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Ne touchez pas my tuition.
November 11, 2011 5:42 AM   Subscribe

Meanwhile, in Montreal, tens of thousands of students take to the streets to protest...tuition increases.

The annual university tuition in Quebec is $2,168, well below the Canadian average of $5,366. Premier Jean Charest's government has proposed a $325 annual increase through 2016, to $3,793 per year. University administrators support the move, arguing that it will make up for a more than $600 million shortfall in education funding in Quebec. Opponents of the increase argue that it would make postsecondary education inaccessible to thousands of students (all Canadian universities are public).

The protest, peaceful and nonviolent for most of the day, turned ugly in the evening. At McGill University - already the site of a bitter, two-month old strike by non-academic workers - a small group of students occupying the main administration building were forcibly removed. Riot police used pepper spray and physical force to disperse protesters on campus.
posted by googly (88 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Why the ellipses and implicit illogical argument that because X is below Y, therefore X is OK? I think students demanding their government provide good services pretty awesome.
posted by DU at 5:49 AM on November 11, 2011 [18 favorites]


Canada is slowly morphing into les Etats-Unis, zut alors!
posted by Renoroc at 5:50 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The way this FPP is set up is all kinds of gross, sorry. Is increasing tuition not worthy of protest? Is it funny that they speak French?
posted by stinkycheese at 5:52 AM on November 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


DU, stinkycheese: You're reading way too much into the post. The ellipses refer to the fact that there are lots of other student protests in the news. It is no way a comment on whether the protest is good or bad. As for "implicit illogical arguments": I have linked to cases both for and against the tuition increases, with references for both - including a link to the opposition website TuitionTruth. I've tried hard not to editorialize in favor of or against the proposal or the protests. As for the French in the title, well, its because the protests culminated at McGill, a bilingual campus in a French-speaking community.

If others really think the ellipses are inflammatory, I'm happy to have the mods edit them out. That certainly wasn't the intention.
posted by googly at 5:58 AM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


$2100 a year. I seem to remember that my tuition (for a University in Quebec) was about $1600 a year in the early 90's. Hard to believe that the costs have been kept in check for almost 20 years or more.
posted by smcniven at 6:01 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


In a way, I think it's wonderful that the students are protesting. But perhaps instead of protesting the increase, they should protest for some transparency from their institutions. I worked briefly on the UofC iS2 project over the summer and it was both refreshing to see the school become more like a business, but eye-opening to find out the amount of financial waste going on through poor practices. The iS2 project is publicly documented on their website - http://www.ucalgary.ca/is2project/ The UofC was at risk at losing some funding if they didn't shape up their accountability practices. It was crazy to believe that they were able to reduce the cost of processing expenses by almost two-thirds - under the old way, a $30 item expensed by a teacher because $120 by the time it was processed and reimbursed.

As a mature student attending art college just down the road, I often wonder where my money is going to as well. It is certainly not going into a user friendly web service interface (ugh, I think I borked my winter schedule yesterday) or a decent cafeteria!
posted by Calzephyr at 6:02 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a bit of an intergenerational conflict in the Tuition debate in Quebec; until the early nineties tuition had been locked at $500 per term. The rest was made up with government subsidies. But now the government wants to lower taxes on people who paid the low fees while the younger generation is stuck paying high tuition.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 6:02 AM on November 11, 2011 [11 favorites]


I'm just glad Concordia isn't mentioned. I read "tear-gas" and the Hall building springs to mind.
posted by ServSci at 6:03 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


(all Canadian universities are public)

Uh, no. There are private universities in Canada.

Tuition is on the rise though, and has been for well over a decade. International students in particular are being hit hard, with most rates increasing 5-fold or so over the last 20 years.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 6:03 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hard to believe that the costs have been kept in check for almost 20 years or more.

I think that's the point; the cost haven't been kept in check, just the fees.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:08 AM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


My first year of tuition in Quebec in 1990 was something like $750, an amount frozen for decades. The next year it doubled, but I don't remember anybody protesting. I think we all realized we were getting a pretty good deal.
posted by Flashman at 6:12 AM on November 11, 2011


I think that's the point; the cost haven't been kept in check, just the fees.

Actually, the fees have been raised faster than inflation.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 6:13 AM on November 11, 2011


Flashman: that was mostly caused by a rise of the center-left FEUQ and FECQ -- ANEEQ had launched a call for general strike, but only UQAM and the left-wing cégeps followed.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 6:15 AM on November 11, 2011


McGill isn't really a bilingual campus. It's in a bilingual area, but it's an English university, and the classes are all English (except foreign language classes, obviously). There are bilingual campuses in Canada -- U Ottawa and Laurentian come to mind. Actually, there is a lot of conflict over this among teenagers and parents of teenagers, though more for the Cegep system than the university system. (Cegep, for pre-university students, is more or less the US equivalent of grade 12 and freshman year of college, but they also have 3 year technical programs, which lead directly to jobs.) It's probably too deraily to get into the details, but there is a lot of resentment about languages because attendance is so capped.

