UOSU is organizing a conference and rally to highlight the negative impact of a tuition fee increase on May 30
The University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) announced in an Instagram story early yesterday afternoon that the University plans to increase tuition fees for non-Ontario domestic students for the 2022-23 academic year.
UOSU originally warned students of the possibility through social media late last week with the launch of their STOP Tuition Increase campaign. “We already pay too much for tuition, and we must stop any possible tuition increases.”
As of yesterday, over 3,700 students have joined the campaign and sent letters to the University.
Kheppar explained that an increase from the U of O was highly likely due to a similar and recently passed tuition increase at the University of Toronto. Despite objections from three student governors, the U of T’s Governing Council voted to pass a schedule that will increase fees for both out-of-province and international students.
Earlier this year, the Ontario government extended the tuition freeze for Ontario residents. Universities are still able to increase fees for out-of-province and international students.
“At a time where the cost of living is unimaginably high, our university should not dare to raise our tuition, as they report multi-million-dollar surpluses and pay salary increases to a few hundred administrators who work in their ivory towers and top the Sunshine List year after year,” Kheppar continued.
Yesterday, Kheppar was joined by Chelsey-Lynn Rousselle, advocacy commissioner of UOSU, in a second Instagram story following a meeting with the University’s provost and vice-president, Jill Scott. “The provost has confirmed that tuition will be increasing, although she refused to tell us by how much.”
“It could be anywhere from zero to five per cent for out of province [students], but for international [students] it remains unregulated,” Kheppar explained.
Kheppar went on to say that he and Rousselle had been clear in their objections to the increase in tuition fees, listing issues it could bring to the U of O student body, especially regarding affordability.
“We’re going through a mental health and wellness crisis. Not just on campus, but across this province. You know, this would exacerbate that. There’s food insecurity, there’s home insecurity,” explained Kheppar. “There’s so much insecurity, and just increasing tuition is like the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
UOSU’s announcement comes almost a year to the date after the university canceled plans to increase tuition back in 2021. During a Board of Governors meeting last May, Scott acknowledged that, due to circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn’t yet time to make those changes.
“Our university needs to stop treating students, and especially international students, like cash cows,” said Kheppar.
UOSU is organizing a conference and rally to “highlight the impact a tuition fee increase will have on the student population.”
Kheppar and Rousselle urged students to attend at noon on Monday, May 30. The event will start at the UOSU office on the main floor of Jock-Turcot University Centre (UCU), and will feature speeches from Kheppar, Rousselle, and Susan Spronk, president of the Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa, among others.
It will conclude with a march to Tabaret lawn. “Bring your signs, bring your friends, and let’s show the university that, united, the students will not be defeated.”