This past January the Ford government announced a series of cuts to OSAP and the so-called “Student Choice Initiative” to make ancillary fees optional. We are currently in discussions with York University administration about how we are determining ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ ancillary fees.
We have made it clear to the administration that YUGSA cannot provide student services by being a voluntary organization with an unpredictable budget. We rely on a budget to pay for permanent, full-time staff, and to fund student positions to organize YUGSA activities and represent students at administrative and community meetings. Without predictable core funding for YUGSA, all graduate students will suffer the loss of our services and operational funding that we provide for all departmental graduate students’ associations within the YUGSA. We’re advocating as much as possible to protect the YUGSA, but we need your help!
We are encouraging all departmental graduate students’ associations, and the York community at large, to join us in following actions:
1. Send an e-mail NOW to Doug Ford, Merrilee Fullerton, and your MPP to tell them: Hands off our students’ unions! E-mail them at cfsontario.ca/action
2. Host a meeting with your departmental graduate students’ association to discuss the Student Choice Initiative and how we can fight back. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org so that a member of the YUGSA executive can present to your association.
3. Get involved in the We Are The Students YU coalition on campus to help with petitioning, class talks and other actions demanding the Ford government to reverse the cuts to OSAP and cancel the Student Choice Initiative. For more information please contact email@example.com.
As the government announcement unfolds, we are seeing deeper impacts beyond the proposed cuts to OSAP and Student Choice Initiative. For example, on February 26, the York University Board of Governors approved tuition increases of 10% (in 2019-2020 and then again in 2020-2021) for international students in non-professional undergraduate programs and professional graduate programs. It is entirely unfair to impose this burden on International students who already pay record-high tuition costs.
Even though the Ford government holds the majority in parliament, we are part of the majority of students who are showing opposition to the proposed changes in the post-secondary sector. On January 25, thousands of students marched to Queen’s Park, marking the largest student rally in 10 years. Actions works: the government conceded on their definition of ‘essential’ ancillary fees to include health plans, academic support, student aid offices, health and wellness programs, and more. We are hoping that this means our essential services in the YUGSA will continue to be funded. But we need you to join us in the fight against the Ford government!
The YUGSA Executive