By the time you read this, Emily Shelton’s finger will be twice its normal size. The Students’ Administrative Council’s VP external was setting up a campfire on U of T’s front campus, when a smoldering hot log fell on her middle finger.
On Wednesday night, around thirty U of T students camped out in front of University College, on front campus, freezing for a tuition freeze-as it were.
The freeze-in kicked off the countdown to the National Day of Action, next Wednesday, when students from all three U of T campuses will converge on Queen’s Park demanding a tuition fee freeze.
About three years ago, Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty promised a tuition fee freeze for post-secondary students in Ontario, which he implemented for two years after being elected.
Last year, his government unveiled a new tuition plan that allowed universities to increase tuition fees by up to five per cent, on average. Some students’ fees, though are rising by up to 8 per cent per year. The average student in Ontario now pays $5,160 per year in tuition. The average for Canada is $4,347.
“Ironically, McGuinty has found the money somewhere in his budget to increase the wages of his own office,” Shelton said.
It was 7 p.m. and -11 C, with a chilly breeze blowing south. A fire in a barrel provided by United Steel Workers kept campers warm, along with generous amounts of food from the Continuing Education Students Association of Ryerson (CESAR).
“We have been supported by groups we completely did not expect to step forward,” said SAC chairperson Jen Hassum, roasting a marshmallow on the campfire, and offering The Varsity some halal marshmallows.
See www.feb7.ca for more rally details