Op-Ed

Katherine DeClerq | Fulcrum Staff

WHILE A FEW hundred students gathered on Morisset Terrace for the Canadian Federation of Students-inspired National Day of Action, I stayed indoors to work on an assignment. While people banged on drums and yelled into megaphones, I sat at a desk on the fifth floor of the library with my textbook. And while the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) and company finally made their way to Parliament Hill, I sighed in relief.

For you see, on the fifth floor of the library I could hear every whistle, every drum, and every word of the protest below. And for someone who was desperately trying to finish her readings, it was incredibly distracting.

I have a few issues with the Canadian Federation of Students’ Education is a Right campaign, but I’m not going to touch upon those—the fact that they spent a ridiculous amount of money on promotional hats, picket signs, and a DJ for the annual protest have been debated enough. Instead, I am going to focus on what I believe is a more pressing issue: The fact that every year the protest is held on Morisset Terrace, right in front of the library.

The library is a place of study, where students go to work. It’s frustrating that the SFUO would choose to facilitate a protest in front of a place of study instead of taking advantage of the rather large lawn in front of Tabaret.

On the fifth floor of the library, I could hear every aspect of the protest—and that was with my ear buds in and the radio on. Every whistle, drum, and cheer. There is nothing more annoying than rereading the same sentence 10 times because all you can hear is, “Drop what? Drop fees!”

It is disrespectful that students protesting for lower tuition fees were distracting those who were trying to get good use of their tuition by studying. It is February, and that means midterms are slowly approaching, essay proposals are due, and readings are piling up.

To disturb those students who are taking their education seriously goes against the point of the Education is a Right campaign—allowing more students to enjoy a quality education. Making post-secondary education accessible is a worthy goal, but it doesn’t mean that those who are already here shouldn’t be able to focus on their assignments for an afternoon.

Wouldn’t a better location have been where the administration is and where there is enough space to hold hundreds of students? We have had concerts on Tabaret lawn, so it’s clear the area is able to house large-scale events of this kind. It is the perfect location, yet for some reason the SFUO feels the need to shout in front of the one place on campus known for its silence.

So please, next year: Just shut up and let me study.