STUDENTS CUT CLASS SO THEY CAN STAY IN CLASS. York University and Ryerson University students staged a one-day strike November 6 to protest cuts by the Dud Ford government to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) Their demands included calls for the government to cut rising tuition costs and high interest loan fees, as well as the elimination of all student debt.
This strike, and more to come, are being planned by student activists in the Canadian Federation of Students who have rallied students all over the province to fight back against this attack on education funding. As usual, the Cons keep blaming the Liberals for the cuts saying they had to trim expenses to deal with a multi-billion-dollar deficit that they inherited.
Students call bullshit
The students called bullshit on this rationale that leaves thousands of students in financial limbo and many forced to quit school to save money for tuition.
They also challenged the government’s plans to eliminate a six-month, interest-free grace period that students had to pay back their loans following graduation, saying that this would penalize them even further, before they had a chance to get back on their feet.
There were picket lines at York University and at the Ryerson student centre on Yonge Street and later hundreds of students marched and rallied in the heart of downtown Toronto at Yonge-Dundas Square. One fifth-year student told the media that he and his family already had $100 thousand in OSAP loans. They just couldn’t afford any more.
The response from the Cons was predictably tone deaf. Ross Romano, from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, said the OSAP program wasn’t “sustainable.”
Attacks not sustainable
What’s not sustainable is attacking young, vulnerable students and thinking you could get away from it. These students gave them, and the rest of us, a clear message. They would not give up education fairness and equality without a fight.
Many more demos and strikes to come.
Stand Up. Fight Back. Don’t Give Up.
- 30 -