some correspondance from the UVSS

The All Candidates Meeting was yesterday, and naturally there will be a fair amount of coverage on this over the next two weeks. I missed the ACM itself because I have been at the annual Universities Model Parliament, staunchly defending the Wheat Board, amongst other things. In addition to the usual stock of AMS folks, including the Minister for Immigration and the Honourable Leader of the Official Opposition (and yours truly, the Shadow Attorney General).

Of particular interest to those of you who are following the AMS UN Debacle and the spread of the infection across the Georgia Strait, the current Director of Finance of the UVSS, Edward Pullman, who was the driving force behind the motion to express support for the UN complaint, is also in attendance. I hope to get a chance to talk to him prior to the close of festivities, but in the meantime, here is the letter from the UVSS:

To the UBC AMS,

The University of Victoria Student Society (UVSS) wishes to express its support for your UN complaint against the Governments of Canada and British Columbia regarding human rights violations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) following a motion that was passed at our Board of Directors meeting on December 14th, 2009.   Article 13(c) states “Higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education.” The UVSS strongly endorses this view within our own issues policy, Part D: Accessibility 1) stating: “The Society is committed to universal access to post-secondary education.”

While it is largely acknowledged that there are many barriers that citizens face in accessing and succeeding in post-secondary education, there can be little doubt that the massive increases in the upfront costs of post-secondary education (ie: tuition and ancillary fees) and the substantial reduction in student aid funding (ie: the BC government’s elimination of the BC Student Grant Program, the recent $16 million cut to a variety of student aid programs) has created significant financial barriers for low income students.  Currently enrolled students have been forced to take on more working hours to be able to afford school, or takes less classes thereby delaying graduation and hindering student success.  Section 1503 Procedure under ICESCR states that “not taking any measures towards [states] meeting their obligations, or taking discriminatory measures, or measures that are retrograde instead of progressive, would constitute violations of the Covenant.” The policies of the BC government regarding access to post-secondary education as outlined above are regressive and constitute a violation of article 13(c) of the ICESCR. Hence, submitting a complaint to the UN regarding this violation appears entirely legitimate.

We understand the complaint was not processed through the proper decision-making channels, ie: the UBC AMS Council, and that political statements such as this one should always receive the consent of the body they purport to represent.  As such, we hope the AMS will reexamine the complaint through the proper decision-making processes and consider resubmitting it based on its own merits. The UVSS is also open to the possibility of partnering with the UBC AMS in this or a similar complaint.

We hope the UBC AMS recognizes that the current financial costs of post-secondary education places substantial hardship on students, particularly those from lower income and marginalized backgrounds, and will join the majority of other student unions in the province by adopting a tuition fee policy that calls for universal access to post-secondary education.

In Solidarity,

Veronica Harrison

UVic Students’ Society
Local 44 – Canadian Federation of Students
(250) 721-8370


4 Responses to “some correspondance from the UVSS”

  1. January 10, 2010 at 9:53 am

    The’spread of the infection’? isn’t that the role of this blog!? The inflamed ego-infection?

  2. 2 Matthew Naylor
    January 10, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    No, no… when I want my ego puffed up, I go visit AMS Confidential. http://amsconfidential.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/wwnd-what-would-naylor-do/

  3. January 10, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Is it weird that I automatically tune things out when I see ‘In Solidarity’ at the beginning or end of anything.?

  4. January 11, 2010 at 2:08 am

    eeeee Naylor we love you eeeeee he mentioned us

    Although it should be noted: other hacks have asked us, politely, to stop fellating you publicly. May have to comply for equal-opportunity purposes.

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