Hundreds of students from all over British Columbia gathered at the B.C. Legislature today to protest the lack of proper funding for post-secondary education and the rising cost of getting a post secondary education in B.C.
Students were joined at the rally by faculty and CUPE members from around the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island as well as community and labour representatives.
CUPE 2081 president Jerry Oetting, who was at the rally, said that the issues raised by students are of concern to the entire post-secondary education community.
“The lack of even inflationary funding increases means that our institutions are looking to cut more than two per cent from expenses. Student debt is at an all time high in British Columbia. Student aid has been dramatically cut. And costs for students from tuition to books to interest rates on loans are going up,” said Oetting.
Oetting said that the reduction of the Annual Capital Allowance to 25 per cent of previous levels is creating further budget shortfalls as institutes divert operating funds to repair crumbling infrastructure.
Mark Hancock, CUPE BC secretary-treasurer, said that investing in public post-secondary education should be a no-brainer for any government. “Student demand is way beyond what our colleges and universities can offer with the inadequate funding levels they currently have. It is an outrage that Camosun is forced to cut 245 student spaces in the Fall of 2011 – despite increased student demand.”
The Canadian Federation of Students local 75 from Camosun College in Victoria handed out information this morning at entrances to the Lansdowne Campus of Camosun College informing students, staff, faculty and administration of the rally at noon today.