OSAP grace period remains but interest to begin accruing on day one, says MPP David Piccini to The Varsity

Ambiguity about how government would enforce opt-out fees

OSAP grace period remains but interest to begin accruing on day one, says MPP David Piccini to <i>The Varsity</i>

Following a surprise announcement from the Ontario government about dramatic changes to postsecondary education, MPP for Northumberland—Peterborough South and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities David Piccini spoke to The Varsity on the specifics of the announcements.

According to Piccini, the six month grace period — which allows students to begin repaying provincial student loans six months after graduation — will remain. However, interest will accrue on the loans immediately after graduation.

Piccini justified this decision by saying that it would align with the process of repaying federal government loans.

Confusion around whether government would enforce opt-out ancillary fees

Ambiguity remains around the determination of “essential” and “non-essential” student fees and how the government would enforce its execution.

The provincial mandate requires institutions to develop an opt-out system for ancillary fees, categorizing them as either “essential” or “non-essential.” In her announcement, Minister of Training, Universities and Colleges Merrilee Fullerton stressed that the opt-out option would only apply to fees not related to health and safety and that universities would have “leeway” in deciding classifications.

When asked what the government would do if universities decided not to deem any fee “non-essential,” Piccini said that universities will be able to develop these policies “at their discretion.”

“Universities are autonomous and we’ve outlined a policy to give students choice, and we certainly hope students will be given choice in this.”

However, Piccini also stated repeatedly during the interview with The Varsity that “There has to be an opt-out option.”

This story is developing, more to follow.

“Students will not be fooled”: emergency rally organized at Queen’s Park

Protest comes after Ford announces cuts to tuition, OSAP

“Students will not be fooled”: emergency rally organized at Queen’s Park

A day after the provincial Progressive Conservative (PC) government announced sweeping changes to postsecondary education, student unions and groups across Ontario gathered at Queen’s Park early Friday afternoon to express their outrage. U of T student groups, including the Arts and Science Students’ Union and the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) Toronto, met at Sidney Smith Hall, marching toward the Ontario Legislature Building and occupying a stretch of College Street.

Changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) were announced on Thursday in a press conference organized by PC MPP Merrilee Fullerton, the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. When asked by The Varsity if students were consulted about Ford’s proposals regarding tuition and OSAP cuts, as well as the decision to opt out of ancillary fees, Fullerton vaguely stated that they had done so, but did not name individual groups.

Speakers express concern about effect on students

Nour Alideeb, the Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students Ontario (CFSO), spoke first and heavily criticized the PCs for attacking students across the province under the announcement.

The CFS is the largest student organization in Canada and represents five student unions at U of T.

“Today we are gathered outside of Queen’s Park to send a very clear message to the Ford government… that students will not be fooled,” Alideeb said.

“Yesterday, the government chose to pick a fight with students… As the announcements unraveled, it turned out that this is a reckless attack on students and their families, on academic workers, on faculty, on universities and colleges across the province.”

Deputy Leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP), Sara Singh, alongside MPP Joel Harden of Ottawa Centre, Bhutila Karpoche of Parkdale-High Park, and Rima Berns-McGown of Beaches-East York, also attended the rally to express solidarity.

“These investments in public services are what are going to drive our economy forward, which are going to make sure that you all have the best opportunities you can as students,” said Singh.

“As we head into that next election, you all are those future voters. You are all those decision makers that are going to make sure that we’re shaping the province we want.”

Ontario students decry sweeping changes without student consultation

James Chapman, a fourth-year U of T student and the co-chair of the U of T New Democrats, criticized the decision from the Ford government.

“I think there’s two reasons students are gathered here today,” said Chapman. “One is to tell Doug Ford that we think it’s unacceptable that the grants and loan combination that was created by the previous government after years of fighting by students on the ground is being removed. The second thing is that we’ve seen this time and again from this government where it’s a revenge plot against voices of dissent followed by complete chaos.”

Chapman noted that the most appalling part of the announcement would be the effect on marginalized students. “Those are the students who are accessing the services that largely the campus unions provide.”

