News / Ottawa

Students barricade U of O administration offices over tuition fee hike

Protesters blocked access to University of Ottawa administration offices  Thursday morning.

“There are students who are blocking access to the second floor of Tabaret Hall,” said spokesperson Nicole Desnoyers shortly after 8 a.m.

The students protested a 4.3-percent increase in tuition fees approved by the school’s Board of Governors in April as well as showing solidarity for the Quebec students’ tuition protest, she said.

Campus security allowed the protesters to stay, but asked them not to use furniture in their barricade—a response Desnoyers said was reasonable.

The university has not yet fully adopted a budget for the upcoming year and students are hoping for a reversal in the decision to increase tuition fees if the budget is adopted at a meeting scheduled for next Monday.

The school administration and campus security initially blocked media from accessing the protest on the second floor, but later let reporters onto the landing protesters were occupying.

University spokesperson Caroline Milliard said the tuition increase of 4.3 per cent is slightly lower than the 5 per cent recommended by the provincial government.

"It's also important for us to mention that 30 per cent of the tuition increase is directed at financial aid and bursaries, that counterbalances the raise a little bit," Milliard said.

The university allowed the protest to continue because the students have a right to voice their views and they conducted themselves appropriately, Milliard said.

While some people, including school president Allan Rock, were prevented from accessing their offices, they were able to get their work done elsewhere, she said.

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