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UWindsor Students Went ALL OUT to Fight The Fees

Ontario students pay the highest tuition fees in all of Canada. It is estimated that on average, a student graduates with $28,000 of student loan debt. This number does not include those who pursue graduate studies. In addition to this, students hold $28 billion in public student debt.

Racialized and indigenous students are among the most marginalized in our society, because, the reality is, most of them come from low-income and first-generation immigrant families. High tuition fees means that students from marginalized communities are unable to pay for school without taking loans.

It is no surprise that students across the country were mass mobilizing for the National Day of Action on November 2nd, 2016, asking for a universal education system that allows young Canadians to access free post-secondary education. The reality is, aside from domestic students who have the option of provincial and federal student loans, international students are faced with even higher tuition fees. On average, international students pay $10,000 per semester to study at Canadian universities.

Students across the country are asking the federal government to eliminate tuition fees by allocating new spending which will allow students access to free post-secondary education.

“Education is a right, we will not give up the fight” is among several chants at Wednesday’s rally for free education. If our government and society at large want young Canadians to be educated, why are they creating barriers that don’t allow Canadian and international students access to education?

UWindsor students went all out on November 2nd to have their voices heard and to rally against the injustice of rising tuition fees in Ontario. Students are asking for the conversion of provincial student loans into grants, the removal of interest on existing loans, and for the complete elimination of tuition fees. The National Day of Action gained great momentum from students, faculty, staff, community members, and organizations.

As one of the leaders who helped organize and mobilize the National Day of Action, I felt empowered at the rally. I heard the struggles of many other students on our campus who faced barriers that discouraged them from continuing on with their education EVERYDAY. Students who work up to 3 part-time jobs to afford tuition and living expenses. Students who do not see their families and loved ones because they are either at work or studying. These students are my friends, my colleagues, and more importantly, they are the future of our country.

The students at the rally on Wednesday are among the most intelligent and politically involved at UWindsor. It is not surprising that those mobilizing for the day of action were the most recognized faces on campus who serve their campus and community in unimaginable ways.

These are students who are children of immigrants who chose to move to Canada in hopes of a brighter future for their children. Why isn’t our federal and provincial government honouring their sacrifices? Why do they continually discourage them from pursuing their dreams?

Well friends, this what systemic racism looks like. The barriers faced by students nationwide are REAL and VALID. That is why the Fight The Fees Coalition at UWindsor joined the student movement to participate in this National Day of Action. Students went all out to address and draw attention to the crisis in post-secondary education, and those struggles being faced by many students on our campus and across the country.

To conclude, the reasons why I participated and organized in the National Day of Action is best highlighted in a speech given by the president of the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance, Moussa Hamadani. He says “If not us? then, who? And if not now? then, when?”.

In solidarity,

Dhouha

Dhouha is a fourth-year student at the University of Windsor majoring in Women's and Gender Studies with a minor in History. Dhouha is a dual citizen of Tunisia and Canada, currently living in Windsor, Ontario. She is a writer & editor for HerCampus at UWindsor. Dhouha describes herself as a free-spirited social butterfly who is chasing every little thing her heart desires. In the future, she wishes to pursue an MA and a PhD. in Gender Studies.
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