Stand up or get screwed

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By Philippe Devos

“Students of Ryerson: Bend over and assume the position, you’re about to get fucked.”

Rob Granastein began his Eyeopener editorial with those words when the Tories announced deregulation in 1998, which led to massive tuition increases.

Well get the KY jelly and drop your drawers because the Tories are in the mood to stick it to you a second time.

Brace yourself for increased tuition, slashes scholarships, more restrictive criteria and higher interest rates for student loans, cuts to university research, the establishment of private universities charging market-rate (read “over $10,000”) tuition fees and the elimination of funding to programs the government doesn’t consider relevant to the economy.

The proposed changes to education, revealed in a confidential Cabinet document made available to The Toronto Star, are part of the government’s attempt to produce a balanced budget in the year 2000 and provide a 20 per cent personal income tax cut by 2003. More than $142.7-million will be slashed at the expense of education.

The document acknowledges that Toronto schools will be hardest hit by the cuts.

About $41.3-million will be trimmed from student aid as the government lowers the risk guarantees it provides for student loans. It will also implement tighter controls on who qualifies for loans.

Ryerson already has the seventh highest fees (tuition plus other compulsory fees) in Canada. Since 1994, tuition at universities across the country has already risen 36 per cent.

If these cuts aren’t enough to send you into a rage, the government will have another go at students, slashing another $21.3-million in funding next year.

You can take the pounding laying down, or you can stand up and do something about it.

If you have ever considered getting politically involved, now is the time. If you don’t, RyeSAC and the Canadian Federation of Students are bound to launch another ineffective protest that gets ignored before anyone can figure out that, “Hey, Hey. Ho, Ho” chants have got to go.

What students activism needs is new, young blood with fresh ideas, not another ‘60s-style march/protest/occupation by placard-wavers who get behind any cause.

Join other campus activists at Oakham House at 7 p.m. on Tuesday Nov. 30 to plan a new and fresh approach to fighting the Harris government’s cuts to education.


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