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A large group of faculty and students from Universite de Saint-Boniface rallied today, chanting "yes to education and no to cutbacks." 

 

The rally was in response to a tuition increase of 6.6 per cent and the decision by the school's board of governors to eliminate two teaching positions in the science department in its recent budget.

"This budget will have a negative impact on course offerings, programs and students," the Association des professeurs et professionnels de l'Universite de Saint-Boniface (APPUSB) said in a statement. "Reducing the number of science courses offered will discourage students from pursuing their post-secondary studies in French." 

APPUSB also says their disappointment in the decisions is amplified by the fact that no other post-secondary institutions have cut back their programs, despite budget cuts and less funding from the province. Last year, the province decreased post-secondary education funding by 0.9 per cent but told institutions they could raise tuition by 5 per cent plus the rate of inflation. 

Universite de Saint-Boniface, the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg all went with a maximum increase of 6.6 per cent. 

"For our tuition and our students loans, that's a lot," Ben Youssouf Marega, president of the Universite de Saint-Boniface Student Union said today. "We have to pay back those loans so I think that is a big load on our shoulders as students." 

Youssouf Marega says today's rally was aimed at the school but also wanted its message to carry to the province, which he says opened the door to these cuts and tuition increases. 

"It's the government who is telling them they can do that," he said. "After this year they can increase again and exceed the year after and that will be more and more hard on us."