Post-secondary students rally for lower fees in education and the elimination of tuition.
Armed with microphones, megaphones, signs, signatures and even ponchos, students from Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic gathered at the MUN Clock Tower Wednesday to protest expensive student fees.
Their rallying cry was, “Fund the Future.”
Fund the Future is a campaign held by the Canadian Federation of Students. The campaign focuses on three main goals: reinstating the full needs-based grant program, increasing funding to CNA and MUN, and progressively reducing fees to the point of elimination.
Crowds of students chanted at the rally and hoisted signs to promote their message of change.
The signs held slogans such as “Grants NOT Loans,” “Fight the Fees,” and “Put the Money Where Our Minds Are.”
Amina Mahmood, a student at the rally, said the event went great, but she was disappointed students did not march to the Confederation Building. Originally the plan was to march from MUN to the site of the provincial legislature to deliver signed letters from the participating students and continue the rally there.
Due to weather conditions, the march was cancelled.
Reason to Rally
Mahmood also had her reasons for joining the rally. She became a Canadian citizen in 2016. Most of her friends are international students, so she doesn’t need to pay as much for her education as they do.
“Most of my friends always complain to me about how much they have to pay and all the unnecessary money they have to waste in order to get an education here, when I’m getting the exact same education, and I’m paying way less than them.”
Precious Familusi, a representative for the federation in Newfoundland and Labrador, felt the day was energetic.
“I was really hyped up for today,” said Familusi. “It’s something we’ve been working on and planning on for a long time now. I was happy to see a lot of students and faculty members to come out and show this is what really concerns them.”
A whole host of individuals took to the podium, including Familusi, as well as Robin Whitaker of the MUN Faculty Association, Victoria Battcock of CNA Student Union, Sofia Descalzi, chairperson of federation in Newfoundland and Labrador, and Sherry Hillier from the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
“Today, our message is clear: You must fund our future!” said Sofia Descalzi, chairperson of CFS NL.