Stick it to the BOG: Down with Cuts and Tuition Fees

Students and workers at the University of Guelph will be protesting budget cuts and tuition fee increases on Thursday, February 26th at 10:30 am in the University Centre Courtyard. The Board of Governors (BOG), the highest decision making body at the University of Guelph, is planning to increase tuition fees by over $200 per student while implementing almost $10 million in cuts to programs and services at UofG.

The Pay More Get Less campaign—a coalition including the Central Student Association (CSA), OPIRG Guelph, CUPE 1334, CUPE 3913, and the Guelph Student Mobilization Committee—is organizing the rally.

“Tuition fee increases make university education inaccessible while privileging the rich who can afford the ticket price of tuition,” said Sonali Menezes, the External Affairs Commissioner at the CSA, the undergraduate students’ union. “Students are paying more, but getting less. Budget cuts translate into a loss of course diversity, larger class sizes, more online courses, and attacks on job security for workers, all lowering the quality of our education.”

From 2014 to 2017 the BOG is making cuts of $25.4 million to UofG’s operating budget. While the administration claims these cuts are a response to budget shortfalls, in 2011 and 2012, the University of Guelph had surpluses of $25 million and $26 million.

“Despite these surpluses, workers at my local are facing wage restraints, and watching our work be contracted out, costing the university more money than if we, public sector workers, did the work,” said Janice Folk-Dawson, President of CUPE 1334, the union of Trades and Maintenance workers at UofG.

The Pay More Get Less campaign just received results from a FIPPA request submitted in December to find out how much UofG has spent on communications consultants for President Vaccarino this year. The result is that the University is authorized to pay communications firm, MacPhie, $56,500 to assist Dr. Vaccarino in speech writing.

“This money should instead be used to better the quality of education at UofG. $56,500 could pay for 12 teaching assistant positions or 9 sessional lecturer positions during a semester,” said Peter Miller, the CSA Academic and University Affairs Commissioner.

The Stick it to the BOG rally will be occurring while the BOG Finance Committee meets to discuss the 2015-2016 budget. Pay More Get Less will be lobbying for students’ and workers’ interests at the meeting by advocating for a freeze in tuition fees and an end to budget cuts.

Government funding used to account for 80 percent of university budgets in Ontario. However, today public funding accounts for less than 50 percent. The Pay More Get Less campaign believes that instead of increasing tuition fees and cutting budgets, the University of Guelph must join students and workers in calling on the provincial government to provide more public funding for post-secondary education.

For more information about the rally please contact:

Peter Miller

Academic and University Affairs Commissioner at the Central Student Association

Cell: (226) 500-3433