News  Engineering Council discusses tuition hikes

Councillors: Students protesting tuition hikes not representative of engineering student body

The Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS) Council met last Monday to discuss impending tuition hikes, as well as the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students’s (CFES) annual congress.

Discussion centered on how students protesting against tuition increases do not properly represent the engineering student body. Ethan Landy, president of the Civil Engineering Undergraduate Society, noted that the views of most engineering students are not being heard.

“Radical action is not the best representation of students,” said Landy. “I don’t think most engineering students are against tuition hikes.”

VP Academic Harold Day agreed with Landy, stating that most engineering students have more pressing concerns. “We have to find a way to make [Principal Heather Munroe-Blum] understand that the majority of students don’t care about the issue,” said Day.

The Arts Undergraduate Society has held two General Assemblies (GAs) as part of mobilizing around tuition hikes. The Science Undergraduate Society also recently announced it would hold a GA on the issue on February 29. President Josh Redel later confirmed with The Daily that the EUS would not be holding a GA.

Redel also announced to council his intention to run for SSMU president this semester.

The meeting also featured a report on the CFES Congress. The CFES, which represents 60,000 engineering students across Canada, holds an annual congress meeting that brings together various Canadian engineering student associations. The CFES held the conference, which ran this year from January 4 to 12, in Whitehorse, Yukon. Redel, EUS VP External Myriam Desranleau, and former EUS President Dan Keresteci attended the conference.

During the Council meeting, Redel, Desranleau, and Keresteci noted some conclusions from the congress that could be applied to improve EUS in the future. Redel observed that schools in the CFES stress integrating engineering logos on their clothes, adding that the EUS needs “more widespread branding.”

“It identifies you as an engineer,” added Keresteci.

Nonetheless, Redel, Desranleau, and Keresteci all agreed that the CFES congress itself could be improved. Notably, Redel stated that the CFES fails to lobby to industries and the government on behalf of engineering students. “[CFES] will never budge on lobbying, because it is not what CFES believes what it is,” said Redel. Currently, lobbying is not included in the mandate of the CFES.

Last year, the EUS co-signed a letter accusing the CFES of mismanagement and questioning its leadership; holding the annual conference in the Yukon was one of the issues the EUS raised at the time, as well as the lack of CFES lobbying.