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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Wednesday, April 7, 1999

  • Painful tuition hikes approved
  • More input demanded by students
  • Students capture Japanese awards
  • Sponsors fuel engineering team
  • Input on info and other happenings
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Painful tuition hikes approved

Tuition fee increases of 9 and 19 per cent were approved by the UW board of governors yesterday after a gruelling three-hour debate.

Students from the school of optometry and Waterloo Public Interest Research Group (WPIRG) presented petitions opposing the increases; representatives of the Federation of Students and Graduate Student Association drafted motions for smaller increases. But the board was convinced by arguments from Jim Kalbfleisch, vice-president (academic) and provost, that without adequate government support, tuition had to be hiked to preserve the quality of education at Waterloo.

"After the 25 per cent reduction between 1993 and 1996, government funding of Ontario universities is the lowest in Canada," he said. "Waterloo has made a strong recovery from the deep cuts and loss of faculty and staff in 1996, but the recovery is fragile and further cuts would do very serious damage. The most important thing we can do for our students -- past, present and future -- is to maintain and enhance the quality and reputation of Waterloo programs and degrees. This requires revenue, and the only significant source at present is tuition fees."

The increases take effect in the 1999 spring term -- next month. They include a nine per cent increase for most undergraduate programs -- the maximum increase allowed by the provincial government -- with a 19 per cent increase in deregulated programs: optometry, computer science and engineering. The unit course fee for the accountancy diploma program will go up 25 per cent, and the co-op fee will rise by 2.2 per cent. Half the revenue from the differential 10 per cent increase will be returned to the academic unit, and 30 per cent will go to student aid.

At the graduate level, tuition for all programs will go up nine per cent, with a 19 per cent increase for the professionally accredited stream of the masters of accountancy.

Rates for international students will remain at the 1998/1999 levels, except for the co-op fee increase and a new fee of $1,000 per unit course for international students in the international science and commerce program delivered by distance education.

Opponents of the fee increases spoke yesterday about the impact on accessibility to a university education. "We're seeing the twilight of public education," said John Wilkinson of WPIRG, adding that UW should be taking a leadership role in defending public education, "not just following the pack."

Students weren't the only ones decrying the increases. "In an ideal world, fees should be nominal and students should be admitted based on merit," said mechanical engineering professor Gordon Andrews, who supported the tuition increase "with regret". He placed the blame for the situation squarely on the Ontario government headed by Progressive Conservative premier Mike Harris.

St. Jerome's University Italian professor Vera Golini told the students she was impressed by their eloquence, and advised them to take their message to Queen's Park.

And chemistry chair John Hepburn perhaps summed up the frustration of other board members. "I'm feeling horrible about this whole thing. It's uncreative, regressive, penalizes students and limits access to programs. I just don't know what the hell else to do."

More input demanded by students

Federation of Students president-elect Christine Cheng attended a board of governors meeting for the first time on Tuesday, and she was not impressed.

"Students definitely need more input into the process, considering this institution exists for students," she said, following the marathon debate on fees. And she has plans to ensure the voices of students are heard when she takes office May 1. "Students are upset. We're going to make our concerns heard to the administration."

The upcoming provincial election will provide one opportunity. "Part of the reason for the increase is Mike Harris' 'common sense revolution'," she said, noting the Feds are not aligned with any political party, but are "pro-education". "We're going to try to encourage students to vote as students, and to keep the promises of political parties (on education issues) in mind in making their choices.

"On campus, we will be happy to take part in the process of discussing tuition-related issues," she added, "and try to reach out to students and make them aware they can have an impact."

Students capture Japanese awards

Five UW students in East Asian studies at Renison College fared well at the recent Ontario Japanese Speech Contest, taking several top prizes.

The event, held last month at the University of Toronto, drew 47 contestants from seven universities and five colleges, including six from Renison College, a UW affiliate which offers language and cultural courses in Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

In the beginner category, Yi (Karen) Zeng, currently enrolled in Renison's first-year Japanese course, collected the top prize and was declared the overall grand winner. For her efforts, she was presented with a trip to Japan and $1,000 in spending money. A classmate, Carrie Cardoso, won a special prize in the same category.

In the intermediate competition, Mustafa Al-Mosawi placed second, winning $300, while colleague Yu-Hong Wang was third, winning $150. Both students are taking a second-year Japanese course.

At the advanced level, first place went to David Tunnah, who used the contest to speak about his experiences as a UW exchange student in Japan. He has completed a second-year Japanese course at Renison.

Tunnah and Zeng went on to the Canadian National Finals on March 28 in Edmonton, where Zeng won first place in the beginner category, taking home a Japanese wood carving and a CD compilation. Tunnah took 2nd prize in the advanced category, winning a discman.

Sponsors fuel engineering team

The UW Alternative Fuels Team (UWAFT) has received financial donations from several sponsors in the last few weeks.

Sponsorship has been received from the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association ($10,000), NCR Corporation ($3,500), Iogen Corporation ($2,000), and the Ontario Corn Producers Association ($1,000).

UWAFT is currently preparing a vehicle for participation in the 1999 Ethanol Vehicle Challenge to be held at the GM Proving Grounds in Michigan in late May. The team will compete against thirteen American engineering schools in converting a 1999 Chevy Silverado from gasoline to ethanol power.

At the competition, the teams will be judged on exhaust emissions, fuel economy, and vehicle performance. UWAFT finished second overall at the 1998 Ethanol Vehicle Challenge and first overall at the 1997 event.

Input on info and other happenings

The UWinfo ad hoc committee invites the public to a meeting today at noon in Needles Hall room 3001. Efforts are underway to improve UW info and to ensure information is delivered in a complete, accurate and timely fashion. Feedback from the community is part of the process.

Starting today and continuing through Friday, some 600 upper year high school students from 30 secondary schools will visit the kinesiology department "to experience the lab opportunities available". The labs will be taught by senior undergrad and graduate students.

The senate scholarships and student aid committee meets at 1:30 p.m. in Needles Hall room 3004.

The annual general meeting of the UW Faculty Association is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. in Davis Centre room 1302. On the agenda are reports from the treasurer, the president, and chairs of various committees, as well as results of the recent election of five members of the board of directors.

The FASS (Faculty, Alumni, Staff and Students) Theatre Company holds its annual general meeting tonight from 6 to 11 in the Humanities Theatre, Hagey Hall.

Conrad Grebel College celebrates the end of term with a banquet at 6:30 this evening.

Carmen Jaray at central stores advises the campus community that "due to the recent NATO conflict", the following areas will not be serviced until further notice: Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro. Any questions about outgoing mail to these areas may be directed to Jaray at ext. 3935.

Barbara Elve
bmelve@uwaterloo.ca


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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Copyright © 1999 University of Waterloo