By William Crooks
Local Journalism Initiative
At their monthly meeting Oct. 24, Lennoxville’s Councillors universally deplored the recent provincial commitment to double tuition for out-of-province university students. Along with putting forward an official statement in support of Bishop’s University (BU) “to help counter the tuition hike”, the Councillors expressed their personal views on the subject. Two residents attended the proceedings, which were otherwise mostly uneventful, including, notably, BU Student Representative Council (SRC) Student Life VP Olivia Woods. The meeting began at 5 p.m.
Councillor Claude Charron read out the Council’s “recommendation”. BU has existed for over 180 years in Lennoxville, he began. Thirty per cent of the student body is made up of out-of-province students. Losing these students could have a “catastrophic” effect on the functioning of BU as a whole. Many local residents work directly or indirectly for BU, and their employment is now under threat in the medium or long term. Thus, the Council supports BU in their opposition to the tuition hike. The recommendation will be forwarded to Geneviève Hébert, MNA of the Saint-François region.
“I am usually an optimistic person,” Councillor Jennifer Garfat said, giving her personal views on the tuition hike, “but all I could think of is at least this bomb didn’t fall and destroy buildings.” This bomb does not do damage materially, but in another way, she continued. Garfat wore her BU Gaiters sweatshirt to the meeting, overtop of her McGill sweatshirt, of which she is a proud graduate.
University is about learning to keep learning, she said. Meeting people at McGill from all over the world and the rest of Canada was an important part of her experience there. Even if some who study in Quebec do not stay here, they become “ambassadors” for the province when they return home. She has sons who have either graduated from McGill, are there currently, or have graduated from BU.