News / Halifax

'They’re afraid of these fee hikes:' public Dalhousie tuition hike meeting not so public

Dalhousie director of communications Brian Leadbetter approached Metro at the presentation, and asked that the event not be recorded or photographed.

Dalhousie Student Union Vice President (Academic and External) John Hutton holds a box of macaroni and cheese with the label education is a right at the Halifax post-secondary school Wednesday. The boxes were being used as part of a protest to a budget consultation at the school Wednesday.

Jeff Harper/Metro

Dalhousie Student Union Vice President (Academic and External) John Hutton holds a box of macaroni and cheese with the label education is a right at the Halifax post-secondary school Wednesday. The boxes were being used as part of a protest to a budget consultation at the school Wednesday.

A public presentation by Dalhousie University’s Budget Advisory Committee on Wednesday turned out to be anything but.

The presentation was the fourth of its kind, designed to inform students and get their feedback on proposed tuition hikes for the coming budget year.

Dalhousie director of communications Brian Leadbetter approached Metro at the presentation, and asked that the event not be recorded or photographed.

“It’s not a public event for reporters,” he said.

When asked why the presentation could not be recorded, he said, “It’s just not a public event.”

“It’s a stakeholder event for Dalhousie students,” he said. “This is not staged as a public event.”

Dalhousie Student Union vice president academic and external John Hutton said Leadbetter had no right to demand the event not be recorded, as it was being held in the student union building.

“I hope it sends the message that they’re afraid of these fee hikes,” he said.

“They don’t want the public to know what they’re doing to young people in this province.”

Hutton and the DSU were holding a “Kraft Dinner Consultation” at the event, designed to tell the Budget Advisory Committee that its planned tuition hikes are unacceptable.

The Committee released a report last month recommending a three per cent tuition hike for all students this fall, along with 28 per cent for agricultural students and 24 per cent for engineering students over the next three years.

“Kraft Dinner is what students have to eat because of high tuition fees,” he said. “It’s low in nutrition, low in flavour, and the only option available after students are working one, sometimes two jobs while simultaneously trying to get through a full course load.”

The student union had boxes of Kraft Dinner stickered with statistics and slogans, and planned to shake them like maracas at the end of the presentation.

“We want them to know what they’re doing is not just numbers in a budget. They’re affecting actual people’s lives,” Hutton said. “We have 200 students a month using our food bank. That’s going to go up.”

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