Tom Fraser, a third-year U of T student, slammed the Ontario government for the apparent lack of consultation of students in the decision. “I’m here today because I’m mad as hell about every single cut that’s coming from this government,” he said.

In a similar vein, Clement Cheng, a fourth-year student at U of T and member of U of T’s $15 and Fairness chapter, commented on the future of funding for student unions and resources on campus.

“We are being saddled with even greater debts. We’re being given worse educational opportunities,” said Cheng. “Everything that we cherish about the university… all of that is under threat.”

Ashlee Redmond, a fourth-year student part of the Innis College Council, shared the same sentiments as Cheng, commenting on the quality of student services and resources.

“Events on campus are going to have to become a lot more exclusive, especially if students have the option to opt out of annual fees,” she states.

“There’s going to be a drastic drop in the number of students who are able to attend postsecondary university.”

Editor’s Note (January 18, 11:52 pm): The article has been updated to clarify that the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) was not affiliated with the protest. UTSU Vice-President University Affairs Joshua Grondin was present but attended in a personal capacity.

This is what U of T stakeholders have to say about Ford’s drastic postsecondary education changes

Takeaways: student groups concerned with lack of consultation, U of T to review budgets

This is what U of T stakeholders have to say about Ford’s drastic postsecondary education changes

Stakeholder groups at U of T are reacting to a surprise announcement made earlier today by Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Merrilee Fullerton regarding cuts to postsecondary education.

Premier Doug Ford’s government announced that Ontario colleges and universities will have to slash domestic tuition by 10 per cent next academic year and freeze it for the following two years. In addition, there is now a mandate to create an online opt-out system for “non-essential” student fees, such as fees collected for student clubs, as well as cuts to the Ontario Student Assistant Program.


In a statement to The Varsity, U of T President Meric Gertler said, “We will do all we can to limit the impact of these changes on the U of T community.”

“We need to review our budgets to assess the full impact of these changes,” said Gertler. “We feel it’s important to remain firm in our long-standing access guarantee: That financial circumstances should not stand in the way of a qualified student entering or completing their degree.”

U of T’s statement did not mention how it would respond to the mandatory opt-out option for “non-essential” student fees.

According to Fullerton, universities and colleges will have some “leeway” over which groups will be deemed necessary.

— Meric Gertler, U of T President


The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) — the largest student union at U of T — released a statement a few hours after the announcement criticizing the provincial government’s decisions.

“The UTSU is deeply concerned with the changes relating to non-tuition fees, or ‘ancillary fees’, which fund vital programs and services enriching the lives of students across the province… The risk of significant funding reductions, direct or indirect, would be grave and irrevocably change campus life.”

The UTSU added that it will be “working with campus partners and other stakeholders across the province” on this issue.

— The University of Toronto Students’ Union executive


President of the Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students (APUS) Mala Kashyap expressed concerns about the impact of the announced changes in a statement to The Varsity. “Part-time and mature students are already often excluded from access to government and institutional funding. We are waiting for more details regarding the announced changes.”

It remains unclear whether or not the announced tuition cuts will affect part-time students.

— Mala Kashyap, Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students President


Haseeb Hassaan, President of the Arts and Science Students’ Union (ASSU), told The Varsity that ASSU was “disturbed” by the policy announcements.

“We implore UofT administrators and President Gertler to protect students unions who provide essential services to students. ASSU will work with other college societies, unions and clubs on campus and across the province to act.”

— Haseeb Hassaan, Arts and Science Students’ Union President


The Canadian Federation of Students–Ontario (CFS–O) quickly responded, calling the initiative a “transparent attempt to bankrupt students’ unions in the province.” The statement further emphasized that all proposed changes are detrimental to students and campus workers.

“Students were not consulted in this process. The Ford government is looking to dismantle public post-secondary education and is attempting to eliminate the opposition to do it.”

Sami Pritchard, the National Executive Representative for the CFSO, criticized the decision as a “cynical move” from the government to “undermine” organizations poised to fight cuts to postsecondary education.

“Students remain undeterred and will unite with workers in Ontario to protect quality, public post-secondary education and defend students’ right to independent democratic representation,” Pritchard said in a statement posted online.

