York afraid of big, bad student wolves?
By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
Student activists at York University have an array of activities planned for the university's administration today in what is expected to be a play-day of debate and possible protest.
Following a demonstration against a Board of Governors meeting on March 2, the York Action Coalition, made up of student activists, challenged university President Lorna Marsden to a public debate scheduled for today.
However, Marsden subsequently refused to appear at the engagement due to other commitments.
Joel Harden, a member of the coalition and president of the York Graduate Students' Association, said he believes the lack of interest by the administrators shows it is clear they don't want a debate something he finds questionable.
"I thought the university was supposed to be about debate and critical thinking," he said. "What are they afraid of?"
Wayne Poirier, Ontario chair of the Canadian Federation of Students, said he finds it interesting that the York administration has a history of refusing to speak with students unless it is on their own terms. "When there is a high degree of criticism, the administration often tries to get out of it."
Students in the coalition also plan to attend a Senate meeting today in support of motions being put forth by student senators regarding tuition freezes and better representation on the Board of Governors.
By bringing these issues to Senate, Poirier said he believes both faculty and students will become more aware of the issues.
Harden said the goal of the coalition is not to disrupt the meeting but if their concerns are not being heard then a protest could ensue. The March 2 protest included questionable actions as a group of students surrounded the president's car.
The administration was unavailable for comment yesterday but have sent out letters of discipline to several of the people identified in the last protest an act Harden doesn't think will ever get to the stage of expulsion of students. "I don't think they have the guts."