Sarah Jayne King, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students, was at McMaster on Sept. 19 to support student activism on the campus.
King gathered in the location where the Occupy McMaster movement has begun to re-establish their headquarters in the Student Centre. She was on campus to support the Occupy students but moreover to promote student activism on campus.
King came to campus specifically to attend the Education Town Hall this past Wednesday. The town hall meetings were taking place on campuses across Ontario in order to address student issues surrounding tuition fee increases and quality of education. The goal of the town halls is to seek student feedback to be submitted directly to the provincial government.
”There’s a movement across Ontario to seek more student input on the issues that are affecting students, especially as the government is in the process of making significant changes to our education systems… and has not been doing a lot to hear from students directly about what they actually think about these changes.”
Although McMaster is a member of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), not CFS, King stated her interest in working with students across the province, regardless of their student union’s affiliation, to address their concerns about current issues in education.
“The reality is… students need to be represented, to voice their opinion when it comes to education issues [or] to other campaigns and movements going on. I’m happy to help where there’s that appetite… and I know that it exists on a lot of campuses.”
King also noted the upcoming Ontario Student Activist Assembly at University of Toronto (St. George Campus) on October 12 and 13. The province-wide assembly aims to bring together hundreds of students to share experiences and engage in issue-based workshops to strengthen student activism in Ontario.
“Students are really worried that these changes [to our education systems] are ways to cut costs. All the while the government has been increasing tuition fees for the past seven years and we have nothing to show for it in terms of quality [of education].”