SU to host a student rally on the Alberta Student Day of Action
By Eula Mengullo, March 26 2023—
The Students’ Union (SU) will be holding a student rally on the Alberta Student Day of Action on March 27. The rally will take place in the quad between TFDL and Mac Hall at 12 p.m. This is to urge the provincial government to freeze the consecutive hikes in tuition fees and reverse budget cuts to post-secondary education.
In an interview with the Gauntlet, vice-president external Mateusz Salmassi discussed the significance of mobilizing students in light of the upcoming provincial election.
“We as students are at a breaking point with 18 per cent of us reporting that we may need to drop out because we could not afford the university’s latest and fourth consecutive tuition hike,” said Salmassi. “Another 67 per cent of students report that these latest tuition increases are causing moderate to severe strain on our finances.”
He further addressed that despite the latest tuition hike, students are not necessarily seeing an increase in university or government support.
“Students are paying more and receiving less from the university and the provincial government,” said Salmassi. “The affordability supports from the province are woefully inadequate and do nothing to help the vast majority of students right now,” said Salmassi.
While the provincial government introduced a two per cent tuition cap in February, this will not be implemented until the next academic year in Fall 2024.
With the provincial election in May, Salmassi noted that this is a critical time to mobilize for student concerns.
“Now is exactly the time that we mobilize at an even greater scale to demand that all the politicians vying for student votes have actual demands that can actually benefit our lives.
“Students can’t afford to sit this one out,” urged Salmassi.
He further highlighted the political leverage that student mobilizations have in the city that could tangibly impact provincial policy.
“The reality is that the city of Calgary is a battleground for the provincial election,” Salmassi said.
“If students can mobilize on a mass scale for a rally, this demonstrates to politicians that students can mobilize on a mass scale to the polls as voters. What we’re trying to show is that students have power,” he continued.
Salmassi elaborated that rallies put media pressure on the provincial government while demonstrating that students can mobilize at a mass scale, hence giving students the ability to sway election results.
On the Alberta Student Day of Action, the SU intends to send the government a clear and direct message.
“Students are angry and at a breaking point,” said Salmassi. “We’re tired of receiving one of the largest cuts to post-secondary funding in history while also paying the biggest tuition hikes while also receiving a tax hike.”
Salmassi urges students to stand in solidarity to defend their concerns and protect student dignity.
“You shouldn’t be able to sit idly by while so many on our campus are choosing between food, tuition and rent,” he said.
Currently, there are no tuition caps for international students and domestic students will still be hit with the January approved 5.5 per cent tuition increase come September.
On the same day, the SU will also be launching their get-out-the-vote campaign.
For more information on the rally, visit the Students’ Union’s Instagram page.