The numbers refer to tuition costs. Other fees nearly double tuition costs for Quebec residents. About 10 years ago, the general rule is that with no scholarships you could make it on 10k a year, but rent and fees have risen significantly since then.

(McGill is going to be in huge trouble soon because they will no longer be able to pretend the strike isn't affecting undergraduate education or research. They do figure that this strike will lead to massive reorganisation and cost cutting, not as retaliation but in a "we finally can start fresh and see what we really need" sense.)
posted by jeather at 6:21 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


$2100 a year. I seem to remember that my tuition (for a University in Quebec) was about $1600 a year in the early 90's.

Indeed. We did some protesting about tuition hikes even then in the mid-90s. Great fun.

McGill T.A.s went on strike, as I recall, to protest their 'less than living wage'. As a T.A. at Con U down the street, making eight times less than them, support for my McGilligan brothers and sisters only went so far.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:26 AM on November 11, 2011


making eight times less than them

Not in the math department, I gather.

posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:35 AM on November 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


FWIW, googly, the post struck me as neither mocking the students nor as making any argument about appropriate tuition rates. I can also see, oh, about 101 reasons for the "Ne touchez pas" title.

As for McGill's bilinguality, it's true the campus is not officially bilingual (that is, no one is required to speak French in order to attend and successfully graduate from the university)--on the other hand since the 60s it has been official policy there that anyone may turn in their papers in either of Canada's official languages in any class other than a language class.
posted by yoink at 6:39 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not in the math department, I gather.

Did I not say I went to Concordia?

posted by Capt. Renault at 6:39 AM on November 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


since the 60s it has been official policy there that anyone may turn in their papers in either of Canada's official languages in any class other than a language class

Or literature, or any class where "knowledge of English" is one of the main points of the course, but yes, this is true. (Though only for papers, I am unsure about essay questions on exams. I've never actually met a francophone who took advantage of this option.) It's also true (in reverse) of Universite de Montreal, which is not in the wildest of imaginings a bilingual university either.

I assume Charest will pretend to back down, and agree only to raise tuition fees 250/year or something, whatever number it was he had really intended in the first plane.
posted by jeather at 6:47 AM on November 11, 2011


I always wondered why there wasn't more unrest at McGill about the fact that French nationals pay in-province tuition rates, while non-Quebecois Canadians have to pay way more.
posted by fermezporte at 6:55 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always wondered why there wasn't more unrest at McGill about the fact that French nationals pay in-province tuition rates, while non-Quebecois Canadians have to pay way more.

Wow, I had no idea that that was the case.
posted by beau jackson at 6:57 AM on November 11, 2011


I paid $4500-5000 per year in Ontario between 1998 and 2000. I still support their protest. Just because Ontario students have been shafted more doesn't mean it's right.

And I would second, third and fourth the point that all over the world, so many who benefited from cheap higher education have gone and stolen that ladder from the following generations, beggaring their own children's future.
posted by jb at 6:58 AM on November 11, 2011 [16 favorites]


As for "implicit illogical arguments": I have linked to cases both for and against the tuition increases...

This:

"The annual university tuition in Quebec is $2,168, well below the Canadian average of $5,366"

was not a link to a pro- or con- argument. It was you. Why did you find that sentence relevant?
posted by DU at 6:59 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's an agreement between Quebec and the rest of the Francophonie -- you pay local tuition rates at schools in France and other countries, they do the same here. It's a way to get immigrants whose credentials will be recognised and who already speak French. Canadian students from elsewhere in Canada are assumed (sometimes incorrectly) to be planning on leaving the province afterwards.
posted by jeather at 7:03 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Love the sign, "Education is a right, not a privilege." It speaks volumes about the sense of entitlement in Quebec.

One of my daughters (an American) is in her third year at university in Montreal. She pays over 12x what the Canadian students pay. While it's on a par with a typical U.S. state school tuition, it's still a lot. Perhaps U.S. schools should reciprocate for the Canadian students attending any U.S. school receiving state or federal money.

As for the education itself, it's been spotty at best. This year, she had to drop a (required) English linguistics class because the Russian instructor's accent was so thick that no one in the class could understand what she was saying. And, more recently, an "Urban Issues" prof spent an entire lecture period telling students that having a SecondLife avatar and family was much more fulfilling than having a real-life family. This week, she had a paper returned with multiple points subtracted for every instance of the word "color"...seems the prof insists on spelling it, "colour."

