Students cry "bribery!"
By Dave Yasvinski
York students were up in arms yesterday after discovering the annual meeting between student leaders and the president of York University would include complementary wine and cheese along with free gifts.
Joel Harden, president of York's Graduate Student Association, said they believe this is a bribe being offered by Lorna Marsden, the president of the university. "Students are really disgruntled by the fact that Marsden will do this but not make a public commitment to tuition freezes," Harden said.
Harden said he is disappointed with the president, who is seen as progressive, but is unwilling to take real initiatives regarding tuition hikes as well as giving public opposition to income contingent loan repayment plans. Harden said she has failed to do this so far.
"She wants to schmooze and distract us from the real issues. She has to make a decision, we deserve that," Harden said.
However, Sine MacKinnon, spokesperson for Marsden, said this is not the case. "Students organized this reception and the student centre is paying for it," MacKinnon said. "It is an informal get together to allow Marsden an opportunity to listen to the students."
MacKinnon also said Marsden has been working hard for students. "She's been meeting with ministers and lobbying long and hard on behalf of students for accessibility and quality education," she said.
Clare Bermingham, facility and administration manager for the student centre, said they were responsible for arranging and funding the reception. "There is a misunderstanding that Marsden is hosting the reception. She is an invited guest like anyone else," said Bermingham.
Bermingham added the reception is meant to give students and student leaders who have not met the president the opportunity to do so. "It is not a political event, just a way to meet and greet a new president of York."