Media Advisory - University of Toronto students and faculty protest eviction, weakening of access to education programme on February 27

TORONTO, Feb. 27, 2014 /CNW/ - Students, faculty and community members will rally on Thursday, February 27 at 4:00 p.m. to stop the forced eviction and weakening of the University of Toronto's Transitional Year Programme (TYP). The Transitional Year Programme is an entrance program that caters to people of colour, people with disabilities and indigenous adults without formal qualifications for admission to the University.

"The University knows that the program will be weakened if it moves into a space that cannot accommodate students with children and students with disabilities," said Carla Rodney, a Transitional Year Programme student. "This program has been recreated at schools like York and Ryerson. While other schools seek to recreate its success, the University of Toronto is shamefully attempting to dismantle it. TYP wants to dream boundlessly, too."

Over the years, the University of Toronto has refused to increase funding to the Programme, reduced the size of its faculty and suggested it merge with other programmes with different mandates.

On Thursday, February 27, The University of Toronto's Governing Council will consider a motion to evict the Transitional Year Programme from its current space in order to replace it with a Centre for Engineering Innovation. Rally-attendees will be calling upon the University to restore funding to the Programme and to postpone the approval of the Engineering building until an alternative space can be found for the programme.

"TYP is a fantastic programme that has successfully provided access to education for marginalized groups for years and nurtured brilliant minds," said Yolen Bollo-Kamara, Vice-President Equity of the University of Toronto Students' Union. "I cannot fathom why the university would want to make a move that would so obviously hurt such a successful program. These students matter just as much as any other students at this institution – it's unacceptable that the University is damaging the education of the most vulnerable students in our community."

Students will be available to comment about the protest. Reporters can obtain more information at: www.facebook.com/events/632505893464586

The Transitional Year Program was founded in 1970 by members of Toronto's Black community and serves approximately 60 students annually. Sixty-nine per cent of TYP students are women, many are single parents and members of marginalized groups.

The University of Toronto Students' Union represents over 47,000 full-time undergraduate students at the University of Toronto's St. George and Mississauga Campuses.

SOURCE University of Toronto Students' Union

For further information: For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: Carla Rodney, Transitional Year Program student, 647-989-5925; Yolen Bollo-Kamara, University of Toronto Students' Union Vice-President Equity, 647-287-4291