U of T President uses police aggression to walk over student concerns



    TORONTO, March 22 /CNW/ -

    
    EMERGENCY RALLY TO DEFEND STUDENTS' RIGHTS
    Tuesday March 25, 4:10 PM
    Simcoe Hall (27 King's College Circle)
    University of Toronto
    Map: http://tinyurl.com/2oatgu

    ACTION ITEM: Statements of solidarity and support; endorse and organize a
                 contingent for the rally.
    

    Join us in a peaceful demonstration outside the University of Toronto's
administration building to protest police aggression against students and
rising fees: Tuesday March 25, 4:10 PM, outside Simcoe Hall (27 King's College
Circle).
    Over the course of this year and in past years, the overwhelming majority
of students have repeatedly demonstrated their opposition to increasing fees.
In 2005, 98% of students at UofT voted against fee increases. Thousands of
students rallied on February 7, 2007 against fee increases. Students' unions
across Canada have advocated against fee increases. Despite all of this, and
the efforts of student representatives at UofT, the administration continues
with fee increases, making education inaccessible.
    On Thursday March 20, 2008, over forty students staged a sit-in at Simcoe
Hall, which houses the offices of the President and Provost. The students'
main demand was to speak with President David Naylor in person or by
telephone. Students also requested that proposed fee increases be removed from
the March 25 University Affairs Board meeting and to be given 15 minutes at
the meeting for a presentation and discussion on broader issues of access to
education.
    The peaceful sit-in of the students was met by physical aggression by
campus police on the orders of senior administrators. Students were not
allowed to demonstrate their dissent, and were not to be heard at all.
Administrators left before the end of their workday, escorted out of the
building, literally walking on top of students begging to be heard. This was
captured on video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ketNtnZQIwQ
    The next step is to mobilize outside the University Affairs Board (Simcoe
Hall) meeting on March 25 at 4:10 pm, in hopes of meeting these demands:

    
    1.  That the motion to increase students' fees be stricken from the
        agenda.
    2.  That representatives from AlwaysQuestion be allotted 15 minutes to
        speak at the UAB meeting.
    3.  That representatives from AlwaysQuestion, UTSU and ASSU have a
        meeting with President David Naylor to discuss students' rights and
        the role of police on campus.
    

    At the rally we will bring attention to the fact that students can no
longer advocate for accessible education without facing aggression from
police, and most importantly, the administration. Please attend to make the
University of Toronto a safe space for student dissent.
    We are asking for statements of support and solidarity to be sent to
alwaysquestion.info@gmail.com, and that you contact President David Naylor
(president@utoronto.ca) to condemn rising student fees and the heavy-handed
actions of the police against students.




For further information:

For further information: Farshad Azadian, student member and organizer
with AlwaysQuestion: (416) 569-7471; Ryan Hayes, President of Arts and Science
Students Union: (416) 421-0879; Michal Hay, Vice President University Affairs,
University of Toronto Students' Union: (647) 802-4131

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University of Toronto Students' Union

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