Image by K. Ho

University Administration Backs Out of Panel After #IAmAStudent Protester Added


Later this week, the Terry Project in partnership with AMS Events is hosting a BARTalk on the proposed tuition increases, called “Fees, Funds, and the Future of Education.” Initially, there were 5 panelists slated for the discussion: Dr. Louise Cowin (the university’s Vice President, Students), Anji Redish (the Vice Provost and Associate Vice President of Enrolment and Academic Facilities at UBC), Deanna Rexe (a graduate student studying Canadian tuition policy at SFU), May Anne Then (President of the International Students Association) and David Eby (NDP MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey).

After members of #IAmAStudent reached out to The Terry Project requesting more student representation, student organizer Ilana Shecter was added to the panel line-up. Shecter, an outspoken environmental and feminist activist on campus, has been involved in the recent mobilizations against tuition and housing increases. She came face-to-face with the university administration at a silent demonstration during the recent tuition consultations; alongside a team of other student protesters, Shecter stood at the front of the room with tape over her mouth and held up a sign that read “Silenced by Debt”.

The university administration signed on to the panel early on. However, when given the updated list of panelists containing Shecter, UBC representatives Cowin and Redish promptly backed out of the panel, claiming that it was “best to stick with the consultation process that was agreed to with student representatives at the outset.”

Upon hearing of their decision not to participate, Shecter expressed concern that it shows an unwillingness to meaningfully consult with students on these issues: “The latest stunt by the University administration continues the troubling trend of what they consider to be consultation with the student body: a process that they have defined and that they are in control of.”

“The BARTalk was an opportunity to engage with the larger student body outside of their official Town Halls. For them to call it ‘inappropriate’ during a time when they are supposed to be engaging in critical discussions with students is totally unacceptable,” Shecter said.

The BARTalk will be held with the remaining panelists and new addition AMS President Tanner Bokor in The Gallery on Thursday (tomorrow) from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. Entry is by donation and the majority of the time will be allotted to Q & A.