(en) VOICES FROM THE INSIDE

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Fri, 21 Mar 1997 09:05:10 GMT


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March 21st, 1997 For Immediate Release

President Strangway's Office, UBC, March 19, 1997:

It's 5:30pm in the Old Administration Building, and there are 25 of us holding out in protest against the University's non-inclusive decision-making process as manifested by the imposition of a fee differential for international students as well as an attempt to disregard the Provincial Government's promise of a tuition fee freeze through the introduction of several ancilliary fees as of the coming academic year.

The morning started with over 35 students walking into President Strangway's office, equipped with sleeping bags and cooking utensils, while simultaneously notifying the Attorney General, the RCMP and Campus Security of the symbolic and entirely peaceful nature of the occupation. We were very happy to find our good faith reciprocated by the lawkeepers. While we have had a series of friendly members of UBC patrol keeping vigil both in and around the site of occupation, the RCMP assured us that they have full respect for the students' mode of protest as long as it remains entirely peaceful.

As an extension of the students' good will, as well as a display of the cultural input of internationl students to the university community, we had a series of programmes ranging from two flute recitals, Persian calligraphy, poetry reading and the preparation and distribution of sushi to the media, security and all others on site. The afternoon witnessed a rally outside the Old Administration Building, attracting a diverse range of UBC students as well as a delegation from Langara Community College. We were pleased to find a food stall from Govinda's Restaurant in support of the cause and extensive media coverage from radio and television stations. This included a live interview of Jonathan on CKNW and a teleinterview by Rock 101.

While the Board of Governors decided on referenda for the Technology Fee and the Student Recreation Fee, it not only remained largely unclear about the degree to which it would be bound to abide by any campus-wide consensus, but also passed the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund and the Student Aid Fee. At one point in the afternoon the Board of Governors invited the media upstairs to their meeting. However we were neither allowed representation at the event, nor did President Strangway make eny effort to address anyone of us diretly. Consequently, we have continued to ask for binding referenda on all ancilliary fees, including all future student fees and the imposition of a differential fee for international graduate students. We believe that all these issues will directly affect the very intellectual and social texture of the graduate community of UBC, which has, so far, been known in top universities throughout the world as one of Canada's foremost research institutions. Meanwhile the Board remains noncommitted to addressing the issue of a greater respect for a campus-wide consensus on the international students' fee hike and our request for implementing steps for greater conultations with students, researchers and faculty in the future.

In spite of the Legal Vice President's assurance of amnesty to all protesters, should they have left this evening, we have decided to continue the occupation in the light of the encouragemnet and support we were given by several members of the student and teaching community across the campus.

We would like to thank UBC patrol for reciprocating our faith in them, the RCMP for respecting our promise of a symbolic and peaceful occupation, the Chancellor for contributing $150 towards food for the protesters, THE PHYSICS DEPARTMENT FOR RAISING $100 (SO FAR)TOWARDS THE CAUSE, STUDENT UNIONS ELSEWHERE IN CANADA FOR SENDING US THEIR MESSAGES OF SUPPORT and ALL OF YOU FOR BEING WITH US FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES!!!

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Graduate Student Society UBC 6371 Crescent Rd, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z2 Tel: (604) 822-3203 Fax: (604) 822-6858 E-mail: gss1@unixg.ubc.ca

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/ Nick Kontogeorgopoulos, 319 Green College, University of British Columbia,Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z1, Canada Tel: (604) 224-4547 Fax: (604) 822-8742 (Attn: Nick, #319)

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