believes that tuition fees are among the greatest barriers faced by students. The union does not support the increases in tuition fees and they are calling for a cut to tuition fees, with the ultimate aim of eradicating them altogether.

“This is a province-wide issue,” says Altass. “The University of Guelph and universities across the province need to show their commitment to ensuring that every qualified student can study, regardless of their socioeconomic status.”

The University of Guelph is currently in a budget deficit. To the union, that shows a clear need for the province to restore funding. The university sector has been plagued in recent years by deferred building maintenance, staffing cuts and an increased corporate presence on campuses.

The members of CUPE 3913, in a unanimous vote, decided to issue this statement calling on the University, as well as the provincial and federal governments to remove the economic barriers faced by students.

CUPE 3913 represents over 1,200 Sessional Lecturers and Teaching Assistants at the University of Guelph, and is the largest trade union in the city.

For more information, please contact:
Trish Altass, Chair, CUPE 3913, or
Wilson Harron, Human Rights and Equity Representative
519-824-4120, x56268

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  1. Posted by: George on Nov 5, 2008 @ 1:17pm

    Don’t believe any CUPE group when they say they are in support of lower tuition. If they truly were in support of this they wouldn’t be asking for ridiculous pay and benefit increases for their already cushy jobs.

    They say all this as a ploy to get the CSA and students on board because they know having a large number of students supporting their cause will produce better results for themselves. In the end, their pay and benefits increase and students are left footing the bill.

  2. Posted by: libertarian_1 on Nov 16, 2008 @ 11:25am

    great article!

    i agree with trish altass when she wants to "ensure that access to education is barrier free" and wilson harron when he says "economic barriers are a method to marginalize people based on class and economic status and are inherently discriminatory."

    tuition fees AND student fees should be cut.

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