University of Toronto Mississauga has been a hotspot for prominent filming sites in the last few years. Though for a moment we can boast the list of stars that have walked our floors, it’s important to note where the money to build these sites come from—us. UTM has been shamelessly stripping students of their hard-earned money by capitalizing on their contributions to the development of the campus and generating profit through exploitative streams of income. All while students have been struggling mentally and financially amid the grueling pandemic.
Earlier this year, UTM rented campus to several televisions series and films, including The Handmaid’s Tale, Zombies 3, Good Sam, and The Boys, all while students were at home taking attendance at Zoom University. Rather than granting students access to amenities they pay for, or lowering their cost when they are unavailable, the university instead offered them to directors and producers.
Additionally, UTM increased tuition rates for students this year and last year. Students have protested, both online and in-person, but have been denied the option to remove incidental fees. Predictably, the Office of the Registrar has also reduced their hours and services to avoid an angry crowd of students.
Though some buildings are open to students now, the campus also requires parking permits, which are approximately $700 for the campus and over $1,000 for students on residence. Otherwise, people are expected to pay an outrageous $2.50 per half hour without the pass. Students are overcharged in every aspect of their university experience, even down to the overpriced $8 water bottles in the Davis building.
The challenges that students have faced during the pandemic, and the toll online schooling has had on them, is being exploited by the university for lucrative profiting opportunities. If the university is making so much money from filming, why charge us, the students, at all? Where’s our return on our investments?