I guess you get what you pay for.

Oh, and she's transferring back to the States for senior year, and we're waiting to see how many of her credits are accepted by the U.S. school.
posted by VicNebulous at 7:12 AM on November 11, 2011


If you come from out of province, you have to stay in Quebec for 12 months consecutively before you begin University, to be considered for the reduced tuition. This is a lot harder to do than it sounds, especially for a seventeen year old!
posted by Yowser at 7:13 AM on November 11, 2011


The word colour is the standard Canadian spelling... I can't imagine getting away without marks taken off for handing in a paper with a word spelled incorrectly that a native would learn in kindergarten.
posted by Yowser at 7:16 AM on November 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


Uh, no. There are private universities in Canada.

And they are a fucking joke.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:19 AM on November 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


The word colour is the standard Canadian spelling... I can't imagine getting away without marks taken off for handing in a paper with a word spelled incorrectly that a native would learn in kindergarten.

Yes, this is true, and I shouldn't have included it as an example in my rant about her education. The experience has been great, save for the abundance of anti-American sentiment she's been subjected to. Guess that part is hard to avoid anywhere these days.

And, for the record, I love me some Montreal, and visit her any chance I get.
posted by VicNebulous at 7:24 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


As for the education itself, it's been spotty at best. This year, she had to drop a (required) English linguistics class because the Russian instructor's accent was so thick that no one in the class could understand what she was saying. And, more recently, an "Urban Issues" prof spent an entire lecture period telling students that having a SecondLife avatar and family was much more fulfilling than having a real-life family. This week, she had a paper returned with multiple points subtracted for every instance of the word "color"...seems the prof insists on spelling it, "colour."

Why are you spending $10,000+ a year (12X tuition) to have your daughter get an Arts degree in Quebec? Seems like a colossal misuse of your resources.

And it's "colour" in Canada.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:24 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Love the sign, "Education is a right, not a privilege." It speaks volumes about the sense of entitlement in Quebec.



Over 100 riot police stormed McGill campus this evening, forcefully dispersing student demonstrators that had gathered in front of the James Administration building. Pepper spray, tear gas, and physical force were used by police against demonstrators who were protesting the detainment and violence used by McGill Security against 13 McGill students, who had occupied Principal Heather Munroe-Blum’s office starting at around 3:45 p.m.



Retour a la normale...
posted by Cheradine Zakalwe at 7:25 AM on November 11, 2011


The word colour is the standard Canadian spelling... I can't imagine getting away without marks taken off for handing in a paper with a word spelled incorrectly that a native would learn in kindergarten.

Are you kidding? We're not talking wrong spelling, we're talking widely recognized difference of opinion. It's not as if the student wrote proffesor.

Can you imagine the snark if an American professor took off points because a British student spelt/spelled honour/honor? Jerkish. Trivial. Petty. Mean spirited.

ViicNebulous is too kind. (I heart Montreal too, for the record)
posted by IndigoJones at 7:26 AM on November 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


"The annual university tuition in Quebec is $2,168, well below the Canadian average of $5,366"
was not a link to a pro- or con- argument. It was you. Why did you find that sentence relevant?


Because its a fact that puts the debate into a bit of context for readers who may be unfamiliar with tuition rates in Canada. The number $2,168 is not very meaningful if you aren't aware of the Canadian educational context. And I linked to a story that reviews the tuition rates and recent increases for all Canadian provinces.

Look, you can try all you want to say that this post is critical of the protests, but that simply isn't the case. Every statement is supported by links, including to the McGill and Concordia newspapers, and sites in favor of both the tuition protests and the Munaca strike. Personally, I find it disturbing that police largely stand by while students in State College riot over the firing of a football coach, but use force to break up a peaceful protest about something of vital educational importance in Montreal. But I had no interest in editorializing in the FPP, and wanted to present as much information as possible to allow readers to draw their own conclusions.
posted by googly at 7:27 AM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why not have free tuition? In British Columbia, for example, we can drop a billion dollars on a new convention centre, and three quarters of a billion dollars on a new roof for a football stadium. We can also spend $100,000 a bomb to bomb Libya.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:28 AM on November 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


Are you kidding? We're not talking wrong spelling, we're talking widely recognized difference of opinion. It's not as if the student wrote proffesor.

Can you imagine the snark if an American professor took off points because a British student spelt/spelled honour/honor? Jerkish. Trivial. Petty. Mean spirited.


Sure! Spelling doesn't matter! Besides, we're all paying good money for our degrees, so our professors should at least give us good marks! Standards are for anal retentives.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:33 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Love the sign, "Education is a right, not a privilege." It speaks volumes about the sense of entitlement in Quebec.

