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2012-04-26 at 9:00 AM

Students protest

By Leith Dunick,
91.5 CKPRWin Lunch with Danny and Laura for up to 20 people! Enter here to win on Thunder Bays Best Music 91.5 CKPRClick Here!

The fight for a say in tuition hikes at Lakehead University could land the school in front of a judicial review.

Lakehead University Student Union president Michael Snoddon on Thursday confirmed he would be filing an application for such a review with the province, saying the school’s board of governors have misinterpreted changes to the university’s conflict of interest bylaws.

The board of governors decision means three student representatives board representatives have been denied the ability to have input as an eight per cent tuition hike was debated since the changes were put in place on Jan. 27.

Snoddon said it’s a slippery slope, and tuition is just the start. He’s worried the school could expand their interpretation of the bylaw changes to include a raft of other issues that affect students, including a possible transfer of land to Thunder Bay Country Club to build a driving range.

“We’re going to be asking the courts to weigh in on this interpretation and find a proper way to move forward,” said Snoddon, who spent much of Thursday fielding media calls from across the country once their plan of attack was made public.

Snoddon said the school’s response was immediate and indicated no willingness to negotiate.

“The response from the university was ‘Go away,” said Snoddon, who then sent a second letter to the board of governors, noting Lakehead would be the only university in Canada that wouldn’t allow students representatives to have a say when tuition increases were on the table.

“Without students there would not be a university. We contribute 48 per cent of the university’s operating budget, by our tuition fees. So we are the major stakeholder in the university,” Snoddon said, calling it a structural conflict.

“Every single student is affected by these changes. It isn’t just these students. And these students are representatives. They are duly elected by the student body or appointed by the Student Union. Looking at the structural conflict, it’s unique.”

According to Snoddon, tuition fees at Lakehead have risen 71 per cent since 2006. An undergraduate student in 2011-12 paid between $5,250 to $6,264 in tuition costs, not including ancillary fees that boosted the amount by as much as an additional $939.
Board of governors chairman Colin Bruce said the university listens to student input on a variety of subjects, ranging from class sizes to quality of life, and including tuition feels.

“What we can’t have is students voting on tuition fees, and that is really what the nub of the problem is, although it’s been characterized as broader than that,” Bruce said.

“Clearly conflict of interest laws will tell you, if you have a financial interest in a position, you should not vote on that matter. It’s a clear conflict.”

Bruce said the new conflict of interest rules may be new to the school, and to the country for that matter, but it’s based on sound legal backing.

“And it’s not directed at students. It’s directed at every member of the board of governors, so conflict can be equally applied to any member of the board, not just students,” said Bruce, who added the decision came out of a comprehensive review of the board of governors, including their bylaws.

“It certainly wasn’t something that was singled out to be particularly punitive or of particular interest. It was one part of a very large review.”

Bruce said students are simply exercising their rights to challenge and he understands why they are not happy.

But it doesn’t sway his opinion, he said, acknowledging Lakehead University may be a little ahead of the curve in Canada, but likely not for long.

“We’re being watched with interest because we are doing things that are considered avant garde and very positive and productive in making members of the board feeling more empowered, feeling more engaged and feel like they’re adding value to the university,” Bruce said.

“Are we a little different? Yes we are, but that’s not to say we’ve done something irrational. We’ve done something exciting and we’ve asked every member of the board to be subject to the same rules, to the same ethical standards.”

Snoddon, however, feels the exact opposite.

“We wouldn’t have moved forward with a legal case if we didn’t feel we were going to win this. This is the first baby step,” Snoddon said, threatening further lawsuits if the judicial review ruled against the student union. 

The board of governors vote on the tuition increase is scheduled for Friday.

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unknowncronic says:
50% of the students are still living day to day off Mom or Dads'pocketbook anyways.
The peeps working 3 jobs to pay tuition/books need the break, not ALL students need a break!

lol, wait till they buy thier own place...Will they protest the increase on land taxes, water bill, hydro, etc etc?
4/26/2012 11:07:12 AM
panzerIV says:
Your right that there are people who don't need help when it comes to books, tuition or general costs of schooling.

50% of people living of there parents is just a random number you pulled out of the air.

