Nfld. & Labrador

Small tuition increase wouldn't be the worst thing, says MUN student

Maintaining a university requires revenue, and a small increase would still make MUN the lowest tuition in Canada, says Matthew Drover.

MUN needs revenue to keep from literally falling apart, says student Matthew Drover

Memorial University took a hit in the 2017 provincial budget and has said it is looking for ways to make up a $11.9 million shortfall. (CBC)

After a dust-up Wednesday between Memorial University and its student union, one student is saying a tuition hike wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen.

MUNSU says the university administration is considering a 16.3 per cent tuition increase — with a rebate for Newfoundland and Labrador students — as a way to make up for cuts in the 2017 provincial budget.

We do need to realize when we look around the campus our infrastructure is crumbling.- Matthew Drover

The student union said this increase would have a "devastating impact" on students, while the university's vice-president, Noreen Golfman, said it's just one of many options on the table for discussion at a meeting on Monday.

"An important thing to remember here is that our university does have the lowest tuition in Canada already," says student Matthew Drover.

Renata Lang, MUNSU director of external affairs, and Noreen Golfman, the university's vice-president. (CBC)

"Which is great, of course, but we do need to realize when we look around the campus our infrastructure is crumbling."

The provincial government cut MUN's operating grant by $11.9 million, which is double what the university said it was expecting.

MUN needs revenue to maintain resources

Drover said the latest cuts, paired with a lack of revenue available to the university, means students are missing out on a number of education resources.

Memorial University cut a number of subscriptions to academic journals in January 2016. (CBC)

"Lots of academic journals and articles were cut. This can make research really difficult for bachelor of arts students and science students as well," he told CBC's St. John's Morning Show.

"The government provides the university with an operating grant — one of the largest operating grants in Canada for a university. It was recently reduced, like I said, because it was the largest operating grant. So a small tuition increase or whatever could probably benefit the university as a whole."

Drover took issue with the way MUNSU released its information this week, as well.

'Filling the student body with paranoia'

The university said the union's releasing of what it called discussion documents was "inflammatory."

On MUNSU's Facebook page, Drover points to a number of infographics about salaries and benefits for employees at MUN.

Drover, for his part, said he wants to see the sources for MUNSU's information.

"Fighting for students is one thing, but spreading false, unproven information, filling the student body with paranoia with incorrect rumours, essentially, is another," he said.

"If we get a response from the vice-president on this, I think it just goes to show how concerning ths should be that MUNSU would release a very wide statement like this with, again, no external source to back up the numbers they're coming up with."

With files from the St. John's Morning Show