, eight years and counting. Along the way I’ve attended universities and community colleges in Alberta, Texas, and now Ontario. Throughout this time, it seems that tuition was predictably raised every year. Of course the students Unions of the various institutions were always opposed to these increases, but they were nonetheless powerless to stop them.
Only recently, have I started to think about this systemic power imbalance. I am now attending the University of Toronto, and the administration has predictably raised tuition for next year, but has also dealt students a double whammy with a fixed fee program. This means that whether you take five courses or three courses, you pay full tuition.
In the last year, I have been reading a lot of radical writing and educating myself on the realities of globalization, capitalism, and the political process in Canada. This new found knowledge spurred me to attend a rally in opposition to the administration’s flat fee proposal.
It was wonderful to see students rallying behind each other to oppose an undemocratic decision that was essentially a money grab. That being said, did I think that the rally would change anything? Sadly no, and my cynicism was justified, as the motion passed 11 to 3.
This got me thinking about the legitimacy of the University administration. Who are they accountable to? Certainly not students, who do not elect them. It could be argued quite convincingly that the administration is much more accountable to bank CEOs and other powerful businessmen, as those are the people who sit on the board of governors. Corporate interests are almost without exception diametrically opposite to most students interests.
In the future, if students are to have any hope in actually having a say in their education, universities need to be democratized. That means students directly elect the administration. How many tuition raises would there be then?
I’ve been in University for a long time now