I’m a fan of defunding student unions as I’ve mentioned elsewhere before.
It’s actually a great idea and I wish it was only done sooner, while I was still a student attending an Ontario university.
Since his changes to post-secondary education, Doug Ford has made student union fees opt-in, meaning that students can choose whether they wish to contribute the several hundred dollars a term to their student unions.
While the union fees are now optional, fees for essential services like transit, health, athletics, counseling and career services are still mandatory.
The way I see it, Doug Ford is only shaving off the dead weight.
In a recent fundraising email the Progressive Conservatives of Ontario justified their decisions to adjust student union fees by pointing to their ideological biases.
“I think we all know what kind of crazy Marxist nonsense student unions get up to. So, we fixed that. Student union fees are now opt-in,” said an email sent out by Ford to supporters.
Student unions have served to do nothing but unnecessarily politicize university campuses, and have become ideological cliques that are prone to fraud and corruption.
Time and time again, student unions have proven themselves to be hilariously inept.
Take for example, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa.
Simply because of the fact that a Canadian woman was instructing the yoga class, the union felt it necessary to cancel the event because it wasn’t “inclusive enough”.
Stories like this are as common as they come. Every university has their own version of this.
The reality is that most students are either apathetic or hostile to their student unions, and it’s mainly because they continue to prove themselves to be embarrassments.
To anybody who has gone to university in the last decade, Doug Ford’s accusations of “Marxism” ring true.
It’s a shameful fact that student unions are one-sided in their politics.
A 2013, Maclean’s column by a University of Toronto student also makes this fact abundantly clear.
As outlined in the piece, University of Toronto Student Union representatives actively partook in events hosted by the Communist Party of Canada, and posed beside Marxist posters during their tenures.
For a while the solution to these problems might have been to get more students to vote.
Student representative elections are plagued by voter apathy and ridiculously low voter turn out. If only more students engaged in the managing of their own affairs, perhaps the union problem could be fixed.
But this never came to fruition, the fact is that most students are either too busy focusing on their studies or careers to be involved in student government, while the ones who actively engage are driven by ideological purposes.
The truth is that Doug Ford might have just saved students money and grief, but don’t expect him to be thanked.