Dozens of students rallied Tuesday to let UVic’s board of governors know that they think they’re overcharging foreign students.

“This is a pattern. It’s not just at UVic, it’s a pattern everywhere,” says Ainsley Kerr, director of campaigns and community relations for UVic’s Student Society.

“It means international students are gonna have a really hard time paying for school.”

The board is moving forward with a 15 per cent tuition hike for foreign students. Last year, the university increased tuition by 20 per cent for the same students. And they say it’s too much.

“For a lot of people that aren’t as lucky as some of us, it means they have to go home,” explains Efe Turker, an international student.

“It means they have to leave everything behind and go back. To a lot of people, it means cutting off food, transportation, or going out.”

But tuition hikes weren’t the only issue on the protesters’ minds. They say they want UVic to slash its almost $40 million investment in fossil fuels.

“There are a number of great portfolios that don’t include fossil fuels as an investment portfolio,” says Lena Price, from Divest UVic, a student organization.

“We’ve seen a ton of universities divest from Canada, the US, and the UK.”

While university officials say they are willing to talk about some issues, they aren’t interested in discussing the tuition increase.

“The motion was passed for the budget framework that includes a tuition increase for international students,” says Gayle Gorrill, vice president of finance and operations at UVic, who is on the board of governors.

Students say they are disappointed the university didn’t listen to them on fee increases, but say they continue to fight for an end to UVic’s investment in fossil fuels.

“This is not the last time that the university will be hearing from Divest,” says Price.

The tuition fee increase for international students will go into effect in fall 2019.

 

Aaron Guillen