— Canadian Federation of StudentsOntario


The Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG), which is an opt-out U of T-levy group, released a statement on Facebook earlier today, criticizing the Ford government’s plans.

OPIRG especially expressed concerns about the future of student group funding and the services that they provide. Though students can already opt out of services, the provincial government’s execution of this policy makes it difficult for such groups to advocate for certain causes and resources.

The only difference between how this is set up now, and how the PC’s want it to be set up is that we no longer have that month long period to show students why they should continue to fund organizations like OPIRG, Students for Barrier-free Access or LGBTOUT. We no longer get the opportunity to have discussions with students face to face about what we actually do.”

OPIRG is part of an international network of Public Interest Research Groups, 11 of which are in Ontario.

— Ontario Public Interest Research Group


Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario President Fred Hahn slammed the government’s announcement as an “attack on student democracy on campuses.”

“These cuts were made without consultation with the University sector, and will have damaging impacts for students for a long time to come,” Hahn said in a statement posted on CUPE Ontario’s website. “Doug Ford’s insiders have attempted to cover up a devastating attack on students with a paper-thin discount on tuition that will cost students more in the long run.”

Hahn claimed that the government was “looking out for itself” with the decision to slash fees.

“Student democracy, through elections and referendums, should determine student fees, not government insiders,” Hahn said.

CUPE represents thousands of workers at U of T, including librarians, service workers, teaching assistants, exam invigilators, and student and postdoctoral course instructors.

— Fred Hahn, Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario President


Warren “Smokey” Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), echoed Hahn’s statement and described the government’s announcement as a “full frontal attack on democracy.”

“[The decision] turns legislature committee pre-budget hearings into a sham,” Thomas wrote on Twitter. “Ontario colleges and universities still have lowest per student funding in Canada. Student debt will not go down. No winners with today’s tuition cut announcement.”

OPSEU represents thousands of public sector employees in the province. The union represents Campus Police at U of T and research officers and associates at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

— Warren “Smokey” Thomas, Ontario Public Service Employees Union President


The Canadian University Press (CUP), a non-profit cooperative owned by student newspapers across the country, including The Varsity, said Thursday that student publications are “essential” services to people in postsecondary institutions, and expressed its disappointment in the announcement.

“Our members offer scrutiny to university and college administrations, ensuring that there is transparency in university governance,” CUP wrote. “However, most of our member papers rely on student fees to fund their work. Without access to this funding, Ontario student publications will not be able to operate.”

The organization also criticized the apparent lack of consultation with students as “further proof that the Ford government does not truly have the interests of students in mind.”

“This decision is a direct hit to institutional transparency, healthy democratic dialogues on campus, freedom of the press and the free speech that the Ford government claims so strongly to defend.”

— Canadian University Press executive


Statement by The Varsity on announcement by the Ford government

A letter from the editors

Statement by <i>The Varsity</i> on announcement by the Ford government

Today, the Ford government announced sweeping changes to the tuition and student fee frameworks at colleges and universities across the province.

Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Merrilee Fullerton stated that students will be able to opt out of fees that are deemed non-essential. The services that the province views as “essential” are those related to health and safety, like walksafe programs, athletics, and counselling. Universities and colleges will decide the rest.

The Varsity is extremely concerned about the impact these changes may have on the future of the student press in Ontario.

All students benefit from the student press. Recently, The Varsity broke the story of Muslim Students’ Association executives receiving surprise visits from law enforcement. We followed the progress of U of T’s controversial university-mandated leave of absence policy, and we examined the implications of the university’s investments in offshore tax havens.

Student journalists are often the only ones to hold colleges and universities accountable for their actions, but this policy may allow the schools themselves to determine whether or not student journalism is “essential.”

Student media is the platform for students to make their voices heard, and a fee opt-out could seriously threaten the future of our operations. A government that postures as an advocate for free speech on campus must recognize that student journalism is the bastion of campus free speech.

We call on the Ontario government to recognize that campus journalism is unquestionably an essential service. We are hopeful that the University of Toronto will recognize that The Varsity, like all campus media, is vital to the integrity of this institution as a stronghold of freedom of speech — and freedom of the press.

