Canadian Students Revolt

Student Activist Network (students@tao.ca)
Fri, 14 Feb 1997 23:21:17 -0500 (EST)


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Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 22:41:11 -0500 From: Andrea Calver <Andrea_Calver@mail.campuslife.utoronto.ca> Subject: Fwd: U of T OCCUPATION - FEB 10!

For Immediate Release

February 10, 1997

STUDENTS OCCUPY UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO PRESIDENT'S OFFICE

TORONTO - A group of students began an occupation of University of Toronto President Robert Prichard's office at 11 AM this morning. The students are demanding a freeze on tuition fees in the wake of John Snobelen's, the Minister of Education and Training, announcement to increase tuition by 10% on average.

Over the last three years, tuition has increased by an average of 50 per cent. These students oppose any further increases to tuition. If there is a 10 per cent increase, as proposed by the Minister, undergraduate students fees will increase to a total fee of about $4,420 (and more with proposed increases to incidental fees than at any time in the past). The university administration is not required to charge the maximum fees allowed by the provincial government. President Prichard could take a stand with students to fight the further erosion of our system of accessible, public, post-secondary education.

The students (about twenty) who have taken up residence in President Prichard's office are opposed to the tuition increases for students when the University produces a operating budget surplus in the order of $24 million. "The time has come where students simply can't afford to pay more. President Prichard could take a principled stand against the Harris government's agenda to destroy accessibility in this province. We demand a freeze on tuition" said Elan Ohayon, one of the protesting students.

Date: Wed, 12 Feb 1997 22:50:45 -0800 From: Harry Michaels <h.michaels@utoronto.ca> Subject: UT prez sit-in

Six students joined the sit-in at President Prichard's office at U of T at 8 pm Wed Feb 12.

The office is guarded 24 hours a day by 3 university police; one inside the inner office with the occupation students, one in the outer office and one outside the office. All access doors to the offices are locked; food and supplies must be brought to the students by a milk crate and rope lowered out the second story window to supporters below. Despite the heavy security, resourceful students inside the office slipped one of their members past guards to allow a group of students gathered outside to join them.

The UT occupation students apologize to those who would have liked to have joined them in solidarity, but the clandestine nature of the action required a short time between conception of the plan to its execution. They promise they'll try to bring more students in next time.

Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 21:28:12 +0500 From: OPIRG-York <opirg@yorku.ca> Subject: York Occupation

For immediate release: February 11, 1997

Students Enraged Over Tuition Announcement - the occupation of the York president's office has begun

TORONTO: On Tuesday, February 11 York students are occupying York President Susan Mann's office to send the message that the proposed tuition increases are not acceptable. This is in response to Minister of Education and Training, John Snobelen's announcement that Ontario's tuition could increase as high as 20% for an individual program and 10% across the board for the 1997-98 academic year. This announcement also included an increase to the loan-forgiveness level from $6,000 to $7,000.

The tuition increase follows the massive 20% increase for this academic year and is hitting students hard. This is yet another blow to access to post-secondary education, and the people it hits the hardest are those from low-income backgrounds.

Students are concerned about their future. Every day their debt gets larger, and every year the government seems to care less. What we are about to get is a generation of students graduating with debts in excess of $28,000. This is unreasonable, unmanageable, and this just shows that this government hides from the reality of our future. Again we will see that the people who suffer the most are the people who can least afford it: women, aboriginals and people of colour.

The York Federation of Students, OPIRG-York, Graduate Students Association, CUPE 3903, in cooperation with the Canadian Federation of Students and other ampus groups are calling for action from all students, faculty, staff, and anyone concerned about the future of education. York University has the option to not increase tuition fees, and to impose a freeze at the current level. We must pressure Susan Mann and the York Board of Governors to ensure that education does not become even more inaccessible, and that the deregulation of program fees does not occur.

Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 11:33:34 -0500 (EST) From: Bob McCarthy <bmccarth@uoguelph.ca> Subject: Occupation of Presidents Office, U of G. (fwd)

Since 8:30 AM this morning, 17 students at the University of Guelph have been occupying the Presidents office on the 4th Floor of the University Centre. They do this in solidarity with the occupation of presidents' offices at York U. and at the U of T. The students demand: -A meeting with senior administration and members of the board of governors to discuss tuition levels at the University of Guelph. - A complete TUITION FREEZE for 97/98 -That president Rozanski publicly denounce the 10% discretionary tuition increase imposed by the provincial government at a press conference. Amnesty for all individuals and groups involved in the actions necessary to bring the matter of tuition levels to public attention.

From: "K.P. Ivanov" <tkeefer@uoguelph.ca> Subject: Inside the Guelph Occupation- a jumbled report....

Here's a very jumbled first hand account of what's happeneing on the inside of the Guelph occupation.

Morale is running high. The whole presidential complexhas been securly locked up and some 16students are inside. Perhaps even more importantly Guelph has a very well organized "outside" team which is building support for us on the outside. Faxes to allnational, provincial and local media have been sent out, as well press conferences have been organized for both today and tommoroow. We've had the Toronto star, Guelph Mercury, CFRU campus radio up and covering the events fso far. (worrd is that we just got on CBC too..._)

Every hour we've been on campus radio giving an update of the situation. Apparently most students, faculty and staff are very supportive of our actions. We are using the administrations fax machines, computers, email and telephones to the best possble effect. There have been several impromtu speakouts of tables of the UC cafeteria supporting us.

We've turned over an area to a activist snack bar with our montain of food for the occupation. We also taken over one of the administrations offices as a bathroom for well you can guess.... (remember Guelph has wet dry recycling...)

This is the Admin's responce to the situation....

Cut power to a pool of computers that we were using for email and communication. Has been shutting down the accounts of students who have been spotted logged on to email from the admin's computer pool. The admin has been really quite inconvienced bythis wholeaffair. All four enterences to the complex have been securly locked with heavy gauge chain, bike U locks, and duct tape making it impossible for the police to open the doors in the first place to cut the chains.

Numerous offers from the admin have been turned doen. Mort, the prez got a little bit peeved this morning when we locked hime out from his notes and personaleffects. (Convecation happened this morning and Mort couldn't get his precious speech thathe needed for it - oh shucks)

In terms of Solidarity actions I think that these sort of occupations h\and actions are going to be very important in terms of building up the momentum to take down the Harris gov'ts planned tuition hikes.

I've got to get off here as they're cutting power, and have done so to some of the other computer pools.

Apologies for the shit typing, punctation, grammar etc of this report. Please remember that all email communications should not be assumed to be d\secure.

Comradely, Tom.

Date: Fri, 14 Feb 1997 00:00:34 +0500 From: OPIRG-York <opirg@yorku.ca> Subject: York: Update Feb 13 11:45pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Feb. 13, 1997

YORK OCCUPATION DEMANDS

Support for the occupation continues to build amongst students, faculty, teaching assistants, and staff. Donations of food and cash have been sent, and over three hundred supporters have visited the office. Ten regularly scheduled classes were held as teach-ins in the Presidential Office in solidarity.

The students occupying the president's office at York University, are in the preliminary stages of negotiation with "exiled" president Susan Mann. The president has been forwarded the students' demands, and a meeting is expected in the near future. A press release with the exact time of the meeting will be sent upon confirmation.

The following are the demands from the sit-in at York's Presidential office :

1) Tuition & Fees i) Freeze Tuition Indefinitely. ii) Lower International Students' fees to match local student fees. iii) Freeze Residence fees.

Tuition fees have increased 180% since 1982-83. While an $18 million "slush-fund" is locked away in the coffers of York's administration, many students are living below the poverty line. As tuition rises, women, people of colour, aboriginal peoples, people with disabilities, gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, transgendered, and other oppressed groups experience increasing difficulty in gaining a university education, since they are over-represented in the ranks of the poor because of systemic discrimination. We need to act now so that education does not become a privilege of the rich. Education is a right. Many poor people have already given up on the pursuit of post-secondary education, as shown by the drop in applications to Ontario universities. Applications are at a nine-year low.

