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Planned tuition increase at University of Guelph sparks student protest
As it is elsewhere in Ontario, the rising cost of tuition is sparking protests and student anger at the University of Guelph.
“Students can’t afford education. They’re taking on debt; they’re taking out loans,” said third-year student Sonali Menezes.
Guelph plans to increase tuition by three per cent for the next school year.
Student leaders say that works out to an increase of $200 to $300 per year for the average student – and that it disproportionately hurts lower-income students who require student loans to cover the cost.
“That makes absolutely no sense, that the students who struggle the most to be able to afford education pay more for it,” Menezes said.
The tuition increase was expected to be finalized Thursday at a meeting of the school’s board of governors.
Instead, the meeting was called off after half an hour, but before any decisions were made.
“There was a small number, but very vocal number of students … who disrupted the meeting right from the start (and) would not let proceedings continue at all,” said Chuck Cunningham, the school’s assistant vice-president of communications.
Among the protesters was Peter Miller, a student representative elected to the board.
He said he hoped the scripted demonstration would put pressure on the school to reconsider the planned tuition increase.
“The board of governors has been really inconveniencing students with tuition fee increases and budget cuts,” he said.
“We decided to inconvenience them.”
The board meeting will be rescheduled, and likely conducted via teleconference.