 Jack O. Denton, Editor-in-Chief & Reut Cohen, Managing Editor

Ontario universities must slash tuition by 10 per cent, non-needs-based OSAP to be eliminated, government says

Non-essential non-tuition fees no longer mandatory, potentially affecting student unions, Hart House

Ontario universities must slash tuition by 10 per cent, non-needs-based OSAP to be eliminated, government says

Ontario universities and colleges will have to slash domestic tuition by 10 per cent for the 2019–2020 academic year and freeze it for two years, according to an announcement made Thursday by Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Merrilee Fullerton.

Fullerton also made the surprise announcement that the government will be eliminating the non-needs-based portion of the Ontario Student Grant for recipients of the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).

The provincial government will also begin charging interest on student loans immediately after students complete full-time studies. Previously, OSAP included a six-month grace period after full-time studies in which loans were interest-free. This will “reduce complexity for students,” according to the release.

When asked how these cuts to OSAP will help students, Fullerton repeated that all Ontario students will still be eligible to apply for the program, but that the government will be focusing on helping lower-income students.

“Tuition was never free,” she added.

In response to a question about how universities and colleges will be expected to make up for lost revenue, Fullerton said, “There are different ways they can adapt… They will be able to determine what they need to do.”

Finally, the provincial government has also mandated that most non-tuition student fees will no longer be mandatory. This would apply to “non-essential” groups and services, which appear to range from student handbooks to club fees. The services identified as “essential” by the government include walksafe programs, counselling, athletics, and academic support.

Institutions will be required to create an online opt-out system for non-essential fees. However, the distinction of what falls under “essential” and “non-essential” will be made at the discretion of the institution. 

When asked by The Varsity if the government had consulted with universities and students, Fullerton affirmed that they had but did not provide specifics regarding which groups.

“We’re putting students first,” she added.

Official Opposition Critic for Colleges and Universities MPP Chris Glover told The Varsity that he had consulted with the Canadian Federation of Students and other student unions and groups immediately after learning of the tuition cuts.

“Students are not going to benefit from this, students are going to be the losers in this announcement.”

Opting out of student fees

The opt-out option will not apply to campus-wide services that are related to health and safety.

“Students are adults and we are treating them as such by giving them the freedom to clearly see where their fees are being allocated,” said Fullerton. She added that institutions will adapt and the government was trying to challenge them to innovate.

Fullerton clarified that it will be “up to the institutions” to decide the “essential categories for student fees and… fees that they will be able to opt out of.”

“There is leeway for the institutions to have a say in that.”

The historic policy decision on mandatory fees could mean that certain student groups will lose a debilitating portion of their funding if students choose to opt out of fees.

The University of Toronto Students’ Union’s (UTSU) 2017–2018 audited financial statements shows that about 72 per cent of its $2.2 million revenue came from student fees. UTSG students currently pay around $200 per semester to the UTSU, although $171.54 of that is refundable, including the Health and Dental Plan.

Hart House also heavily relies on mandatory fees, as its 2017–2018 budget states that 52 per cent of its $17.7 million revenue comes from students. The typical full-time UTSG undergraduate student pays $86.38 per semester, while full-time UTM and UTSC undergraduate students pay $2.65.

Tuition cuts

Based on the 2017 intake numbers, tuition fees, and operating expense budget, The Varsity estimates that the proposed 10 per cent cut to domestic tuition would cost the university more than $62.4 million in income from undergraduates alone. This number makes up 4.14 per cent of all student fee revenue the university received in 2017–2018.

According to The Varsity’s estimates, the cut would be equivalent to 10 per cent of U of T’s 2019–2020 projected provincial grants for general operations. This is about $10 million more than all OSAP loans awarded to first-year Arts & Science students in 2017.

Currently, the average domestic first-year Arts & Science undergraduate student at U of T pays about $6,780 and would see an annual savings of $678, with savings potentially increasing depending on year and program of study.

Students entering Rotman Commerce or deregulated programs, including computer science, paid more than $12,500 this academic year, and would therefore see a minimum saving of $1,250. Engineering students can expect an over $1,500 reduction from their over $15,000 annual tuition.

