OTTAWA, Dec. 5, 2013 /CNW/ - Students received a lesson in bullying when
senior management at Carleton University cut the locks to Kitigànensag, the GSA-Carleton Community Garden, and ordered it dismantled without
students' knowledge. Senior management then violated community members'
freedom of expression by arresting them for distributing 'Save the
"The administration indicated the garden needed to move, so we proposed
a Memorandum of Understanding to outline the process," said Grant
MacNeil, President of the Graduate Students' Association (GSA).
"Instead of responding to our proposal and engaging good-faith
discussions, the senior management decided to unilaterally break into
the garden and take it apart."
Kitigànensag, named by Algonquin elders, has been a source of pride for
the whole Carleton community, and especially for the many volunteers
who built it and the gardeners who harvested the first crop this past
summer. The garden is an excellent example of students, staff and
faculty coming together to create something sustainable, recreational,
educational and accessible to the whole community.
"The decision to rip up the garden without notice and the arrest of
peaceful protestors raises serious questions about senior management's
approach to the student experience and respect for the Carleton
community," said Justine De Jaegher, Vice-President Finance. "When
students heard this was happening, they came to the garden in droves
and managed to stop it. We still can't believe senior management had
the audacity to try this."
Many members of the Carleton community view the senior management's
handling of the community garden and the subsequent arrests of campus
community members as consistent with an aggressive approach to
independent student-run campus initiatives. Senior management is also
supporting the withholding of student levy money to Carleton's Ontario
Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG), funds to which the campus
student organization is legally entitled.
The garden is to be replaced by a private, for-profit residence. The
Board of Governors, the highest decision-making body of the university,
has yet to approve the construction of the proposed for-profit
SOURCE: Carleton University Graduate Students' Association
For further information:
Justine De Jaegher
Vice-President Finance, GSA-Carleton