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"Darrell Dexter, will you listen to us now?”

Students Concerned Government Not Listening to Stakeholders

by Canadian Federation of Students

Photo: CFS
Photo: CFS

HALIFAX – This morning Halifax-area students participated in a flash mob outside of One Government Place while former Bank of Montreal Executive Vice-President Tim O’Neill presented his recommendations from the Report on the University System in Nova Scotia to the Nova Scotia legislative Standing Committee on Human Resources. Students dressed up as Tim O’Neill, held banners and handed out leaflets.

“Students are here to pose the question, ‘Darrell Dexter, will you listen to us now?’” said Elise Graham, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia. “We feel like we’re being left out of important decisions regarding the future of university funding and tuition fees.”

The Report on the University System in Nova Scotia, commissioned by the Dexter government, recommends lifting the current tuition fee freeze and allowing fees to increases without government regulation as well as policies that would result in massive increases in student debt. Despite concerns raised by stakeholders regarding his recommendations, O’Neill remains on contract as a government consultant on the university system in the province.

A public opinion poll released earlier this month found that 83 percent of Nova Scotians support reducing tuition fees. The same poll showed that 50 percent of respondents trust professors and support staff most to develop standards in post-secondary education and 19 percent trust students. Only 11 percent expressed confidence in university presidents and 9 percent said that they trusted the government most.

“Despite the obvious public support for reducing tuition fees the provincial government seems to be laying the groundwork for funding cuts and tuition fee increases,” said Graham. “On February 2 students and our supporters will take to the streets for a Reduce Fees-Drop Debt Day of Action to make sure that the government hears our message loud and clear.”

As of yet, the government has not indicated when or if they will negotiate a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the universities regarding university funding and tuition fees, or who would be participating in that process. The current three-year MOU ensures a fully funded tuition fees freeze for all students and expires March 31, 2011.

For further information: Elise Graham, Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia, 476-7257 Rebecca Rose, Maritimes Organiser, 488-2122

Founded in 1981, the Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student organisation, uniting more than one-half million students in ten provinces.

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Topics: Education
377 words

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