It's bad to believe that everyone is entitled to, has a right to, a good education? This seems pretty obviously true to me, even if I am not entirely in agreement with the protests.

As for the education itself, it's been spotty at best. This year, she had to drop a (required) English linguistics class because the Russian instructor's accent was so thick that no one in the class could understand what she was saying.

Yes, it's good that there are no grad students who teach courses in the US with really heavy accents. (And did every other student drop out of the course?)

And, more recently, an "Urban Issues" prof spent an entire lecture period telling students that having a SecondLife avatar and family was much more fulfilling than having a real-life family.

This is pretty bad, but I'm just curious what school you think has no professors who are poor teachers and waste class time.

This week, she had a paper returned with multiple points subtracted for every instance of the word "color"...seems the prof insists on spelling it, "colour."

Weird! I bet they spell things "metre" and "centre", too! (If this was the first time it happened and the prof never mentioned requiring Commonwealth spellings, I agree that it's pretty petty. If it was made clear in advance that US spellings are not accepted, then it's a matter of failing to follow house styles, and the mark deductions were fair enough, if still a bit petty.)

Oh, and she's transferring back to the States for senior year, and we're waiting to see how many of her credits are accepted by the U.S. school.

This is normal for most transfers between universities.
posted by jeather at 7:34 AM on November 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Man, guess I've been missing lots of opportunities to take points of my Canadian and British students' work for inconsequential differences in accepted spellings.
posted by mollweide at 7:34 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are you at least pointing out their errors, mollweide?
posted by Yowser at 7:38 AM on November 11, 2011


Love the sign, "Education is a right, not a privilege." It speaks volumes about the sense of entitlement in Quebec.

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages.


Emphasis on "at least". Especially since tertiary education is morphing into the new secondary education and tuition fees are exploding, yes, education is a right.
posted by ersatz at 7:42 AM on November 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Can you imagine the snark if an American professor took off points because a British student spelt/spelled honour/honor? Jerkish. Trivial. Petty. Mean spirited.

When I was on exchange in Florida, some of my profs took off points for my Canadian/British spelling, and others didn't. It went by individual. My English Lit prof thought my spelling was pretty classy. My American History prof, thinking that all Canadians only spoke French, complimented me on my English as a second language.

posted by Capt. Renault at 7:43 AM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's an agreement between Quebec and the rest of the Francophonie -- you pay local tuition rates at schools in France and other countries, they do the same here.

University tuition is actually the same for foreign students of no matter what nationality as it is for French ones, at around 170 euros or 230 USD per year for an undergrad degree (and this despite the fact that the French government must subsidise the cost of each student's education to the tune of about 7500 euros, according to this opinion piece against the policy in Le Monde). Of course, having the right to local tuition rates in Quebec must still make it an attractive place to study abroad for French students, as well as bolster relations between the two places.

As for the topic of this post, it is always awesome to see people standing up for themselves, so bravo and good luck to them!
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:45 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


In Canada pepper spray is what we put on our plates.
posted by srboisvert at 7:45 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Because its a fact that puts the debate into a bit of context for readers who may be unfamiliar with tuition rates in Canada. The number $2,168 is not very meaningful...

Agreed. The amount of tuition is not really relevant at all. The fact that costs are being shifted to students is.

Whether you meant to send the message or not, saying "these guys are rioting over $X which is less than $Y paid by others" implies "lol disaffected".
posted by DU at 7:45 AM on November 11, 2011


My American History prof, thinking that all Canadians only spoke French

What.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:46 AM on November 11, 2011


My American History prof, thinking that all Canadians only spoke French, complimented me on my English as a second language.

Me too! Well, all Quebecois, anyhow. I have the most anglophone name imaginable! How could you think I am French?

posted by jeather at 7:46 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


This week, she had a paper returned with multiple points subtracted for every instance of the word "color"...seems the prof insists on spelling it, "colour."

I cannot believe there are people here defending this. If the professor doesn't know that there are two accepted spellings of the word, he's an idiot; if he does, and he simply doesn't care, he's an especially petty bigot. Asking a student to change an accepted spelling of a word because it's accepted in a different culture is like asking them to change their accent, there's no reason to do it and it makes you an ass.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:50 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Asking a student to change an accepted spelling of a word because it's accepted in a different culture is like asking them to change their accent, there's no reason to do it and it makes you an ass.

I'm confused. "Another country" in this case would be the USA, not Canada (or any other Commonwealth country). BTW, are you from Canada?

Choosing to live or die over the spelling of a word may seem loopy, but not if you're a journalist for example, who write according to "style books." I write (badly) for a living, and I *must* pay attention to any number of things, including spelling.

