The University of Manitoba student newspaper has a clear mandate as stated on your website “The newspaper’s primary mandate is to report fairly and objectively on issues and events of importance and interest to the students of the University of Manitoba.” If this holds true then I suggest you take a look at page 10 [of Sept. 12, 2012], titled as “Quebec protestors are no heroes: What we talk about when we’re talking about entitlement.” First off I think we should take a critical look at Jess Chapman when it comes to talking about entitlement, they write “I confess that [I] have not had my own struggles for education. My tuition, books, and fees were covered by a savings account my family set up for me as soon as I practically left the womb.” Talk about self proclaimed entitlement at its finest. They even go so far to say, “If any protestor interrupted my class to yell about neoliberalism or some such nonsense, I would go Katniss Everdeen on their whiny ass before they could say ‘drop fees.’”
The Manitoban is a student newspaper funded for in part by diverting $4 of dues from every student member of UMSU. The University of Manitoba Students Union Local 103 is a member of The Canadian Federation of Students, which has an active campaign on tuition fees, student debt, and student solidarity. Maybe Jess Chapman should do some preliminary research before bashing the student movement that UMSU is an engaged part of. For Jess Chapman it’s pretty easy to make such brash statements considering their parents set them up as they practically left the womb; but for many students in Canada they’re carrying huge amounts of debt. Today Canadians owe over $15 billion in student loan debt alone. It’s interesting to note, that annually the Federal government issues $2.4 billion in education tax credits and savings schemes. Restructuring these credits as upfront grants that would be non-repayable, the government would have a surplus of $200 million left over annually. For many students unlike Jess Chapman they carry their debt load for decades, Jess Chapman shouldn’t be so ignorant toward those that weren’t “set up” by their parents.
To touch on Jess Chapman’s statement, “to yell about neoliberalism or some such nonsense,” neoliberalism is no nonsense, it’s alive and well. Neoliberalism supports the privatization of nationalized industries, deregulation, and enhancing the role of the private sector in modern society. It’s these principals that lead to increases in tuition, reduction in accessible student housing, and increasing food prices. It’s what allows minimum wage in Manitoba to be $10.25/hour while living wage in Canada to currently be $13.33/hour. It’s neoliberalism that puts the satisfaction of social needs and human considerations secondary to those of profitability. It’s clear that this is why thousands of students across Canada and even those in Manitoba have taken part in such campaigns as ‘Drop Fees,’ ‘Education is a right,’ and is the fundamental reason why students in Quebec protested – not entitlement. Entitlement is what Jess Chapman proclaims in the second paragraph of the article they wrote.
It’s a shame that a student newspaper that gets funded through students in participation with UMSU would print material that has little or no research and is outright undignified.
Youth, Labour, and Social Justice Activist – Winnipeg
Letters to the Editor are printed in the Manitoban as we receive them, with minimal editing done for purposes of spelling, punctuation, etc.