Today, around 400 students gathered at the Martha Piper Plaza on Main Mall for a Teach-in hosted by UBC Students for Accessible Education, The Calendar and the Social Justice Centre. With many students confused, frustrated and angry about the recent announcement of a 10% tuition increase for international students and a 20% increase in residence fees for 8-month contracts, the event buzzed with questions and complaints about the choices being made by the UBC administration.
Speakers Anne Kessler (AMS VP Academic and University Affairs), Dr. Elvin Wyly (UBC Geography professor), May Anne Then (ISA President), Kaitlyn Melton (RHA President), Ivan Leonce (Colour Connected against Racism) and Gabriel D’Astous (Social Justice Centre) addressed a variety of issues relating to the university’s proposals.
From the energy at the event, it was clear that students, faculty and staff alike are opposed to these changes. Dr. Wyly urged students to stick together in solidarity rather than allow these changes to divide the student body. Melton and Kessler both relayed the intricacies and consequences of these potential changes, while Then represented a variety of student views. Leonce passionately argued that expensive housing will make our university completely inaccessible to lower-income students, especially to Indigenous students and students of colour, and turn UBC into a place of the privileged. D’Astous closed with a call to action and a reminder that if we are united, we cannot be defeated! The unique perspectives offered by the speakers strengthened the message of the Teach-in, encouraging students from a variety of backgrounds to get involved and find hope in the protest. All speakers encouraged the students to take a collective stand against the university’s decision to make education even more inaccessible for the students.
Students were encouraged to continue the conversation beyond today’s Teach-in by using the hashtag #IAmAStudent on social media over the next couple of weeks. Additionally, students are highly encouraged to attend the Student Assembly Debate in the SUB Ballroom on Tuesday October 21st at 5pm as well as the student protest that will be happening in the near future. Join the Facebook event page to stay up to date.
“The students united, will never be defeated!”
If you missed the event, check out transcripts of the speeches:
We will post the rest of the speeches as we receive them.
All photos below are the work of K. Ho.