Our clients are typically American, and we will lose the contract if our copy does not match American standard spelling.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:59 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


To compare apples to oranges, as I do not live in Quebec:

Before becoming a student at the UofA I worked there: Every department was a case study in mismanagement and waste. It seemed like every department acted like its own little fiefdom, unwilling to work with any other. There was so much unnecessary replication of jobs and equipment, it boggled the mind. The most glaring case was how most departments had their own IT departments and operated their own servers, while the university also had a campus wide IT department and none of them played nicely with each other.

So, whenever the UofA raises my fees complaining about how its the economy or what-have-you, I can't help but think that maybe these large public institutions have been allowed to self-govern for too long without transparency.

Also: I had a philosophy professor who was American who would correct Canadian spelling on our papers. I don't think we lost marks, but we all thought it was funny.
posted by selenized at 8:04 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Love the sign, "Education is a right, not a privilege." It speaks volumes about the sense of entitlement in Quebec.

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages.

Emphasis on "at least". Especially since tertiary education is morphing into the new secondary education and tuition fees are exploding, yes, education is a right.


Agreed -- I was referring to the years following those first 12. Sure, it would be great if it all were free. And kudos to Canada for making it as close to free as possible. But people need to be paid. Guess I'm just somewhat jealous.
posted by VicNebulous at 8:25 AM on November 11, 2011


I don't mind paying a little more tuition as long as I get bursaries and interest-free student loans to cover the increase. Oh wait, I will.
posted by Premeditated Symmetry Breaking at 8:29 AM on November 11, 2011


Quebec has the highest overall tax burden in the US and Canada. We know education isn't free, but we think it's a cost that should be covered by society, which benefits from an educated society.

(I do support some differences in the way things like medical school are funded: in (very) brief, I think costs should be more comparable to the rest of Canada, but if you stay in Quebec the government should pay back your loan over the course of about 10 years, though not at the rate of 10% a year, starting at 2% and ending more like 20%. But medical school is a very different question from a bachelor's degree.)
posted by jeather at 8:30 AM on November 11, 2011


@jeather -- touche on all counts. Just venting. Her overall experience has been very positive. Opinions were mine...and not intended to be representative of education in Quebec, or Canada in general.
posted by VicNebulous at 8:30 AM on November 11, 2011


I went to elementary school in Canada, high school in the US, university in Canada (McGill, actually) and grad school in the US. Every place I've lived, I've been required to switch to the accepted standardized spelling of that country... and I'm just glad I'm not the kid who failed a science quiz because he was European and wrote decimals with a comma instead of a period. It's like MLA style versus APA style or something: they're both right, depending on context, but by the time you're in college you're old enough to pay attention to the context and use the correct one.
posted by Jeanne at 8:30 AM on November 11, 2011


DU - Whether you meant to send the message or not, saying "these guys are rioting over $X which is less than $Y paid by others" implies "lol disaffected".

FWIW, I read it in the way that googly says that he intended, just as extra contextual information. That the statement carries additional implied meaning(s) to you does not necessarily mean that it does to everyone else, or that it did to the OP.

Bulgaroktonos - If the professor doesn't know that there are two accepted spellings of the word, he's an idiot; if he does, and he simply doesn't care, he's an especially petty bigot.

Accepted by whom? In the UK, any professional writing context that I can think of (sales, journalism, technical papers), using e.g. US English instead of UK English would be unacceptable, and most people seem to agree that reading a mixture of the two is very grating. US-based academic journals often specify that US English must be used and, although I don't read much other US-origin written media, I don't remember seeing any non-US spellings on US news sites, even in articles by Canadian or British columnists.

The different countries' versions of the language (do they count as dialects?) may be mutually understandable, give or take some vocabulary and a few weird idioms, just like accents. But written language is generally subjected to more scrutiny than speech and expected to be more, um, like, formal, you know? And so it makes sense that part of the college's job is to train its undergraduates to write formally, and it makes sense that each college is going to do that in its own country's language.
posted by metaBugs at 8:53 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ironically, I tend to write with more US-like grammar and language patterns when commenting here, so my comment above is actually a pretty good counter-example to my point. Please believe me that I can rite proppa loike in UK- or US-English when the occasion calls.
posted by metaBugs at 8:57 AM on November 11, 2011


That the statement carries additional implied meaning(s) to you does not necessarily mean that it does to everyone else, or that it did to the OP.

The bar for post framing being good or bad here, so far as I understand it, has little or nothing to do with the OP's intentions; it's based on how that framing is received. And FWIW I completely agree with DU's reading. It reads like 'geez, can you believe how entitled and out of touch those funny French people are, rioting over having to pay for school?'
posted by stinkycheese at 9:05 AM on November 11, 2011


And FWIW I completely agree with DU's reading.
...of course, to be consistent with my point, I have to acknowledge the possibility that my interpretation is very much the minority choice. It's hard to know without a long conversation or some sort of poll, either of which would be less interesting to me than the topic of the post itself.

