A militant student organization on campus has declared war on the University of Calgary administration if they do not concede to demands of lowered student fees and the removal of corporate sponsorship. The student group, known as the Students and Teachers Union for Financial Freedom formed after the Board of Governors approved a 2.15 per cent tuition hike on Dec. 6, 2012 — days before final exams and winter holidays. STUFF emerged to address the persistent trend in gouging students and underpaying instructors while administrators line their pockets.
“A university education is no longer associated with critical thinkers and community leaders,” said Melanie Black, sub-commander and spokesperson for STUFF. “Now, this university has become a financial institution preoccupied with making money for a bloated administrative staff.”
Graffiti on the Building on the Vision campaign monument outside of the Science A building denotes the growing unrest on campus. A once touted apathetic student body is now brimming with anger over the blatant mismanagement of student funds by university executives.
Last week, third-year political science student Nelson Hoffman was arrested for hurling eggs at the numerous Bentleys and BMWs parked in the admin wing.
“This disregard for students’ financial woes has gone way too far,” he said from the Mustard Seed shelter where he has been living since he was kicked off campus. “This flaunting consumption of our student fees is not only utterly disrespectful, it is also disgusting and stupid.”
On Monday, a group of 2,000 students protested outside of Science A, in front of the Building on the Vision campaign monument that stands as an honorific to the university’s various corporate sponsors.
“No more will we stand by and allow greed to infiltrate our institutions of learning,” declared Black to the angry mob who began throwing Molotov cocktails at administrative staff members passing by.
“On our Facebook page, we have a list of names and photos of the top administrators at the U of C and we will be releasing more of their personal information to the public if our demands are not met,” said the balaclava-clad Black, who is using an alias for obvious reasons.
The STUFF Facebook page has 14,560 likes to date. The site lists administrators and their official wages, along with the personal wages of their corporate allies.
“The beauty of the digital age is that we have all of this information out there, and people are finally starting to utilize it for the good,” said Black referring to the ease at which people can be traced online through social media and other websites. She is careful not to reveal exactly what is being done with this highly sensitive information, however. “Let’s just say that knowledge is power.”
The once belligerent attitude of administrative staff at the U of C is beginning to show signs of weakness under the attack of the incendiary student protests. Carol Edict, chief executive officer of student finances, who is notorious for her earlier comments regarding student financial woes is now pleading with student leaders to sit down for negotiations. “We are willing to come to some sort of agreement with students over the tuition hike,” she said on Monday, Jan. 8, “but we must first have their promise that they will take down the website.”
When questioned by news media in early December about the tuition hike and potential student reaction, Edict’s reply — “Let them eat ichiban noodles” — intensified student unrest and drove sides further apart. Edict has since retracted her statement and apologized for her insensitivity.
This olive branch, however, is not having the effect administrators would have hoped. “If they think we will be fooled by half-assed concessions or individual pay-offs, they’re sadly mistaken,” said Black.
Students and staff can expect an increased presence of law enforcement officials on campus in upcoming days.
“They can bring in the military for all we care,” said Black. “We will not be silenced. We will not compromise until the filth of human greed is eradicated from this institution.”