SFU to rally for education: Will Kwantlen?

November 7, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

(Provided by the SFU Community Coaltion's education rally campaign)

Simon Fraser University will host a student-led education rally Wednesday to protest funding cuts to universities and issues surrounding student debt.

The SFU Community Coalition aims to raise awareness about the current state of education funding in B.C., in the hopes of making post-secondary education a high priority in B.C.’s next provincial budget.

The Nov. 10 rally, scheduled for the Convocation Mall at 3 p.m., is an offspring of the Canadian Federation of Students’ student debt campaign, which focuses on similar issues and unites students in an attempt to induce legislative education reforms.

Unlike other universities across Canada, Kwantlen has yet to speak out about those issues.

“The KSA will have a campaign, it’s just a matter of to what extent students grasp it and to what extent we are able to use our capacities to the fullest in the KSA,” said Bradley Head, the KSA’s director of academic affairs, and the chair of the academic issues committee.

The capacity of the KSA is currently limited: internal politics have rendered council ineffective since the start of the fall semester, and there haven’t been any official meetings since September, according to Head.

“We’ve been in discussion with SFU a little bit, but not to the extent where we can do any big campaign,” he said.

Head said that the KSA would like to look into receiving more operating funds and grants for the university, increasing class sizes and making student loans more accessible.

These are similar to the issues being brought up on Wednesday on SFU, along with reducing student loan interest rates, and increasing funding to StudentAid B.C., a government program that helps students with the cost of post-secondary education.

The provincial budget will be finalized mid-November, so students have limited time to voice the changes they’d like to see in the 2011 budget.

But change is possible. And with Premier Gordon Campbell’s recent announcement that he will be resigning, there may be hope for increased funding towards education.

“I think that [with] the change in premier, there’s a lot of positive that could come from it for the school,” said Head.

“Depending on who is placed in that position, their opinions based on student debt and the way the education system’s currently funded, [it] could massively change any chances the student unions have of decreasing or maintaining current tuition,” Head speculated.

Head said he hopes the issue be brought up within the KSA in the next two to three weeks.

“[But] that’s if council meets,” he said. “If council doesn’t meet, there’s no way to actually do the campaign.”