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niK ( Iatkwav • volume XCVIII raimlHT 5 

ormon 7 

Quit sullying tuition s good name 

If you re planning on going out mid protesting it. make sure you do it right 


D own Willi tuition: it's a cry 
often heard on campuses 
across Canada these days-— 
especially here at the U of A—but if 
you stop sticking it to the man long 
enough to think about it. it becomes 
apparent that this particular turn 
of phrase is counter-intuitive to say 
the least. 

That’s because tuition actually 
means instruction, with the money 
you pay for said instruction being 
your tuition fees. 

Far be it from me to resist linguis¬ 
tic change, however, as the mean¬ 
ings of most all of the words we use 
in the English language today have 
changed by degrees since their incep¬ 
tion (including "tuition" itself, which 
comes ultimately from a Latin word 
meaning guardianship). 

Indeed, as a sign of the times, the 
Canadian Oxford Dictionary—the 
"official dictionary of the Canadian 
Press," don't you know—has the mon¬ 
etary sense as the primary meaning 
of tuition, with the instruction itself' 
coming in a close second. 

Still, you can impress your friends 
at protest parties by saying “up 
with tuition" and then proceeding to 
explain the word’s etymology—pro¬ 
vided, of course, that your friends are 
a bunch of English nerds. Otherwise, 
you’ll just end tip being unpopular 
like me. 

Fortunately, I’m beginning to find 
myself it> good company in demand¬ 
ing more from my university (okay. 

so technically speaking, it’s my 
a/raa mater now. to use some more 
fancy Latin words). Namely, the 
Students’ Union and its council (well, 
some of it. anyway), who have, with 
the recent Bear Scat/Tracks scandal— 
dare we say. Bearsgate?—decided 
to draw a line in the proverbial sand 
and insist that the University be 
responsible for providing students 
with a decent online registration 

Still, you can impress 
vour friends at protest 
parties by saving up 
with tuition and then 
proceeding to explain 
die words etymology— 
provided of course, 
diat your friends are a 
bunch of English nerds. 

Say what you will about the way they 
handled Bear Scat—and coupling the 
student response so far with good old- 
fashioned common sense. I’m going to 
say that they screwed it up big-time— 
the 51U has. in sticking (prohably too) 
tightly to their guns, undertaken a subde 
but imponanr shift in the way they do 
business. That is, a shift away from 
complaining about how much 
university costs. and towards 
coming to terms with this cost and 
demanding more bang for dieir 
educational buck. 

Most, if not all. of the last ten or so 
SU execs—and certainly the last four 
or five—have focused almost entirely 
on the admittedly unjust increases to 
tuition fees in our province. But given 
the reality that there’s almost certainly 

no way of getting the University 
or the government to actually rescind 
on these increases—as well as the 
annual caps that have been imposed 
on them—simply railing against 
these annual single-digit increases 
out of principle seems increasingly to 
be a waste of time. 

If. however, you insist on jump¬ 
ing on the protest train, then at least 
try to take some free tuition from the 
French: student groups in Quebec are 
now threatening "an unlimited gen¬ 
eral student strike” in response to their 
government’s de-freezing of tuition 
fees for the first rime since 1994. 

How Quebec students can live in 
complete denial of inflationary forces 
for so long is beyond me—as is how 
students can, strictly speaking, go on 
strike, seeing as they aren’t employed 
by the universities or producing 
much of anything (other than, per¬ 
haps. potential future value for the 
labour pool), i suppose threatening to 
withhold payment is the force at 
work here. 

But the fact remains that if you’re 
going to protest something, you’ve got 
to go all out. And erne of these Quebec 
student coalitions—the Association 
Pour uneSolida riteSyndicate El udiante 
(ASSE)—is doing just that, going so 
far as to demand that tuition be free. 

Though it’s a bit of a stretch, go trig 
or go home 1 say. Why not demand 
the same here in Alberta, where 
our government could realistically 
afford it? 

Instead, we’re content with think¬ 
ing that maybe somebody should 
do sometlung about that gosh dam 
tuition thing one of these days. 
At this rate, "tuition" will simply 
come to mean "increase.” and stu¬ 
dents and linguistic purists alike will 
have something new to complain 

Rogue candidates would spice up elections 

All of a si idden, [jolting .stations would lx* packed 
with every last voter in tiie city, each casting their 
ballots to ensure someone with a good conscience 
and desire to do good in die city would get into 
public office, and not some disgruntled down vvidi a 
vendetta against mimes." 

P eople just don’t seem to care 
about mimicipaleiections. Not 
that that’s news, but 1 mean, 
people don’t care even a little bit. 
In fact, the last time that Edmonton 
held mayoral elections, the turnout 
was a jialtry 42 per cent—and that 
was a marked improvement from 
the 35 per cent turnout the election 
before that. 

At this point, the municipal gov¬ 
ernment is practically chosen by 
aristocratic means, since a minority 
of the population is now represent¬ 
ing the whole. 

The general attitude is "Who gives 
a fuck?" despite the fact that the 
people sworn into office from these 
elections are in control of hundreds 
of millions of dollars and make 
decisions that significantly effect 
the people of the city, be It in their 
management of the roadways, public 
transportation, municipal employees, 
or even recreation programs. 

Clearly, with the current atti¬ 
tude of apalhy still prevailing in the 
face of all that the City Council is 
responsible for. we’re past the point 
where a simple advertising campaign 
could bring back some semblance 

of majority representation to the 
municipal elections. 

We’re in Hail Mary territory here, 
and I’ve got just the play to run: all 
that we need to do to get people back 
to the voting booths is to grant the 
mayor and all those with seats on 
Council total immunity from the 

No crime they commit, no matter 
how heinous, could ever be brought 
before a judge. No matter how many 
laws they broke in full view of the 
public, the police couldn’t lay their 
hands on them. Just imagine a city 
where the mayor could drive to work 
drunk, in a tank. On the wrong side 
of the road. Throwing hard drugs to 
school children. While uttering racial 

All of a sudden, polling stations 
would be (tacked with every last voter 
in the city, each casting their ballots 
to ensure someone with a good con¬ 
science and desire to do good in the 
city would gel into public office, and 
not some disgruntled clown with a 
vendetta against mimes. 

Additionally. It would make the 
race for municipal office a much 
bigger and showier event. Mob bosses 

would pour money into their cam¬ 
paigns in hopes that they’d be able 
to deal drugs and whack snitches 
with disdain for the police. The cra¬ 
zies would campaign like. well, crazy 
for the opportunity to take their 
insanity to the next normally illegal 
level. And all tlte while, the legitimate 
candidates would be required to 
work twice as hard in order to con¬ 
vince the public of their convic¬ 
tions and that they don’t harbour 
a secret desire to go to the near¬ 
est nursing home and beat up the 
residents. The entire democratic 
process would be once again revital¬ 

Naturally, all those working for 
Elections and Census Services will 
ignore this groundbreaking new way 
to approach municipal elections, 
because they don’t really give a fuck 
about city elections either. 

it’s a shame though, as the potential 
of electing a “rogue mayor" would 
really put the kick back in these 
elections—plus it would finally give 
me ihe opportunity to free myself 
from these societal shackles we call 
clothes. 1 guess I’ll just keep my fin¬ 
gers crossed. 



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