By Vicky Tam
Rainy weather did nothing to extinguish students’ anger as they protested proposed tuition hikes on Thursday afternoon.
Along with students from George Brown College and York University, Ryerson students picketed in response to the Ontario government’s announcement to increase tuition fees. About 20 Ryerson students met in front of Jorgenson Hall before marching down Yonge Street holding signs, blowing whistles and chanting while making their way to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities offices.
Katie Houghton, a third-year arts and contemporary studies student, is “one of the students fortunate enough not to be in debt” and attended the protest “to keep that up.” “(I’m) not just (protesting) for me. It’s for all students in general,” she said. Houghton and the rest of the group arrived at the building at the intersection of Bay and Wellesley streets, joining a crowd of protestors holding a sea of yellow signs as police presence looked on.
Ryerson Students’ Union President Rebecca Rose spoke at the rally. She fought to be heard over the malfunctioning microphone as she denounced the fee increases. Borrowing from the protestors’ chants, Rose called the fee increase “shameful” and asked her fellow students to fight them in “solidarity.”
RSU Vice President Education Nora Loreto was also in attendance, sporting a T-shirt that read “I sold my other shirt to pay for tuition.” Ontario students aren’t the only ones seeing red. Lelia Emami, an international student at George Brown College, is going into the red to attend school.
Emami comes from Iran and pays $13,000 in tuition for her applied business management program. She is not eligible for OSAP and did not receive any scholarships or grants. Without a social insurance number, she cannot get a job to help offset her costs, she said. This turn of events is not helping Emami’s image of Ontario’s government. “I don’t like them,” she said. “(The government) is not going to do anything no matter what.
“I have to say I don’t agree with it (even if) nothing will change anyways.”
The action continued even after the formal event concluded around 1 p.m. Some of the Ryerson students who had attended the protest waved their signs on street corners on their way back to campus.
The event had been planned and advertised on campus since before the announcement, as the impending tuition increase had been expected for weeks.