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Brock University Participating in National Walkout Protest

Photo provided by Alex Wilder

Students to gather outside the office of St. Catharine MP Chris Bittle

Brock University students are encouraging the federal government to increase funding to help graduate and postdoctoral students. 

Today, Brock's March for Grad Funding is taking place, as part of the nation-wide Support our Science National Walkout Protest. 

Students from Brock and McMaster University are gathering outside the office of St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle, in order to make their voices heard. 

Students are calling on the Tri-Council Agency to increase funding for grants, fellowships, and scholarships for research students, which haven't increased since 2003.

We spoke with lead organizer Alex Wilder, who says graduate and postdoctoral students are suffering a lot from the lack of funding. 

"I know people who are living with people who are 18-19 years old, and they're in their 30s, because we're not getting paid enough to rent a one-person apartment by ourselves. If you're a single person, you're really struggling to get by. Food insecurity is another really, really big problem for graduate students. We have a program called Food First, and the graduate demand is so high, and we can't keep funding it."

Since 2003, a Canada Graduate Scholarship is $17,500 per year for a master's student or $21,000 for a doctoral student. 

In exchange, students are expected to work full-time on their research, and many students are not allowed to spend over ten hours a week on other paid work. 

Wilder says this has forced some students to have to decide between paying for groceries and continuing with their studies. 

"If Canada wants to continue being a research leader, they need graduate students. Without grauate students, there is no research. We are the ones that drive the research programs and projects, and everything our advisors are doing comes from the work that comes out of our degrees."

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