2) Quality Education 1) Maintain & Expand Cultural/Gender/Sexuality Diverse Programs & Services, ii) Reduce the ratio of Students per Professor/TA, iii) Re-implementation of College Courses.

These areas have already been ravaged by tory cuts. It is imperative that they not be sacrificed in order to achieve a tuition freeze. 3) Re-Instate Nancy Nicol. i) Eliminate the President's power to unilaterally overturn tenure.

Nancy Nicol's tenure approval was arbitrarily overturned by the president. She must be re-instated. Presidential prerogative is over-extended in the case of tenure approval. Although Nancy Nicol's lifestyle as a lesbian, and her views on feminist and class issues may be considered "subversive" by President Mann, this does not constitute legitimate grounds for rejection of tenure approval.

4) Student Services i) Improve Child care; more Subsidized Child care, ii) Retain the Centre for Academic Writing,

These services have already been decimated by the cuts. They are essential for the academic success of sole parents and those with writing difficulties. We will not give them up.

5) Student Representation & Consultation i) Increase Representation of Students on Board of Governors & all Committees.

York University's Board of Governors has the least student representation of any University in Ontario. This situation must be rectified.

6) Withdraw from the Council of Ontario Universities.

The Council of Ontario Universities has impeded York's ability to vociferously oppose the insane level of current and past cuts to education. We must withdraw from this council and oppose current and future cuts.

FOR MORE INFORMATION THE OCCUPATION CAN BE CONTACTED AT (416)573-7189 OR (416)505-5284 OR VIA OPIRG (416)736-2100 EXT. 30323.

Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 18:19:20 -0500 (EST) From: "K.P. Ivanov" <tkeefer@uoguelph.ca> Subject: 6:00pm Guelph Occupation Update

***************************************** Occupational Update from the People's University of Guelph, 4th Floor University Center, ex-administrative offices. *****************************************

Well, it's 6:00pm, and we're still in. Support for our actions has been building over the day and we're now trying to deal with the question of where we go from here. The office is locked down and secure as can be: they're not getting in without some serious chain saw action...

The university administration has remained intransigent over our demands. It took them several hours to come up with the same old tripe, in the end only (belatedly) addressing the question of amnesty- which we did not intend to be the main focus of our negotions. (We're trying to bring the agenda back to the tuition hike.) The admin (under Nancy Sullivan) remain insistent that we open one of our doors and allow them in to collect "the files" that they need. It took them most of the day to essentially rehash these same old demands, and it doesn't seen to have cotoned on to them that we're the ones locked in *their* offices, and the ones who came here with the demands.

President Rozanski was livid with rage this morning, but we're starting to get information from various sources which suggest that they knew that students were going to carry actions similar to our occupation in support of the ones at York and UofT. It now appears (from a leak in the admin) that the President's latest press release, (in their miserable house rag, "At Guelph")which denounced us for our refusal to carry out "negotations" in the proper format (board meetings), etc. was actually written up two days ago. The admin had cops crawling over the campus yesterday, and had apparently stepped up security begining on Monday. (...I guess that this just goes to show that while we have our networks and means of commincation, they (with all the nice computers and fax machines in their, (our) office, are a couple steps ahead in the game.)

Nonetheless, we're in; we're tight, and our level of organization and discipline has no doubt taken them aback. Much of our success is due to the amazing team that we have working for us on the outside, co-ordinating wider student suport and media outreach for us. We have also been much encouraged by the messages of support and solidarity we have received from our sisters and brothers at York and UofT, and we must make clear that our action was largely inspired by their initative in offering a way forward in the fight against the neo-liberal agenda.

The student occupiers in Guelph, tentatively going by the moniker, 'students in solidarity' still has many important decisions to face in our ongoing occupation. We are facing a reading week which begins tommorrow, and will see most students on campus leave on vacation, and plans for supporting actions to assist the occupiers are still in the works. We need to get the word out that a fightback is possible, that we can win it, and that we're going to- by any means nessesary!

