Volume 90, Issue 88

Wednesday, March 12, 1997



T.O. kids not just sitting around

By Sara Marett
Gazette Staff

Protestors attempting to crawl through the ceiling of Ryerson Polytechnical University's administration building during a protest rally yesterday failed to complete their mission impossible.

The rally held by Toronto-area university students protesting tuition increases ended with police intervention as students attempted to occupy Ryerson's administrative building. When the students could not get through a door leading to the president's office, they opted for the ceiling.

"A segment of the rally wanted to occupy our administration offices because we are the only Toronto school that has not yet had a sit-in," said Victoria Bowman, president of Ryerson's Student Union. "They were unsuccessful though, because the police were there in 10 minutes and things closed down pretty quickly."

Approximately 300 students from the University of Toronto, York University, Ryerson Polytechnical University and Hamilton's McMaster University marched the streets of Toronto in protest of the provincial government's decision to allow universities to raise tuition fees for the 1997-98 year by an average of 10 per cent.

The march began at U of T's Convocation Hall and continued on to Queen's Park, the offices of the Council of Ontario Universities and Ryerson.

Vicky Smallman, chair of Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario, said the rally was successful. "The point of the march was to link all deciding bodies together – the administrations, the provincial government and the COU. These are the people the students need to hold accountable," she said.

"Students have the right and responsibility to represent the concerns of all students regarding tuition increases," said Sine MacKinnon, senior advisor of media relations at York University.

Smallman said heightened security at the COU offices showed there were concerns about potential actions from the protestors. "It is obvious the administration as well as the government is concerned about the level of mobilization and realize students are serious in their claims." She added this will not be the last rally of its kind.

"The next step for us is to get a lot of student representation at the Sudbury Celebration of Resistance on March 21, which will be a march and rally just like the Toronto Days of Action," she said.

Geoff Ritchie, president of McMaster's Student Union, said approximately 30 McMaster students who have been occupying their administration's office since March 5 participated in the rally and probably will not return to their sit-in.

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Copyright The Gazette 1997