CUPE Ontario urges Peterborough to reject Trent University bid to "sell off" lands for private residence

    PETERBOROUGH, ON, July 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Ontario's largest union
representing university workers is urging the City of Peterborough to reject a
bid by Trent University to give a private developer a 99-year lease on
university lands to build a private residence. Sid Ryan, Ontario President of
the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) says the move, which would net
the University a paltry $2 million plus some revenues in return for the lease,
is tantamount to a sell-off of public space.
    "By leasing this land for 99 years, this move is effectively selling off
university lands that were bought and paid for by public tax dollars so that a
commercial operator can reap profits from students" said Ryan. "With this
deal, Trent University is effectively implementing a business model where the
private operator's profits are going to come at the expense of public and
community services."
    The project will be a three to four-story building with an apartment
building, townhouses and commercial space on the ground floor. According to
the union, there will be no Trent staff on site, no Trent services,
maintenance, security, residence or college programming of any kind. Trent
will not be the landlord, nor will Trent's Housing Office place students
    "We stand with Trent students to object to the privatization of our
school, the location and the move away from the long-time tradition of the
collegiate system at Trent," added Karen Sutherland, President of CUPE 3908
representing university workers at Trent. "The private operator is saying that
this is not a university residence, yet it will be built on university lands
and students will be the primary tenants providing this operator's profits."
CUPE and student groups maintain that the intended project does not fit the
current zoning-namely University/College. Trent's application for providing
the 99-year lease will be heard at City Hall next Wednesday July 15th.
    "There is absolutely no doubt that this type of privatization and
commercialization of our campuses has, and will continue to be fuelled, by
chronic underfunding of post-secondary education by both provincial and
federal governments," said Ryan. "This underfunding has sown the seeds for
turning post-secondary education from a public good into a marketplace
commodity and it must be stopped."

For further information:

For further information: Derek Blackadder, CUPE Staff Representative,
(705) 930-3724; Karen Sutherland, President, CUPE 3808, (705) 748-1011 x 6070;
Sid Ryan, CUPE Ontario President, (416) 209-0066; Valerie Dugale, CUPE
Communications, (647) 225-3685

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Canadian Union of Public Employees - Ontario Regional Office

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