Secret tuition deal kills school spirit dead

By Editorial

Life at the U of C is pretty halcyon.

People drift through halls, classes happen, and exhaust fills the sky as students split at quittin’ time. It’s a rare occasion that students show any other side to themselves than overwhelming haste and apathy… and that time should be rapidly approaching.

And so, with this year’s BoG meeting nearing, are any other students asking themselves why they’ve heard nothing about it? The answer to that is easy: neither Administration nor your own SU wants you to.

And while it may not be surprising that Administration isn’t encouraging hundreds of students to attend, it should surprise that you’ve seen nothing from the SU… until you find out that your SU has already negotiated this year’s tuition increase. Qu’elle surprise? Non. Last year was a brilliant exception, not a rule.

For the entire month leading up to the Mar. 26 Board of Governors meeting, students rallied together, united in the goal of pushing for a zero tuition increase. And while over 10,000 students lent their John Hancock to a petition, they did more than that–they camped out, they marched and, most noticably, they demanded answers from Administration. After 10 years of maximum tuition increases, students were furious, and thanks to a well run Students’ Union anti-tuition campaign, there was nary a student that didn’t know about BoG meeting. Thousands turned out, and roared approval as 100 per cent was defeated. And then they groaned having only clawed it back to 80 per cent. And while the monetary victory was nominal, it was one of the greatest moral victories this campus has ever known.

Every year, except for last year, the SU and Administration have sat down and discussed tuition, the results of which, have been spotty at best. Last years "personal" tuition war, which involved half the students at this institution, framed this years talks. So much so, that the SU whole heartedly supports a tuition increase to get back in Admin’s good books. According to the SU’s actions, we were very wrong to exercise our democratic rights last year.

The SU fails to understand that the fight over tuition stopped being about money a long time ago–it is about philosophy. And, while SU Pres South has stated he will vote no to his SU-Admin engineered hike, the SU part in this mess slaps that philosophy in the face to save us dimes.

And this kind of deal making has happened before. The ’96/97 SU president voted for a maximum tuition increase on the handshake agreement of "consultation" in the next round. The next year, the BoG listened to a full eight minutes of presentation before voting for a full increase. How impossible it all seemed at the time.

We may be getting ahead of ourselves. We don’t know what the deal is, but, then again how could we? We hope the increase is as little as possible. We hope as many students as possible show up to ask White questions about the deal on Friday at the Ballroom.

Most of all, we hope students once again get a chance to feel part of this university and come out to the Feb. 4 BoG meeting.