“Can I get a refund?”

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Graphic by: Jill Lynn Design

The provincial government and UW have successfully pulled a fast one on students this semester.

Following Doug Ford’s Student Choice Initiative, UW students remain relatively uninformed about how to opt out of student fees and what the consequences are.

The system has changed, too bad someone forgot to tell students.

Neither Imprint, nor any UW service can issue a refund as of this fall semester.

Our $4.35 fee can only be opted out when students pay their tuition.

Once you’ve paid, that’s it.

But students still come to my office asking if we give refunds and wondering why their province, their university, or their student union didn’t think to tell them about opting out online.

What’s even less known is that if a student wants to use their legal service, or get a paying job on campus, they’ll face additional screening.

UW groups are now being asked to look up student numbers to see if they’ve paid the appropriate fee to ensure their eligibility for that service or job.

Such is the dystopian state of Ontario universities in 2019.

Cash-strapped students are given the choice to opt out of their own opportunities in exchange for a few bucks and identity screening on campus.

Worse yet is many students didn’t even know their “choice” is now online-only.

UW and the provincial government can be commended for giving students a valuable political-economics lesson: They keep you in the dark to keep you poor.

For an optional $4.35 fee, Imprint provides eight to ten student jobs and over 20 volunteer positions, in a world where you need job experience before you can get a job.

Imprint will continue shining a harsh light on everything affecting students for free, no matter which way you “opt.”

Students deserve more than the false choice currently presented to them.

 Where do students go if they want the province to fund their student services?

What box do students check if they’d rather not pay tuition at all, like other developed countries?

The only place for frustrated students is protesting in the street and advocating at the ballot box.

What’s inspiring is many UW students are doing just that; with housing, climate, and Hong Kong rallies sweeping the global student body.

After years of youth political apathy, people on campus are taking their future into their own hands and making their voices heard.

Older generations should be fearful for their legacy.