AMS to hold rally protesting tuition hikes

On Monday at 11:45 a.m., the AMS is hosting a rally to protest the international tuition hikes and they want you to come.

On Tuesday, the university’s Finance and Property Committee will decide whether or not to recommend that the Board of Governors approve the proposed international tuition increases. Arno Rosenfeld, a fourth-year political science major who has been hired by the AMS to run their Afford UBC campaign against tuition increases, hopes the rally will provide a way for students to make their voices heard before the committee makes their recommendation.

The rally will feature various speakers, sign-making as well as free food and hot drinks. Afterwards, students will be invited to the AMS’s “Mail for Martha” letter drop where they will deliver all the letters that students have either written or signed to the president’s office on the top floor of Koerner Library. Over the course of the last week, they have already collected over 500 letters.

The location of the rally — inside the AMS Student Nest — is also something Rosenfeld feels is especially significant.

“We’re kind of combining the importance of students being central on campus in our building that we helped build and we’re mobilizing to show the administration the importance of students and what students think about these increases,” said Rosenfeld.

The rally will provide a platform for students to showcase their unity in opposition of international tuition hikes. Many undergraduate societies have been involved in opposing the tuition increases and have held their own consultation events. Leaders of these societies may be speaking at the rally along with AMS President Aaron Bailey.

“The fact that you get so many different constituencies all on the same page really goes to show that the university has not adequately consulted students and not adequately justified the tuition increases,” said Rosenfeld. “The students are really passionate that these increases are not only unjust, but are also going to have a really serious negative impact on the university.”

Representatives from the AMS’s counterpart on the Okanagan campus — the UBC Student Union Okanagan — will also be attending the rally. 

“They’ve reached out and pledged their support to the Afford Campaign,” said Bailey. “They will actually be travelling out here for the rally on Monday to come and show solidarity. Naturally, they’re affected by the tuition increases as much as students on the Vancouver campus are.”

The AMS also wants this rally to attract the attention of the wider province. Rosenfeld cited a recent report released by the province showing that advanced education is one of the things British Columbians felt most passionate funding.

“It shows that British Columbians really care about higher education and as the most important university in the province, we think it’s really important that we get the message out to the public about what’s going on here,” said Rosenfeld.

Overall, Rosenfeld hopes this rally will be a positive experience for everyone who attends.

“We don’t want this to be everyone getting together and feeling sad about the tuition increases. But instead, students get together and feel unity across the student body and feel like they have a voice that can count for something — then our goal is to make it count by forcing the university to re-consider its current position,” said Rosenfeld.