Alberta students march against cuts

Roughly 100 show up despite snowstorm


Ravanne Lawday

A massive blizzard made Edmonton’s road conditions miserable, but University of Alberta students still managed to make it to campus on Thursday afternoon to protest Alberta’s recently announced cuts to post-secondary education.

A flash mob of approximately 100 students formed in the main quad and marched against the 7.3 per cent provincial government funding cut. The protest was organized by the Coalition for Action on Post-Secondary Education (CAPSE), a student-run organization formed to retaliate.

Several students from CAPSE led the large protest in and out of high-traffic buildings. In the midst of students chanting, “no ifs, no buts, no education cuts,” and “they say cutbacks, we say fight back,” several students quietly made small talk about how these cuts may affect their futures.

Rebeka Plots, a second-year political science major, says she’s protesting for a variety of reasons. Aside from the possibility of the university adding even more non-instructional fees next year, she’s concerned for the quality of her education.

“I’ve already had some of my classes for next year cancelled due to the budget shortfall. I’m worried that this could eventually lead to the university cancelling some departments they don’t feel are important enough,” she said. “Professors and administration staff are also going to lose their jobs because the university can’t afford to keep them. All these factor into the quality of education.”

As the protest weaved in and out of buildings, Plots said that she doesn’t believe the university is acting in the best interest of students. She says the Student Union’s non-partisan stance and president Indira Samarasekera are not helping them get the educations they deserve. “She could be more vocal with the government when expressing her concerns,” Plots said of Samarasekera. 

Plots says this won’t be her last protest. “I’d like to be optimistic that Premier [Alison] Redford will review the budget, but I think that these protests are a great way of getting the message across that we as students will not sit down and take this.”

In their final address back at the quad, CAPSE representatives confirmed the group will lead more protests. They left attendees with a simple assurance that, “this is only the beginning.”

Ravanne Lawday is a second-year student at the University of Alberta. She’s a regular contributor.


Alberta students march against cuts

  1. I have zero sympathy for these kids, they get a heavily subsidized education with guaranteed subprime lending rates, get drunk all the time, and then complain when we make a small reduction(not a cut) to the heavy subsidies. They reference Norway’s free education. Well Norway as double the GDP per capita as us. They are alot richer then us, maybe we can’t afford the sports car. Maybe we chose to keep health care running so someone can pay a little more for a poli. sci degree and be chronically unemployed. We have such a crippling shortage of pipe-fitters and welders, who consistently get 6 figure jobs, and high youth unemployment as nobody wants to hire the self righteous entitled brat with the poli sci degree. Im all for social assistance, and labor unions, and universal healthcare, but compare what you pay for education to what an international student pays. You are still getting a nice package.

  2. Umm, we’re not all spoiled brats Zachary. Do you want to know why we are comparing Alberta to Norway? Because they get so much more money in royalties from their energy sector, therefore the government has more money to spend on things like education. In Alberta, we get hardly any money from the tar sands. The oil companies get richer and Alberta doesn’t see any of that money. Economically it doesn’t make sense to put all of your budget eggs into one basket, and that’s exactly what the Alberta PC’s did. I’m also interested to know if and when you went to school. Did you get it paid for or did you work for it? Did you have loans?

    Think before you speak. You don’t know all of the students stories and it’s not fair for you to make assumptions like that.

  3. Zero sympathy hey? Not all of us get handouts. I am paying for my university education out of my own pocket, while raising 5 children. mM husband, who recently lost his job, waits to start his master’s, and he takes his education seriously too. Not all students are there to drink and party. The ones who are protesting CARE about their education. If you think this only affects students, think again, everyone benefits from post secondary education. A university education is important for many, and welding jobs aren’t the only valid ones.

  4. Zachary, just as an FYI, the U of A is responsible for generating 5% of Alberta’s GDP.
    What percentage did you contribute last year?