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The University of British Columbia - A coalition of UBC students, staff, and community groups is planning a series of events Tuesday and Wednesday to protest against rising tuition fees, including a carnival and a free pancake breakfast for the campus community.

“Students are feeling pretty demoralized right now,” says lead organizer Kate Woznow. “We’ve been told that fees are going up again next year, although the administration won’t tell us how much, and many of us are already at the breaking point. The atmosphere is tense, to say the least.”

Mike Bruce, another of the event’s organizers, underscored that Tuesday’s carnival and Wednesday’s breakfast are intended to provide a positive arena for protest, adding “everyone’s depressed enough right now. We don’t exactly need another rally preaching doom and gloom.” Organizers also hope that these events will serve a rare opportunity for students to sit down and share some of their concerns with University officials in a less confrontational setting. UBC President Martha Piper and Vice-President of Students Brian Sullivan are among the guests that have been invited to come share a few flapjacks with their students.

Tuition fees are expected to rise between 20 and 30 percent at UBC next year. Students in BC have already gone from paying an average tuition of $2,166 in 2001 to $4,140 in 2002-2003, above the national average.

Woznow says that recent revelations in The Vancouver Sun and National Post that UBC has manipulated information with regards to classroom size and course availability have only heightened students’ anxiety surrounding their educations. “Students feel deceived,” says Woznow, adding that “the University has told us for three years that tuition increases would improve our access to education and would improve course availability. They also told us that they’ve been succeeding. And now it turns out that they have been lying to us. It doesn’t give students and their families a whole lot of confidence in the quality of education at UBC.”

The Carnival, from 10 AM until 2 PM on Tuesday and in conjunction with the Canadian Federation of Students’ “Bring Tuition Fees Back to Earth” tour, seeks to make light of the uncertainty surrounding access to education in British Columbia. The pancake breakfast, which takes place from 10 until noon, will allow students to fill up on carbs before they board busses to join thousands of others for a protest march at 1 o’clock at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Both events are taking place at the SUB plaza at UBC.

Media contact:
Mike Bruce 778-893-9607 or coalition against tuition increases