Mount Saint Vincent University students planned to deliver 350 postcards to the university’s board of governors Tuesday to protest a proposed 20 per cent tuition hike.

“We’re going to be displaying the postcards outside of the board and having students hold the board members walk into the meeting because they are going to be voting on a 20 per cent increase today,” Jon Grant, vice president of advocacy for the Mount’s students’ union, said in an interview Tuesday morning.

The blue postcards simply say “Freeze the fees” and have a space on the back of them for students to write a message to the board.


“We would like to see the board vote down the tuition increase because in all reality it’s not something that the university needs,” Grant said.

“We’ve seen students that are struggling to pay rent, struggling to afford food and we just don’t see how this matches the university’s mandate of social justice and it’s also not a situation where the university is in a massive amount of debt and trying to make up some sort of deficit.”

Grant called a 20 per cent increase over the next three years “pretty substantial” in an era when students face some of the highest tuition fees in Canadian history.

“The average Canadian student graduates with about $37,000 in debt,” he said.

“And once this is fully implemented, this is going to raise the cost of a degree by about $5,000 so it is quite substantial.”

High tuition fees are causing “extreme spikes” in the use of counselling services and of the on-campus food bank, Grant said.

“So, it’s hugely problematic,” he said.

The protest was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at the Rosaria Student Centre, one hour before the board of governors met.

In an emailed statement to this newspaper, university spokeswoman Gillian Batten said that as part of the province’s decision to allow universities to make adjustments to tuition to be implemented over three years, the Mount has been consulting with students, faculty and staff over the past several weeks on a possible tuition adjustment.

“As the funding gap increases for Nova Scotia universities, we have a responsibility to consider an adjustment towards ensuring a sustainable future for the Mount,” Batten wrote.

All feedback received through this consultation process has been shared with the university’s board of governors, Batten said.

“It is anticipated that the Board may vote on a proposal based on those discussions.”

The university will not be sharing the results of the meeting until Wednesday morning.