Regardless, expressing X implies Y or A reads as B as statements of fact grates at me a little. To me, it seems to be built on the assumption "my subjective opinion on this is obviously the correct one", which only ever leads to confusion at best and acrimony at worst. Heh, or maybe the disclaimer I read this as... is always implied and I'm the only one not getting it?
posted by metaBugs at 9:30 AM on November 11, 2011


Sure! Spelling doesn't matter! Besides, we're all paying good money for our degrees, so our professors should at least give us good marks!

No one is saying this at all; and this lazy mean-spirited snark for it's own sake is the worst thing about Metafilter. Thinking it's a bit silly to take of marks for every single instance of an alternative spelling of a word in paper is not saying spelling doesn't matter, and it really especially not saying professors owe people good grades.

Our clients are typically American, and we will lose the contract if our copy does not match American standard spelling.

If that were at all relevant to the situation you're addressing, it still wouldn't be a very good point.
posted by spaltavian at 9:32 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


McGill is falling apart. If these student get their way, it will continue to offer sub-standard facilities. An education massively increases your lifetime earning potential - that should cost you something. It's no surprise that people who are massively subsidized will continue to fight for every penny of their subsidy, but the fact that they're students doesn't make it sensible. Education in Quebec will continue to be accessible with this tuition increase - as is obvious when you compare Quebec rates to rates everywhere else.

Also, the first sentence of the article made me laugh:

Quebec students proved they are serious about fighting tuition fee increases as thousands of them skipped classes and marched through the streets of downtown Montreal on Thursday to demonstrate their opposition.

Perfect. It reminded me of this:

—You haven’t heard the half of it, Mr. President. The leader of the group says that if you don’t stop the war today they’re going to . . . to . . . I’m sorry, I can’t say it out loud. It’s just too terrifying.

—Say it, damn it! I’m the President!

—All right! If you don’t stop the war . . . they’re going to stop going to school for the remainder of the week.

—Send the troops home.
posted by Dasein at 9:34 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fact that McGill gets insufficient funding does not lead to "raise tuition!" as the only reasonable solution to the problem.

I didn't find that the framing was lol kids these days or lol frenchies, fwiw.
posted by jeather at 9:38 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dasein, I agree that a massive boost to your lifetime earning potential should cost you something. But how on earth does it make sense to pay upfront, before you get that boost?

I mean, you can take an extra $2k/year for the four or five years that someone is a student, or you could tax them $210/year for the forty or so years afterwards, when their income is 5x what it once was.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 9:57 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lest we forget that McGill likes to keep up the impression that it's the Harvard of Canada. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the tuition hike had nothing to do with inadequate funding and everything to do with keeping up appearances.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:57 AM on November 11, 2011


The tuition hike was not announced by McGill, nor was it unique to McGill. The hike is the provincial government hiking tuition at all universities. It has nothing to do with McGill wanting to keep up appearances. You seem to be misunderstanding the story.
posted by jeather at 10:05 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


The bar for post framing being good or bad here, so far as I understand it, has little or nothing to do with the OP's intentions; it's based on how that framing is received.

You're aware that the reverse implication is impossible? If Quebecois students are rioting over tuition increases when their tuition is half what it is in the rest of the country, why are students in the rest of Canada not building barricades in the streets?

(a 15%/year increase is pretty ridiculous)
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:05 AM on November 11, 2011


The simple answer to that is that "students in the rest of Canada" probably don't think protest will effect the change they're seeking. I really don't know, I'm not a student anymore. Anecdotally though, one of the biggest protests I was ever a part of was in response to proposed tuition hikes - this was in Toronto in the 1990s.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:16 AM on November 11, 2011


The tuition hike was not announced by McGill, nor was it unique to McGill. The hike is the provincial government hiking tuition at all universities. It has nothing to do with McGill wanting to keep up appearances. You seem to be misunderstanding the story.

Eh. I'm sure getting the other universities to go along with the idea of More Money!!! would be a really tough sell.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:18 AM on November 11, 2011


(Which raises the question: Isn't this collusion?)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:22 AM on November 11, 2011


Am I the only person that interpreted the first sentence as a dig at American students who threw a riot over a football coach while Canadian students are protesting over...something that is actually very important? I only know about this Penn State story from headlines, but the context seemed pretty obvious to me.
posted by polecat at 10:27 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


The context in Canada would be our last big riot -- the Vancouver riot, which I think it's safe to say most Canadians are pretty embarrassed by. So, it's a bit of a sore point, perhaps.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:39 AM on November 11, 2011


/slight derail

polecat

Having looked at the media response to Penn State, read the .pdf report of court findings & then sniffed around, three things seem clear:

The colleagues of the coach did report it to the police - who did nothing; whilst they should have done more (if not legally, then certainly ethically) the ball was put firmly into the hands of the legal authorities.