The problem is simply that education is becoming so expensive that is cutting people off from the good jobs down the line. If we continue down this path we will end up like the Americans who now owe a record 24,000 of tuition debt after 1 year. Parent's helping there children get by in school so they don't have a mountain of debt, whats wrong with that. I'm going to help my kids when they get into school as much as I can. It doesn't mean they're not hard workers.

"Will they protest the increase on land taxes, water bill, hydro, etc etc?" People on here do all the time. Do you fly the coop around tax time, or price increases because this page is filled with people complaining.

This is simply about being shut out from having a adult conversation which is wrong.
4/26/2012 12:58:18 PM
DougMyers says:
If you have ever read a comment on this forum then you would know the answer to your last question is a resounding YES!

4/26/2012 2:26:29 PM
arjay says:
one way or another, it is the Students who pay for the services provided by the University management,if the Students are denied the right to take part in tuition fee discussions, Management then gets carte blanche to fee raises. not a good way to do business!!!!! Students deserve better!!
4/26/2012 12:13:07 PM
hockeyskates says:
Dr Stevenson is very student centred and it would surprise me if the students didn't have some input on the issue of Tuition.

I am waiting for TBAYNEWSWATCH to get a statement from Administration, because at this time, I am not clear as to what the issues are. I feel I have some of the story from LUSU's point of view, and not the other side.

Some of my questions are: What has really been changed and why ? What are the implications of these changes ? The issue of "conflict of interest" is unexplained in the story. How does it effect these changes by the Board ? Do the students still have a say.

I checked the LUSU web site and got nothing on it.

Although I did learn while surfing around that that if you love Golf become a full time student. at L.U. because they just rented out 6 acres of land for a driving range for the Thunder Bay Golf and Country Club. In return students get $20 green fees and $445 annual membership.

Was that in the news. I may have missed it.
4/26/2012 1:20:17 PM
macdaddy77 says:
Some of you are out to lunch.
Yes, this is the generation of entitlement for sure.
But in Thunder Bay you are not hired because you are qualified, you are hired because you know someone who is able to hire because you are related or a good buddy. I see it all the time.
Does not matter if you can do the job or not.
Rise above hate and eat a WWE ice cream bar fellas.
4/26/2012 1:44:24 PM
slabs says:
I have a very hard time taking anything LUSU demands seriously. Some really good things come out of LUSU but many of the reps just aren't mature enough to handle the financial and social responsibility and SOME are better suited to a high school student council, so I don't neccessarily disagree with treating them that way (as a tool for student groups, support, and activities, not as business advisors). I do support student right to protest tuition fees to the government though. I think we'd all be surprised -or not- at the amount of corruption and money scamming that has gone on in LUSU.
4/26/2012 1:45:44 PM
Wulf says:
Post secondary Ed is NOT a right. You want it? YOU pay for it. Through loans/grants, Mommy & Daddy of whatever. I had to pay for mine & oddly enough it DIDN'T kill me!
4/26/2012 1:49:13 PM
Bobguy says:
We shoudld be applauding the students for getting out and voicing their opinions rather than sitting at home and taking only taking what is given. Their voice helps balance the voices here trying to increase the cost of their education.

We all should be concerned about the high cost of education and encouraging the reduction in tuition. A more educated society brings wealth and prosperity.

Remember, even if you haven't gone to school, your doctors, engineers, professionals, and such have and thier work has directly made your lives easier.
4/26/2012 1:51:09 PM
crankypants says:
okay there Delbert..... if people didn't go to school because of the costs, no one would go to school. we are encouraged to live a life of learning by going to JK, SK, grade 1-12. Those 14 years of education were free. Now, getting a well paying job that isn't manual labour requires education and MONEY. $6000 for 2 years of the cheapest diploma program at Confederation College. i'm sure not everyone can pull six grand out of their ass or have it handed to them by family. you clearly dont understand the concept of looking out for yourself or solving problems because thats what LU students are trying to do.
4/26/2012 1:56:24 PM
Curious says:
I am just so tired of this selfish, spoiled, demanding generation thinking we owe them an easy ride in life and pay for their education! What has their parents taught them? Once upon a time you had to work for what you wanted including an education. Why do they deserve an easy ride at our expense. If they have a problem with paying, then get the professors to earn their trips and paychecks. They seldom attend class, get students to mark exam papers, and yet they are paid rediculously high wages. Cut at the top so the bottom can get a better deal.
4/26/2012 2:36:58 PM
Buddy Garrity says:
hey kids "do more with less"...while we will take care of ourselves and burden all future generations with our greed...
4/26/2012 2:43:26 PM
Aman Dad says:
Thumbs down to TBNewswatch.

