For too long, students have faced the burden of high tuition costs. Yet the tuition hikes keep coming.
In spring 2020, the Simon Fraser University board of governors voted in favour of a budget that raised domestic by 2% and international tuition by 4%, despite classes having transitioned to online instruction only a week earlier and as students were being thrusted into unstable financial situations because of the pandemic.
This comes after a year where increases occurred up to 20% the previous year for some international students, and 2% for domestic students.
Students at SFU find these actions by the university absolutely reprehensible, and the Simon Fraser Student Society is taking action. As a result of SFU’s inactivity in bringing tuition costs down, the SFSS board of directors has decided to put forward a motion for at the 2020 SFSS annual general meeting on Oct. 26 to condemn Simon Fraser University for increasing tuition during a global pandemic.
The SFSS represents and advocates for the interests of undergraduate students at SFU, and is responsible for facilitating collective action by undergraduate students at SFU.
Students are upset and outraged by the University Administration's constant exploitation of undergrads through skyrocketing tuition costs for domestic students, and, especially for international students; students want to take action. In the April 2020 SFSS COVID-19 survey, 35% of students indicated that they were in an unpredictable financial situation, and that they were unsure if they would be able to continue attending SFU.
For decades, student organizers and activists have been urging the University to freeze tuition. Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for a tuition freeze is crystal clear, as students could face the possibility of yet another tuition hike in the 2020-21 SFU budget.
The SFU administration can, and will, continue to increase tuition if students do not stand up and demand action be taken.
Fortunately, the 2020 SFSS AGM is an opportunity for students to send, unified message to the SFU Administration that the undergraduate student population will not accept SFU’s continued exploitation of domestic and international students any longer, and to call on the board of governors to eliminate the possibility of tuition increases for the 2020-21 budget and recognize the impact the pandemic is having on students.
Students can, and must, send a strong message of condemnation to the University. We make up the majority of the SFU community, and we will be heard.
We are confident that a vote passed by the student body will be the launching point of a successful campaign for SFU to freeze tuition rates for upcoming years, and roll back increases in the near future.
The SFSS AGM will be happening completely online on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020.
Gabe Liosis, vice-president of university relations, Simon Fraser Student Society board of directors