Since the late 90s, students in Newfoundland and Labrador have consistently won tuition fee reductions, tuition fee freezes, improved student financial assistance, and increased funding for our post-secondary institutions. These victories are a direct result of our unity and our collective action.
This year, students ran a comprehensive provincial election campaign, we lobbied the new government and university administration, and continued to take action ahead of the provincial budget. Along with labour and community groups, we’ve been at the forefront of the fight against regressive cuts that will negatively impact the economy and the people of this province.
Over the past several months, Memorial University’s administration has made it clear that they are interested in hiking tuition fees for all students. From the university president’s comments in academic council meetings, to the provost’s well-publicised blog post, it was clear that the administration was interested in downloading the cost of cuts to public funding onto the backs of students. Students fought back against these proposals, and we won.
At Thursday’s Board of Regents’ meeting the Board chose not to move forward with any new fee hikes. This a win for students, and for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. As MUN Faculty Association Vice President, JohnChurch, said at our rally yesterday, investments in education pay off in the long run through increased economic activity and reduced expenditures on health care and the justice system. A tuition fee freeze benefits us all.
Everybody who has taken action since the provincial austerity budget in April budget, students, community and labour groups and concerned citizens alike, can all share in this major victory for Newfoundland and Labrador. Collective action works. If we keep up the pressure, we can reverse unfair cuts and build the fairer more prosperous Newfoundland and Labrador that we all deserve.
However, Thursday’s victory is bittersweet, and our work is not over. Though the budget contained no new fee hikes, it did not reverse the scheduled hikes for medical and graduate students, and students living on campus. We have our work cut out for us over the next few months to encourage the Board of Regents to reverse these cuts, and to continue to prioritize accessibility and quality over administrative excess.
Join the growing movement to Save Public Education in the province (sign up for our mailing list here).
By working together, we can build a system of accessible, high-quality post-secondary education in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Newfoundland and Labrador Chairperson
Canadian Federation of Students