First of all, the picture has nothing to do with the current story. It's about Tuition hikes in February not about the people loosing their right to vote during the meetings.

This incident would be similar to City Hall passing a decision that no residents of the city can be in their meeting when they vote on something to do with the city due to a "Conflict of Interest", which is exactly what they are saying the students would be doing if during a vote on student issues (such as Tuition fees and others....).
4/26/2012 2:44:43 PM
blech says:
LUSU should take its own advice and listen to the students. This sounds like a lot of lip service and not enough (any) "practice what you preach". LUSU's motto to LU: "Do as I say, not as I do"?
4/26/2012 3:49:55 PM
Bobguy says:
Is is a conflict of interest when a vote on tuition increases could positively or negativly affect the honourariums of the board members?
4/26/2012 3:58:36 PM
pearl's jam says:
"According to Snoddon, tuition fees at Lakehead have risen 71 per cent since 2006."
umm...I don't think so. Get your facts straight Mr. President. False information (ahem, lies) make you look bad.
4/26/2012 4:05:03 PM
SG says:
Unfortunately Colin Bruce could very well be correct in a broad sense. But there are ways to work through this issue. The students may have a financial interest in this vote but that doesn't not necessarily mean they are not entitled to a vote. Should be interesting to watch unfold, I wish the students all the luck in the world.
4/26/2012 4:15:37 PM
GrapeSoda says:
I don't understand all of these people saying "I am just so tired of this selfish, spoiled, demanding generation thinking we owe them an easy ride in life and pay for their education!" I am a parent, and in the not so distant future my daughter is going to have to go to University. Something that I will encourage and support her in. I find the tuition fee increases INSANE. All you people who are saying that you should pay for everything yourself, and be responsible... well ... did you go to school? Because if you did, you will have got a far bigger hand out then any of the students of this generation, or probably the next many generations to come if nothing is changed. The government has been paying less and less of student's tuitions over the years putting the additional burden on the student. Tuition fees are also rising much quicker then the inflation rates of our country as well. It is not about the individual student, it is about the bigger picture.
4/26/2012 4:24:55 PM
GrapeSoda says:
... continued from above as I couldn't type anymore.... Having the student's voice taken away in this matter is deplorable. You would think there is a reason for LU being the only one to not have their students have that say. The money that is brought in from tuition fees goes directly to paying the wages of the very people on the board of governors if I am not mistaken. (As well as a lot of other things I know) So how is this not a conflict of interest for them as well? Students may want to pay less, but there is no getting around the fact that employees want to get paid more. The bottom line is a more well educated populace is good for everyone. Making education unaffordable, or leaving students with life crippling debt and then not giving them any say in the matter is wrong. Although some things that LUSU has done may be a bit tainted... I have seen a lot of good come from within the organization, and I wish them well on this too!
4/26/2012 4:44:07 PM
wayne says:
glad to see the kids protest by taking time out of their busy general fArts program, painting KONY on stop signs, and worries about what smartphone plan to sign up with while their parents pay their tuition fees.
4/26/2012 6:48:22 PM
Tom Sanderson says:
That was an absolute stupid stereotyping comment. These students are serious about their education and the fact that many of them cannot afford to pay higher tuition fees. It boggles the mind why people are so quick to assume!
4/27/2012 1:07:56 PM
Big Head says:
You know, people come to this country for an education and pay 30K, 40K, and maybe even 50K per year to get that education. And these kids are crying about 5K. Get with reality here. You want an education! Work for it! You'll appreciate it that much more. I paid for it myself. In fact ALL my education was paid for by me without a student loan and I work damn hard for it. But I really appreciate it today. If I was on the board. I'd let them have their say then out vote them and still raise tuition. They'll get a lesson from that!
4/26/2012 6:55:38 PM
wayne says:
Today's students have to look to the future when it comes to job prospects from the degree-granting mills. How far will a general (liberal) arts degree get you? fine arts? philosophy, history, anthropology, english lit, outdoor rec? etc.