I've seen at least two comments from actual rioters stating it wasn't a riot about loosing a coach, it was (at the start, for at least some students) about the authorities, both academic and judicial, doing nothing about the situation. Where this point was lost in translation, and became a de-facto free for all is rather moot - the lack of police response to the reports of alleged abuse certainly isn't being reported heavily by MSM / commentators.

There's a stench around the entire saga that will result in witch hunts - including a disappeared lawyer & a missing hard drive in 2005. Already there's dark hints of a sex-abuse ring & suggestions of a pattern emerging.


But anyhow, think about ice hockey & riots, not everything is about the USA.


[edit - ninja'd by stinkycheese]
posted by Cheradine Zakalwe at 10:48 AM on November 11, 2011


*throws smoke bomb, disappears*
posted by stinkycheese at 10:51 AM on November 11, 2011


Eh. I'm sure getting the other universities to go along with the idea of More Money!!! would be a really tough sell.

I have no doubt that the administrations of all the universities are pleased by the idea of getting more money. Some administrators probably think the tuition hike is a good idea, some think it's a good idea but doubling tuition over 5 years is a little fast, some probably do not like the idea. But it's still not their decision to make or not make, it's a political decision, made by politicians, and not a "let's help McGill shore up its image" decision.
posted by jeather at 11:17 AM on November 11, 2011


Am I the only person that interpreted the first sentence as a dig at American students who threw a riot over a football coach while Canadian students are protesting over...something that is actually very important?

FWIW, that was the intent.
posted by googly at 11:48 AM on November 11, 2011


Yeah, I think there's an important relationship between militancy and perceived chances of winning. I'm hoping that the Quebec students manage some kind of unequivocal win (with the labour dispute at McGill, the conditions for a perfect storm?) because from my perch atop a mountain of debt in Ontario, the student movement here is dead dead dead after two decades of concessions. The element of collusion is undeniable.

Provincial government: Jump!
University administration: How high?
Corporate interests: Don't mind us, just minding the gap here.

Students, faculty, workers: dejectedsadface
posted by dustyasymptotes at 11:58 AM on November 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Quebec has the highest overall tax burden in the US and Canada.

And that's with the rest of Canada sending it money.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 3:11 PM on November 11, 2011


yeah, Ontario students protested in the '90s - they even broke down the doors of the legislature (literally) and sat shouting in the lobby of Queen's park. Which had absolutely no effect and tuition continued to increase by 9-10%, with the universities always taking as much as they were allowed.
posted by jb at 3:12 PM on November 11, 2011


with the universities always taking as much as they were allowed.

Don't forget the banks!

Student loans and lines of credit which are seen as a necessary part of young adulthood, which are given away to people with limited income at best, which can't be defaulted on or discharged in bankruptcy? Cha-ching!
posted by Sys Rq at 3:49 PM on November 11, 2011


> Am I the only person that interpreted the first sentence as a dig at American students who threw a riot over a football coach while Canadian students are protesting over...something that is actually very important?

There are also plenty of American students protesting the tuition hikes -- for instance, this past Wednesday at Berkeley, many Occupy Cal protesters were met with violence by the police despite being peaceful.
posted by movicont at 4:37 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


And they are a fucking joke.

I'm a sociology prof at the U of C, and we've had some outstanding- I mean world-class outstanding- grad students who did there undergrad at what's now Ambrose. I also interviewed at was in 2000 still a private church-affiliated "university college" (Augustana UC, which has since become U of A-Augustana and is no longer private, but it was then) and what I could observe of the undergrad mission there made what we do at U of C, a publish-or-perish research university that treats undergrads like garbage, look like a fucking joke.

Undergrad education in Canada- and I say this having taught at 5 universities in Canada- is a fucking joke.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 4:45 PM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


urgggh, "their" undergrad. I am a fucking joke.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 4:47 PM on November 11, 2011


I was referring to the "private" university experience here in BC, the University of Canada West, and Quest, the private university in Squamish. UVCW went under (not enough students) and I think Quest is struggling. Undoubtedly there are opportunities to deliver excellent curriculum in a smaller, more "agile" environment, but it's geared at more affluent students - these private universities are intended to be profit centers (which is why they fail).
posted by KokuRyu at 5:11 PM on November 11, 2011


Undergrad education in Canada is a joke, really?

