Defending Student Rights

A collection of articles related to the Ford Government’s cuts to higher education and the attack on democratic student organizations in Ontario.


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Ontario faculty, staff, and students oppose Ford government’s 'performance' funding for postsecondary institutions | OUCC

The proposed market-based performance funding model will tie 60 per cent (over $3 billion dollars) of postsecondary funding to each institution’s ‘performance’ against a set of arbitrary and flawed metrics. This dramatic shift follows years of stagnant public funding for postsecondary education in Ontario, and is only the latest in a series of attacks on the foundations of postsecondary education in the province, including cuts of over $400 million to college and university budgets, cuts of almost $700 million to student financial assistance, and cuts to the democratically determined student fees that allow students’ unions to advocate on behalf of, and provide vital support to their members.

OCUFA estimates Ford’s 'performance' funding could cut university budgets by over $500 million dollars | OCUFA

Toronto, Sep. 4, 2019 – Ontario faculty are warning that the Ford government’s so called ‘performance’ funding model for postsecondary education is reckless, ineffective, and dangerous. The new funding model will link 60 per cent of government funding for universities ($2.2 billion dollars) to an arbitrary set of metrics chosen with no consultation. These metrics will not actually measure “performance” but are likely to be used as an excuse to cut university budgets. Across Ontario, OCUFA estimates that this new funding model could mean cuts of over $500 million dollars that will substantially undermine our postsecondary institutions’ academic missions and mandates.

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Graduate student issues and the academy | Graham Cox

A version of this article was presented to the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario 2018 general meeting. The domination of the neoliberal view for the previous nearly four decades has meant that all public spending has to be couched as supporting the private economy. Even for something as basic as higher education cannot be described as having an inherent value, it must be commodified and linked to some private sector profit. In the case of university, public funding is only available because it is part of the private sectors desire to have skilled workers. As such, a post-secondary education degree is only talked about as a pathway to a job, and not as a valuable process by itself.

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Ontario Budget 2019 undermines the academic system | Graham Cox

The Ford Government’s cuts to the university sector puts additional strain on an already stressed funding system. The new budget drives an aggressive free-market agenda obsessed with short-term results that does not work in a university setting and will undermine teaching, learning, and research in Ontario. The announced direction for Strategic Mandate Agreement’s (SMAs) will drive universities to align their teaching and research priorities with short-term labour market demands. This will undermine of the long-term research and teaching objectives at the heart of quality academic education and research. In short, the budget is a disaster for the academy and will bring hardship to the workers, students, and faculty on our campuses.