-----Original Message-----
From: YUFA-Announce [mailto:YUFA-M@YorkU.CA]On Behalf Of YUFA
Sent: March 5, 2001 9:13 AM
To: YUFA-M@YORKU.CA
Subject: FW: URGENT: The Situation at Trent University

 

At 3:00 am Thursday, the police stormed the Vice-Presidentís office at Trent University and handcuffed and arrested 8 female students.  The students were occupying the V-Pís office to protest the closing of the universityís two downtown colleges (see the letter from Trent students below). The students have been granted bail, so they are out of jail, but evidently one of the conditions is that they cannot associate together on campus (except at the OPIRG office) or be on campus after 11:00 p.m.!

Faculty associations must come out strongly against the actions of the Trent Administration and of the police. Both the issues these students are fighting for, and the way in which they have been (mis)treated demand an immediate response.  During the recent CUPE 3903 labour dispute at York, the Administration launched an unprecedented attack on the unionís right to strike by attempting to take away their right to picket on university property.  The York All-Union Coalition joined with student groups, and with labour organizations across this province, to denounce this action. The union continued to picket until the strike was settled.

What is happening at Trent bears close attention for what it says about the trajectory of university governance in this province. The Board of Governorís decision to override the senate (which voted against closing the colleges) and move ahead with President Pattersonís plans to close the downtown colleges is a gross violation of the norms and procedures of academic governance.

Giving our full support to these students will not only make their voice stronger now, it will help build alliances that are essential if we are to effectively resist the Harris agenda for post-secondary education.  It is important that faculty associations, student organizations, and social justice groups use the media to send a clear message about how appalled they are by this action. A very serious situation has developed at Trent.  YUFA has sent a letter and will be making a donation help offset legal costs.  Please consider doing the same.

Lorna Erwin, Vice-Chair (external), York University Faculty Association

URGENT - Letter from Students at Trent 

We write to notify you that eight Trent students are presently in jail.  Twenty-five police officers raided Lady Eaton College last night at 3:00am, arresting the eight students occupying the Vice Presidentís office as well as the students supporting them outside. The eight occupying students have been charged; the remaining seventeen were detained and later released.
At the time of the raid, the students were engaged in an ongoing dialogue with police, which they were led to believe would result in a peaceful resolution.
Students were occupying the Vice Presidentís office in the hope of  pressuring the administration to negotiate, or simply acknowledge a number of University-wide concerns. Some of these include corporate advertising on campus, increased threat of privatization, the threat to the college system, and encroachment of private interests, and most importantly administrative accountability and transparency. The fond hope of these students has always been to restore and re-empower the legitimate elected decision-making bodies of the University that have been systematically silenced and ignored by the current
administration.
These events mark the first time in the long history of Trent student protests, that an administration has opted to use force instead of dialogue in dealing with student concerns. It is to be noted that at no time has Bonnie Patterson offered a gesture of negotiation for a peaceful resolution. >From the first day of the occupation, Patterson behaved in an obstinate and vindictive manner, clearly stating her personal desire to see the students punished. Her attitude predetermined the violent nature of the conclusion to the occupation. We see this as the culmination of a climate of intolerance that has increasingly enveloped the University under the current administration.
We do not ask you to endorse the tactics taken by the students during the occupation nor share all their concerns; we do, however, appeal to you as members of the University community to seriously evaluate the implications of the Presidentís heavy-handed approach to ending the occupation. The eight jailed students desperately need your recognition and support.