The true price of happiness

By James Keller

Tuition increases come but once a year, and every year the Students’ Union holds protests and forums to try and stop them, and perhaps with good reason. However, there is a greater burden on the pockets of students that has gone unchallenged.

Until now.

Within the hustle and bustle of students and faculty in the MacEwan Student Centre lie larger increases that affect students at the street level. In September of 1999, the Happy Plate at the Oriental Wok was a reasonable $4.75. In March of 2003, it is $5.50. Quite a staggering jump. In fact, the increases that Oriental Wok customers face have been proportionally larger than tuition.

This increase represents a 16 per cent increase over three years. Tuition, on the other hand, has risen only 13 per cent over the same period of time, from $3,650 in 1999 to $4, 120 this year. While both represent increases far above the rate of inflation, this disparity cannot be ignored.

If it increased at the same rate as tuition, the Happy Plate would currently be $5.36. And if it increased at the rate of inflation according to the Bank of Canada’s Inflation Calculator, the Happy Plate should actually cost $5.25 (tuition, if you were wondering, according to said bank, should have cost $3,935 for the current academic year).

The price of the Happy Plate is overinflated by 4.76 per cent. And most importantly, this unreasonable and illogical increase has been felt by those who need to feel happy (hence the name of the dish) the most: students.

And yet there are no protests through the hallways of MSC, and there are no tents where starving students now sit, even as I write this in front of the Oriental Wok. A great injustice indeed.

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