In Solidarity,

Tom Keefer Guelph (new) Socialists

Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 23:06:02 -0500 (EST) From: Bob McCarthy <bmccarth@uoguelph.ca> Subject: Occupation of President's Office (fwd)

The Demands at the UofG occupation, if you haven't already heard: 1) A meeting with senior administration and members of the Board of Governors to discuss tuition levels at the University of Guelph. 2) A complete tuition freeze for 97/98 3) That President Rozanski publically denounce the 10% discretionary tuition increase imposed by the provincial government at a press conference. 4) Amnesty for all individuals and groups involved in the actions necessary to bring the matter of tuition levels to public attention.

The occupiers prefaced these demands with the statement:

"Over the past week, students at at least 2 Ontario universities have occupied their president's office to protest the likelihood of yet another tuition increase of 10%. This morning students at the University of Guelph have done the same. We can no longer stand aside as our administrators SELL OUT our education to the political whims of this province."

Date: Fri, 14 Feb 1997 10:53:30 +0500 From: OPIRG-York <opirg@yorku.ca> Subject: York: Update Feb 14, 9am

Short update:

Last night about 100 students stayed over at the president's office! We have decided NO! to president's demands of us leaving! Someone is meeting up with the rep from the president's office right now. Yesterday, we have about 9 classes being held at the sit-in and it was such a success. We will be holding on at this end. More update to come soon after the meeting with the president.

Solidarity greetings to Toronto and Guelph occupation! We will continue fighting!

**Contact Info:**

UofToronto The students may be contacted directly for more information or comment at an on-site cell phone number: 1-905-328-4823

Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 23:44:01 -0800 From: Harry Michaels <h.michaels@utoronto.ca> Subject: U of T sit-in

U of T students are working on a web site for their sit-in.

The address is:

http://www.utoronto.ca/acc/sit/index.html

It's very rough, but keep an eye on it; it's updated frequently. The president's office is located on the second floor of Simcoe Hall, 27 King's College Circle..

Please send messages of solidarity and support to:

Presidential Sit-In #1 c/o Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) fax: (416) 971-2292 e-mail: opirg@campuslife.utoronto.ca 455 Spadina Ave., Rm. 201 Toronto, Ontario Canada

please cc to:

President Rob Prichard Office of the President fax: (416) 971-1360 e-mail: president@utoronto.ca and/or robert.prichard@utoronto.ca Simcoe Hall, 27 King's College Circle Room 206 (same as the students? oops!) Toronto, Ontario Canada

Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 14:56:25 +0500 From: OPIRG-York <opirg@yorku.ca> Reply-To: san@tao.ca To: opirg@yorku.ca Subject: York: Letters/Faxes

oh, by the way, President Susan Mann's office fax number is (416) 736-5641 just in case some of you are wondering. Please cc a copy of all correspondence to us as well. Thanks.

***********************************************************************

Ontario Public Interest Research Group at York Room C449 Student Centre York University 4700 Keele Street North York Ontario M3J 1P3 Tel : (416) 736-2100 ext. 30323 Fax : (416) 650-8014 email : opirg@yorku.ca

Date: Fri, 14 Feb 1997 14:28:10 -0500 (EST) From: "K.P. Ivanov" <tkeefer@uoguelph.ca> To: Guelph Socialists <gs@uoguelph.ca> Subject: Guelph Occupation Online!

^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^ February 14th 1997, 2:30pm Occupational Update From: the People's University of Guelph, 4th Floor University Center, ex-administrative offices. To: san, newsoc, GS INFO lists ^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^

The students occupying the Presidential office suites at Guelph University, Ontario, now have a webpage up and running. The page contains a list of our demands, press releases, and responces to the negotations on the issues that we have raised as well as links to other student activist sites. The URL of our page is at:

http://tdg.uoguelph.ca/~gsocial/occ/

In order to stop the University admin from shutting down our accounts and thus the web page based on the <uoguelph> domain name, we have mirrored our site at the following address:

http://www.freespace.net/~pj/occ

Expect our page to be constantly updated and expanded over the course of our occupations with pictures of the occupation and supporting demonstrations. Solidarity in struggle!

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