The students are no longer just angry — they’re afraid of the damage that Premier Doug Ford’s cuts to post-secondary education may have on marginalized students in Ontario.
Students gathered at the University of Laurier on Monday in solidarity with vulnerable students, such as transgender students, international students and indigenous students, who may be most affected by the recent cuts.
The event was part of a province-wide walkout to send a message to the Ford government that the student’s voices will not be ignored.
Amanda FitzPatrick, a staff member at the Federation of Students’ Glow Centre at the University of Waterloo, fears that the cuts to ancillary fees will be damaging to services available for transgender and queer students.
“If you have the ability to opt out of either paying for certain services or opt out of the student union in general, all the work we’ve been doing will be gone and there will be no one on campus working to support queer and transgender students,” said FitzPatrick.
“Whenever we talk about LGBT centres, women’s centres or anything that deals with sexual violence or racism on campus, these are seen as ‘fluff services’ that aren’t really important and we only have them because students are too sensitive, and that is not the case,” she said. “These resources are very essential for a lot of students and by taking them away it’s going to directly affect the lives of marginalized students.”
Local politicians Laura Mae Lindo, Kitchener Centre MPP, and Catherine Fife, Waterloo MPP, encourage students to speak out to their MPPs about their concerns.
“Every time someone signs a petition that allows me to read into the record and tell the government exactly what it is that we want,” said Lindo. “Email your MPPs —Conservative and NDP alike — and make sure that you tell them what the impact is going to be.”
Students plan to continue their protest in the next coming weeks.