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Students in Halifax march against political apathy

by Sima Sahar ZerehiOcean-Leigh Peters

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Students from campuses across Halifax rally against political apathy on rising tuition, student debt and falling education standards.

K'JIPUKTUK (Halifax) - A loud contingent of students chanted, drummed and waved giant puppets, rallying from campus to campus on Tuesday as part of a campaign to draw attention to political apathy on student issues.

The group started their march at the University of King’s College, making stops at Dalhousie University and Saint Mary’s University, and finishing at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

Jesse Laufer, vice president external of the King’s Students’ Union says, “The aim of today’s rally is to spread awareness about student causes, namely tuition fees, disenfranchisement and politician apathy.”

Following a summer of consultations with various political parties, campus groups launched a campaign in September, which included a drive to get out the student vote.

“We’ve seen cuts continuing for 20 years, we’ve seen memorandums of understanding being created out of our demands and then blatantly ignored,” says Laufer.

Refusing to be sidelined, students took their concerns about tuition hikes, student debt and falling education standards to the streets with banners, placards, chants and speeches aimed at raising awareness.

Alia Karim, a graduate student in Dalhousie’s environmental studies department, says students like her are having a hard time coping with the financial stress of getting an education.

“We need to have a lot more supports for students financially in order for them to do well,” says Karim.

Other rally participants talked about declining education standards.

"We’re losing professors, we’re losing courses,” says Jacqueline Skiptunis who represents students in the faculty of arts and social sciences at Dalhousie, “as a result of that student morale is completely down.”

The rally aimed to change the culture of isolation on campuses by bringing students from various schools together around a common cause.

“I really appreciate the collaboration between each university,” says Jennifer Nowoselski, a fourth year political science student at Dalhousie.

“In the past, universities have worked separately on issues,” she says “there’s 35,000 university students in Halifax, if we all get together and work on these things we can really create change.”

Next, student groups will take their campaign to the new Liberal government, greeting them at Province House when the legislature resumes on November 28.


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Topics: Education
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