Because I was an undergrad at an unselective university in Canada, then a TA at a very selective university in the US, and I found the expectations - and the performances of the top students - to be very similar.

You're right that the research-intensive universities in Canada don't put the thought or resources into undergraduate education that they should. But many of the less research-intensive put a lot of thought and resources into teaching. People who value that should seek out teaching quality, though they may have to give up prestige for it (e.g. York offers more contact with professors than UofToronto, and puts a lot of emphasis on teaching).
posted by jb at 7:52 PM on November 11, 2011


The quebecois pay a tiny fraction of the Canadian average, a mere pittance compared to the US, and they still bitch about a tuition increase? And meanwhile, the universities can't afford to pay their staff competitive wages - what happens when other north american universities snatch up all the top talent? Why would I want to work in Quebec, get paid less, work in a university with less resources? That's exactly why a friend of mine turned down a position at McGill, when he found out that he could be making almost twice as much money at University of Toronto.

Good job you cheap Quebecois, keep driving your universities and your own post secondary education into the ground. Ridiculous.
posted by yifes at 11:28 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dasein, I agree that a massive boost to your lifetime earning potential should cost you something. But how on earth does it make sense to pay upfront, before you get that boost?

It makes sense to take it upfront because otherwise it's costing the public upfront, and governments everywhere are broke. It also encourages students to think seriously and realistically about their time at university and their life goals. I think there should be long-term low-interest or interest-free loans available for students who can't afford to pay upfront (no student should be denied an education based on inability to pay), but I think that imposing some cost on the students themselves is an important way of ensuring they take responsibility for their time at university.
posted by Dasein at 6:51 AM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't recall the numbers, but back when I was involved with the student movement in the mid-90s, tuition fees accounted for less than 10% of PSE operating costs.

It's ridiculous to charge tuition fees in the first place, especially when students as consumers (which is really what they are if you insist on charging tuition fees in the first place) have little to no say over how schools are run.

Undergrads are increasingly ignored anyway in Canada. PSEs measure their worth according to how many research dollars they can pull in, or the size of their business schools.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:24 PM on November 12, 2011


As for the topic of this post, it is always awesome to see people standing up for themselves, so bravo and good luck to them!

Er, even when that group (university students) will be significantly wealthier than other Canadians in the future? Transferring funds to university students en masse with no means testing is hugely regressive.

I was a Canadian university student very recently and it's not hard for me to think of many, many people who could use the money more than the average university student.

If you're going to pair tuition cuts/freezes with progressive tax increases, I can see why that might be good policy - but these students are really only lobbying for one half of that.
posted by ripley_ at 12:07 AM on November 13, 2011


Subsidised tuition is unlike a simple transfer of funds in that society gets something of value out of it, in the form of an educated and competitive workforce. Just because some of its beneficiaries could have gotten by without it doesn't mean the money was wasted on them, as if the government were simply airdropping xboxes and good whiskey over anyplace 17-year-olds were living. The idea is that, in aggregate, society gets back what it's giving. I also think it's a very worthy way for a nation to spend its money (haha assuming it has any), especially in the context of the massive waste on things like wars, misguided and destructive development, subsidies of far less beneficial corporate entities and their practices, etc., that so many places are also engaging in.

If there are real injustices in the details of the Canadian system, then of course, let them be worked out. But, especially with all that young people are facing now as a consequence of older generations' past and ongoing actions, students' priority cannot be looking for compromises and making things easier for their government. If they don't advance their interests, absolutely nobody is going to. The powerful never forget this, yet whenever the powerless remember, they are endlessly critiqued and even downright shamed. Well, I don't care if these protesters' desires aren't perfectly formed, I don't want to be a part of that. Because it's not incumbent upon groups of citizens to be thoroughly reasonable and to make only meticulously implementable demands. A protest is not a policy plan submission, or even a manifesto - it's just a necessary form of communication with an entity that's otherwise as responsive as a concrete post. It's a legitimate part of the dialogue between the people and their leaders. It's an affirmation of their existence as a group, an assertion of the importance of their interests, and a peaceful exercise of their comparatively limited but collectively considerable power. Moreover, it's a negotiation. The students protesting here and around the world can't expect to get everything they ask for, but as in any negotiation, their responsibility at the table is to themselves, or they'll walk away with nothing. And even if this were a case where they shouldn't be asking, I think it's healthy and just excellent for democracy for them to develop the habit of being engaged with policy decisions that affect them, instead of wordlessly letting successive governments get away with whatever benefits them personally the most (if not cheering them on, see "America"), which is partly what's brought us to the place we find ourselves in now all over this earth.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 11:04 AM on November 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Openfile is doing a two-parter on the tuition debate. Part one is up today.
posted by jeather at 8:36 AM on November 23, 2011


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