The Varsity has reached out to the UTSU and U of T Media Relations for comment.

This is a developing story. More to come. 

— With files from Kevin Lu and Julie Shi

Ontario government will cut university, college tuition by 10 per cent

Formal announcement, more details to come Thursday, international students not included

Ontario government will cut university, college tuition by 10 per cent

Beginning in the next academic year, students in postsecondary institutions across the province may be paying less in tuition fees.

According to a report from The Canadian Press, Premier Doug Ford’s provincial government will announce this Thursday that tuition fees for domestic students in Ontario will be slashed by 10 per cent.

This means that the average arts and science student in university would be able to save approximately $660, while a regular college student would save $340, according to the government.

The Progressive Conservatives will introduce a new tuition framework that will make the cuts effective by the 2019–2020 academic year. Tuition would then be frozen the following year.

International students are not covered by the plan.

Students, climate activists protest provincial climate plan at Queen’s Park

Ford’s plan lowers carbon footprint reduction target, includes funds for big polluters to cut emissions

Students, climate activists protest provincial climate plan at Queen’s Park

Students and climate activists braved the cold weather on January 11 to protest Premier Doug Ford’s climate plan at Queen’s Park as part of Fridays for Future, a global environmental movement started by 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

The movement encourages students to protest outside of federal or local government buildings on Fridays to urge politicians to create better policies addressing climate change and ensure a sustainable future. In a speech at the United Nations Climate Change Conference last December 14, Thunberg called upon world leaders to act on the effects of climate change, particularly targeting the personal interests of the one per cent.

“You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet,” Thunberg said in the speech, which went viral.

Her words inspired a movement of young people including Ava Lyall, a 17-year-old Grade 12 student at Adam Scott Collegiate in Peterborough, Ontario.

Lyall arrived at Queen’s Park with a number of elementary and high school students, some from as far as Peterborough, others from schools downtown, who skipped class Friday morning to support efficient climate action at the greater municipal, provincial, and federal levels.

“We have seen the choices of our parliament affecting what’s going on in Peterborough,” said Lyall. “Programs that were supposed to address climate change, such as bike lanes, that were to be implemented in Peterborough have been cancelled from cap and trade.”

Local politicians were also in attendance at the strike. MPP of Spadina—Fort York Chris Glover addressed the crowd, criticizing the decisions of the Ford government for combatting emissions and abandoning an effective climate action plan.

“This government has made a number of decisions, jeopardizing our future, our environment, and cancelling the cap and trade agreement,” said Glover.

“That’s had a really negative impact,” Glover said. “Not only on our environment because we are not reducing our carbon emissions as fast as we should be — it’s also had an impact on our economy because the money that was coming from the cap and trade system is going into environmental measures.”

Allie Rougeot, a member of the Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council’s Sustainability Commission, was also present at the protest. “As older students, it still really matters for us to show that we’re going to support them,” Rougeot said. “And also say that we’re also part of that generation that’s going to get severely impacted by the effects of climate change.”

Background on the climate plan

The Ford government unveiled its much-anticipated climate change plan on November 29. The plan is modelled after Australia’s carbon emissions reduction fund and features the Ontario Carbon Trust, a $350 million allotment toward large corporations to develop clean technology and reduce emissions overall.

The trust also includes a $50 million Ontario Reverse Auction, which awards businesses for sending in proposals to combat emission reduction.

Ford has been a perennial critic of the federal carbon tax plan, which he claimed was a main cause behind the November announcement that the General Motors plant in Oshawa would be closing this year, though there is no consensus on this.

The new plan was met with scrutiny from Ford’s opponents, including Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, who criticized its inefficiency and lower outcomes.

“We need a climate plan, not a litter-reduction plan. This is not a climate plan,” Schreiner said.

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna was also quick to criticize Ford’s plan, calling it “backwards.”

“All I know about Doug Ford’s plan — Premier Ford’s plan — is that they’re going backwards on climate action, that they’re making it free to pollute,” she said.

Ford’s government has reduced the 2030 provincial target for carbon footprint reduction to 18 megatonnes, or 30 per cent below 2005 emission levels. While this is lower than the previous government’s target of 37 per cent below 1990 levels, it remains in accordance with federal and international targets.

