Volume 94, Issue 49

Friday, November 24, 2000


NEWS

Ladies Night draws females in Waves

York strikers verbally attacked

City's Board of Control questions colleges

Council erupts with Massive debate

UBC moving to new campus downtown

There's more to life than being apathetic

Campus Briefs

Planet Me

York strikers verbally attacked



By Amy Daw
Gazette Staff



Tensions at York University rose this week after the union representing striking university staff received a letter filled with allegations of illegal behaviour from university administration.

The letter from York's administration arrived in the middle of a four week strike, which began on Oct. 27. The strike has involved over 2,000 teaching assistants, graduate assistants and contract faculty at York and revolves around wages and benefits.

The letter made allegations about protesters which detailed such activity as "setting up booby-traps to damage vehicles and injure people [trying to access campus] including nails in boards, snow-fencing, and similar materials on roadways." Other activity cited included stealing, setting up barricades and blocking roadways. The letter also claimed protesters had been videotaped by York officials.

Michelle Lowry, executive member of CUPE Local 3903, denied the allegations, saying the letter was only an attack on the union. "The attacks are an attempt to criminalize us. It's petty and political. It was intended to hurt morale and turn the community against us," she said.

The letter to the union also stated, "For a trade union which so often raises health and safety as an issue of paramount importance, this conduct is shocking and we can only assume that you share our condemnation of it," said Sine MacKinnon, spokesperson for York University.

MacKinnon explained she hopes the union and the university can come to an agreement on maintaining safety, but recent events had only hurt the process. "The activities of their members are putting others at risk."

She added she hopes the letter will bring attention to the police and union about the illegal actions of protesters. "The actions go beyond the rights of the picketer," she said.

"It's disgusting," said Robin Frost, a third-year history student at York. "It's just an attempt by the university to push the union to settle quickly."

"York is apparently putting a videotape together for us," said Supt. James Parkins of Division 31 of the Toronto Police Services. "Personally, I have seen no evidence of the type of behaviour that York is alleging," he said.


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Copyright The Gazette 2000