February 12, 2002
CUPE Local 2396 member Giles Grierson, who works for the Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group, has joined the approximately 20 university students who occupied Premier Gordon Campbells constituency office this morning. The students say they wont leave until they have a conference call with Campbell to discuss the governments plan to lift the freeze on tuition fees.
Grierson says he decided to join the protest because Its pretty clear that when you raise tuition fees, poor people dont go to school. I used to live in Ontario, and I saw what tuition increases did to university demographics there.
My message to Gordon Campbell is that we dont want universities to be corporate training grounds for rich kids. We want true universal education, not simply business schools.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees understands the frustration of these
university students, and stands in solidarity with them, says CUPE BC secretary treasurer Colleen Jordan. Its just outrageous that people are forced to take such actions to try to get this Liberal government to listen to their concerns.
CUPE represents thousands of members who are also teaching assistants in B.C. colleges and universities. Increasing tuition fees just takes a bigger bite out of their wages, she notes.
University of British Columbia student Julie Devaney says the students are spelling out the word LIAR in the window of Campbells office, using some of the 5000 postcards to the Premier that students have signed to protest the tuition hike.
Contact: Teresa Marshall, CUPE Communications at 604-291-1940 ext. 223.