Progressive Conservative MPP Sam Oosterhoff speaks at UTSC round table on youth, politics

Niagara West—Glanbrook MPP on being the youngest MPP ever, role of faith in politics

Progressive Conservative MPP Sam Oosterhoff speaks at UTSC round table on youth, politics

MPP Sam Oosterhoff spoke on youth engagement in politics on the second day of a two-part event organized by the Ontario Progressive Conservative Campus Association (OPCCA) at UTSC. The event, held on November 21, followed an earlier one with MPP Aris Babikian.

As Parliamentary Assistant to Minister of Education Lisa Thompson and the youngest MPP to ever be elected to parliament, Oosterhoff shared his journey into politics and of campaigning as such a young Progressive Conservative candidate. He was elected to the riding of Niagara West—Glanbrook in 2016 at the age of 19.

Oosterhoff spoke about the lack of youth involvement in parliament, and engaged in a short Q&A session about global warming, the role of faith in politics, and the role of media.

When talking about why he got involved in politics, Oosterhoff said that the Loyola High School v Québec case was what made him want to get into politics.

This case refers to a 2015 religious freedom case that saw the Supreme Court rule in favour of a Catholic high school that wanted an exemption from Québec’s law, which states that religions must be taught from a secular perspective. The case was a controversial battle between religious freedom and the need to follow the law.

“I was about 14 years old at that time,” Oosterhoff said, “and my family is religious and I’m religious. And I thought it was so incredible. It was really shameful that the government had that much impact on people’s lives.”

Oosterhoff strongly believes that young people, no matter their political background, should be involved in politics. “I got involved in politics for a really simple reason: I believe in freedom,” he said.

“I believe that government has a role also to promote virtue and that it’s important that we have a compassionate and caring society for our most vulnerable.”

When asked if he’s treated any differently in parliament because of his young age, Oosterhoff spoke about his tough experience trying to get a foot through a door.

“There are unique challenges but there are also unique opportunities,” he said. “When I was first elected, there was definitely sort of this air of, you know, this kid, he’s going to come in, he’s going to trip over his shoelaces… he’s going to fall flat on his face and it’ll be hilarious and we’ll get rid of him and have a real person in there.”

“So what ended up happening was that it really set the bar low, so it wasn’t that hard to go ahead and win this thing.”

Oosterhoff also discussed the role that faith plays in politics. While he believes in the separation of the church and the state, he also said that it would be naïve to assume that his faith doesn’t have an impact on his political values.

“As a Christian, I believe Christ called me to love the most vulnerable in our society and help people with passion and to look after the poor and the sick and the lonely,” said Oosterhoff. “To say that you want me to leave those values at home would be naïve.”

He also acknowledged the negative impact that his faith has had on his political career. “I’ve had interactions where I’d say people mischaracterize my faith, and turn that into a weapon against me, like, ‘Oh you’re a Christian so you must be a bigot.’”

“So, I found that very detrimental, because you can sometimes try to have a conversation with someone and they just view you through this very narrow lens of stereotypes,” said Oosterhoff.

Oosterhoff has received backlash from the public over his unclear views on whether homosexuality is a sin, though he has asserted that he is “absolutely not” a homophobe.

While talking about the role that media has played in his life and his political career, Oosterhoff recalled an interviews he had with the Toronto Star while he was campaigning, and talked about how media has played an interesting role in his life.

“They did a Toronto Star article on me, and they had a lot of outright false stuff. They called my niece by the wrong name, they had this whole thing where they called my father a soy bean farmer — he does poultry. They got all these things wrong about me, and so it’s very difficult to not to be cynical when you see these things,” said Oosterhoff.

However, he did acknowledge how social media also has a lot of positive aspects. “A lot of the media is actually trying to do a lot of good work, and we have to be gracious about that and not just name them malicious. Social media also gives us a valuable tool.”

Ending the discussion, Oosterhoff encouraged everyone to contribute to politics in whichever way they can. “Everyone can contribute, but the ways you contribute can be different. Different people have different strengths, but you can always contribute.”