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I’ve been pretty busy recently with activity in Ottawa so I haven’t been able to post all that often. However:

I heard that recently there was an occupation of the presidents office at New College at U of T to protest a hike in residence fees. My understanding of this is that New College fucked up and is charging the students for this. This is all well and good, except that tuition fees are already astronomically high as it is and not everyone is rich and middle class. All the criticisms of this protest I’ve ever heard are that the protesters were immature and shouting and being in the office of the president are bad things and because of this, the police were justified in removing them. This creates quite the double standard because if a bunch of police officers were in my house because I was committing some kind of scam and I forcibly removed them I would soon be unconscious on the floor. In fact, the only reason why an authority would ever get upset over the means used to protest it is if these means have a chance of changing things. Pacifism is fine as a representation of values contrary to what those in power hold (wars, globaliation, etc.) but the chances of it accomplishing anything are pretty slim. There’s obviously a couple example of it working, but there are countless many more of it failing. Shouting in the office of the president is not even violent unless you consider the noise impacting people ears to be violence. People suggest that these students should have created some kind of petition and be all polite about it so it would have been that much easier for Mr. President to crumple it up and throw it in the trash. What exactly do these universities need so much money for anyways? Is it for them to get rid of all the tenured professors and replace them with over-worked sessional instructors? I know Carleton does this, so they clearly do not need to money to improve education. Far more likely, the money is used to give contracts to companies like Aramark and Coca-Cola at the expense of the students. Aramark, a major food-service provider on campuses and prisons across the continent is being watched like a hawk by Human Rights Watch and other organizations. I can’t speak for U of T, but Carleton gave those guys a 10 year exclusivity contract that says nobody is allowed to compete. And when I say nobody, I mean NOBODY. Want to have a bake sale? That’s competition. What to have a movie night on campus with your own food that you give to others in attendance? That’s competition. I volunteer with a vegan pay-what-you-can soup kitchen on campus and we have to prepare our food off campus and drive it over every day because cooking on campus would compete with this company. Coke sucks for obvious reasons too. The situation seems to me to be this:

-universities give lots of money to large companies to dominate campus at the expense of student-run clubs and organiations

-universities take money away from hiring professors and allowing them to do a quality job at the expense of students

-universities hike up student fees to pay their buddy companies at the expense of students

-students lambast those who speak up about this for being too radical and, God forbid, shout about it

-international students who come to study in Canada can only really work on campus and for minimum wage and can’t exactly afford to pay for this bullshit like many privileged people can

Who else sees a problem with this? Why is the money being allocated to making the universities richer and the students and education poorer? Education is a universal human right and why are universities favouring money over rights? I was talking to some other Carleton students about this and they said that we need to occupy the president’s office here. The methods of these U of T students are constantly attacked on the grounds that it was disruptive and so on and so on, but isn’t that what actually causes change? The reason the president reacted in such as way was because he felt the pressure, but fortunately he had is loyal students to resort to name calling and attack the protesters on childish groups (They’re stupid!). I personally don’t think these students did anything wrong, and if anything, they should have been more drastic.  How else is anything going to get done?

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