This past January, the Ontario government announced changes to post-secondary education which greatly affects students’ access to OSAP and student services. These changes include:
- The “Student Choice Initiative”: an attack on students’ unions by making some of our levies subject to an opt-out period
- Cuts to OSAP grants and loans
- Cuts to college and university budgets, which will result in larger class sizes, more deferred maintenance and even greater exploitation of workers on campus
The “Student Choice Initiative” is a thinly-veiled attempt to destroy the power of students’ unions. The reality is that every year students elect their representatives and vote on the direction of their students’ unions, including the option of determining membership levies. This government has no right to interfere with the way our organizations operate.
We The Students is a campaign led by YUGSA, the York Federation of Students (YFS), and levied student organizations to demand a stop to the government’s attacks on our colleges, universities and students’ unions.
Students’ unions were created to voice concerns on issues such as rising tuition fees, student debt, sexual violence on campuses, mental health, and more. At YUGSA, we deliver important student services and advocacy, including:
- Graduate student representation on university decision-making bodies (e.g. Senate, Faculty of Graduate Studies)
- A graduate student council with representatives from all programs
- Funding for departmental graduate student associations and clubs
- A health and dental plan
- Funding for students to attend conferences, support thesis work, develop skills, and more
- Emergency loans
- Academic advocacy (for issues concerning academic dishonesty, conflicts with supervisors, etc.)
- Campaigns, advocacy and support for Indigenous students, LGBTQ2S+ students, students with disabilities, and equity-seeking groups
- New spaces for graduate students, such as our café-pub Et al.
- Campus food bank
- Free tax filing, ISIC discounts, and more!
YUGSA has been at the forefront of mobilizing York graduate students to raise awareness to these attacks on students. Our YUGSA Campaigns Committee is mobilizing the York University community to join the province-wide movement to resist the Doug Ford’s attack on students.
WANT TO GET INVOLVED TO STOP THE GOVERNMENT’S ATTACK ON OUR EDUCATION?
The Campaigns Committee provides students information and support, as we continue to organize against these changes to post-secondary education and stand up for our rights as graduate students.
On March 20, 2019, students at colleges and universities across Ontario walked out of classes in protest of several of Doug Ford’s regressive changes to education. We had a fantastic turnout in Vari Hall! ✊🏿🙌 Click here to view our photos!
YUGSA members who are looking to get more involved or receive more information on how to Defend YUGSA and Stop Ford can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org