Volume 90, Issue 82

Thursday, February 20, 1997



Carleton takes a seat

By Joshua Budd
Gazette Staff

Carleton University students occupied the office of the university's president yesterday just hours before Guelph students ended an eight-day occupation of their administration's office.

Although Guelph's student sit-in came to an abrupt end, protestors said no satisfactory resolution was reached.

Tom Keefer, one of the students who occupied the president's office at Guelph, said the administration threatened the protestors with expulsion from their degree programs if they refused to leave the office on their own accord. "They were two-faced and hypocritical," Keefer said.

Darlene Frampton, director of communications and public affairs for Guelph, said the students were not threatened with expulsion and they left of their own free will. She said the university was willing to take action only if students damaged the office. An assessment is underway and so far no damage has been reported.

Keefer said the students agreed it would be more productive to work on the outside, but did not rule out the possibility of re-occupying the office in the future.

"By no means is this done. We will still be involved in regular meetings with other students," said Lance Morgan, a student protestor.

At 7:30 a.m., approximately 20 Carleton students and one faculty member occupied the entire suite of the university's senior administration and are prepared to stay indefinitely.

"We are picking up the torch that Guelph put down today," said Jeff Jakobsen, VP-academic of the Carleton University Students' Association. "We've reached our last stitch-point. This is our final option."

The protestors are demanding a freeze on tuition, the public denouncement of the 10 per cent discretionary increase by the administration, more representation on university councils and amnesty for the protestors.

Jakobsen said at the beginning of the year president Richard Van Loon promised a freeze on tuition but has now said there will be a 10 per cent increase.

Chminda Thotahewa, CUSA's director of external affairs for CUSA, said students make up 40 per cent of the university's revenue yet they have less than 10 per cent representation on the Board of Governors and around 17 per cent on the Senate.

Students and Van Loon will be sitting down today to start negotiations on the tuition issue. Van Loon said he was optimistic they will be able to come to an agreement but added the 10 per cent increase is financially necessary for the university.

Van Loon said he has not threatened the students with expulsion or police action. "I don't think a sit-in is a reasonable form of process," Van Loon said. "But once they're here it is not reasonable to mistreat them."

However, Jakobsen said the telephone and email lines from the office will be cut off on Saturday.

To Contact The News Department: gaznews@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997