The Great ESS Swindle

Here’s a special bonus add-on to my post on graphing the University of Alberta’s finances:

This morning I discovered (thanks to a post by Ian Bushfield) that not only are “market modifiers” (a pretty term for “massive increases”) to engineering tuition going through, the Engineering Students’ Society is endorsing them!

The usual excuses are made, and I’m perfectly willing to accept that there is nothing that the ESS could have done about this. What leverage do they have? The only possible result of negotiations was to present the Faculty’s decision as a fait accompli.

The ESS may have to accept this, but we don’t.

This is not just an issue for engineering undergrads. Grad students at the U of A have already seen other “market modifier” proposals, and at the University of Calgary, students in business, education, engineering, law and medicine are affected by similar fees.

If we can’t depend on the ESS (or other official groups) to work effectively against tuition increases, then we can’t depend on them to make sure this money is spent properly, either. We need a society for engineering students (and all students) that actually involves the students it claims to represent, and uses the power that only an angry mob can generate.