Statement of solidarity with the people of Québec
As organizers, activists and members of marginalized communities we are well aware of our governments’ austerity agenda. We know our governments are becoming less interested in the welfare of our society and particularly the education of citizens, as we continue to experience the effects of corporatization, and attacks on academic integrity and accessible education.
On May 22nd, 2012 more than hundreds of thousands students took to the streets of Montréal to commemorate the 100-day mark of the movement for change spearheaded by students in Québec. As a vanguard in the struggle for accessible education, Québec has demonstrated to the rest of Canada that people power can and will change policies at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. Students have been on strike and out on the streets for more than six months and continue to form larger and stronger contingents to demand accessible education for all.
The Saskatchewan community has rallied as well. On May 30, 2012 several hundred Regina and Saskatoon residents marched through the streets, banging pots and pans in solidarity with Montréal students, but also bringing attention to issues of rising tuition and student debt in Saskatchewan as well. Our community recognizes that increased corporate donations, funding with strings attached, and ill-conceived austerity measures at the University of Saskatchewan have not benefited the student body or contributed to the well-being of the institution. The Saskatchewan government has reduced its share of public funding for advanced education, throwing the U of S into financial crisis; social science and humanities programs are being gutted in favor of industry-friendly programs skewing research towards corporate interest, not the public good. As a result, overall academic integrity has been systematically undermined. To make matters worse, tuition rates are higher than ever—increasing well above the rate of inflation—with no plan to reduce or even freeze student costs. It is time for Saskatchewan to reclaim the University.
In our efforts to address the issue of corporatization at the University of Saskatchewan and reclaim the University for the people, University Senators in Saskatchewan WOrking to Revive Democracy (USSWORD) stands in solidarity with the Québec student strike. We continue to work towards a University that:
1) Is accountable to the public,
2) Serves the public interest,
3) Is accessible to the public and
4) Esteems academic integrity, freedom and autonomy.
What started as a student strike has become a nation-wide movement against the criminalization of dissent following the legislative response of the provincial government of Québec. We believe in the power of direct action and the right for students and supporters to protest and demonstrate in public. What is denied in Québec today may soon be denied across our entire nation tomorrow.
We support the efforts of organizers and activists as they present clear demands for accessible education, environmental sustainability, financial transparency, an end to police brutality and the right to free speech. We will demonstrate in solidarity and wear our red squares with pride as we continue to connect our struggles and fuel this movement as it spreads nation-wide.
Please contact USSWORD () for more information or to “sign on” as a supporter.
The following groups and individuals support this statement: Saskatoon Casserole, Anna Dipple (URSU VP External Affairs), Council of Canadians (Saskatoon Chapter), Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG)…