I agree with Delbert on what qualities employers are looking for in a potential new hire. The half-life of a university undergraduate degree is around 2 years after graduation. there is a huge need for well-paying skilled trades well into the future.

4/26/2012 7:59:27 PM
Paying loans says:
I Graduated in 2000 and took out student loans and have been employed for the last 12 years and I am still paying them back. Yes it sucks but thats the cost of higher education. The cost of tuition was what it was and you either paid it or you didn't my choice was to pay. I understand you want to have a say in your tuition costs but the university is a buisiness and they set the price sorry. If you don't like the cost of your coffee don't buy it then. What next protesting outside the coffee shop because they didn't consult you on the price they wanted you to pay for the double double. You should put your time and energy into studying and hopefully you can get a job in this destroyed province. Its quite the gamble now to go to school.
4/26/2012 8:30:55 PM
wayne says:
tsb says:

"I'm sorry, but one guy eking out a living running a "consulting" business that the city won't touch isn't a "firm"!"

tsb, should I whine to tbnewswatch to send me a response to why your comment has nothing to do with the story or contribute to a relevant debate? are such a cry-baby...LOL!
4/26/2012 9:06:04 PM
jay-ded says:
I went to Lakehead - started in 1998, and paid just under $4000 in tuition. I have student loans, and thanks to my $12/hr job, will likely have student loans for a very long time.
I find it funny that people can come on here and trash students, the "generation of entitlement" (which I do agree, does exist) and the so-called entitlement that students are perceived to have when it comes to their tuition fees, and yet not a single person has brought up the fact that programs like Second Career exist. Does it bother me, when I am paying interest on my OSAP loans, that my taxes are also going to pay for somebody who was formally employed (and should have saved money, for arguments sake) to get their post secondary education - free of charge? ABSOLUTELY! I would love for SC to give me the $28,000 to put towards my loans! So why is it justifiable for us to pay for somebody to go back to school, but this story has so many people up in arms and criticizing the students for taking a stand?
4/27/2012 1:25:33 AM
crankypants says:
believe it or not, I work damn harm for my education, at the end, will have upwards of 40k in loans. You're missing the big picture. it costs that much to obtain happiness, because money is survival. Getting into a career that wont make you hate your life, will literally cost you. Frankly, I wish could have grown up back in the day so the world was simpler. who knows, I wasn't born then... but just because you're greedy and don't wan't any of your taxes going towards students and bettering society as a whole, and ultimately supporting the people who might be cleaning and feeding you one day... doesn't mean students shouldn't have the right to protest.
4/27/2012 1:34:46 AM
unknowncronic says:

The first 2 words you wrote on your post to me was "your right"....

lets just leave it at that...
4/27/2012 4:10:29 AM
wayne says:
jay-ded, what degree did you earn from LU that now has you making $12/hr? did you work hard enough to find a job within your field of education? I will assume that if you started at LU in 1998 that you are around 32 yrs old now. Second Career exists to provide people who have been, in most cases, working in a highly paid career for 20 or more years. They worked hard and long, and have paid more taxes than you ever will. Quit your whining you entitled cry baby. p.s. second career is not a retroactive program to reimburse you for bad educational choices.
4/27/2012 2:56:31 PM
jimbotbay says:
lol what a bunch of idiots... you people aren't adults, you're a bunch of junior kindergardeners sitting in sandboxes and flinging cat crap at each other. I wouldn't hire ANY of you, and any degrees any of you have are MAYBE suitable for lining my bird-cage with... if YOU loads are the future of this country, then gawd help us all
4/27/2012 5:11:10 PM
wayne says:
And the cry baby, senior adult diaper rash award goes to [insert drum roll]...Tom Sanderson!
4/27/2012 9:55:58 PM
Tom Sanderson says:
You're a big bad bully Wayne :)

4/28/2012 9:20:46 AM
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