Volume 94, Issue 83

Wednesday, February 28, 2001


Prof may have cheated - Quits under suspicion of academic fraud

Crime linked to abuse: study

Eight Trent protesters hole up in VP's office

Investigation continues into U of T grade-change charges

Gun registry asks biz sector for help - Advocacy group says gov't shooting itself in foot


His Royal Mintiness

Eight Trent protesters hole up in VP's office

Kristina Lundblad
Gazette Staff

Eight Trent University students have barricaded themselves inside their VP-academic's office and do not plan on leaving anytime soon.

On Monday at 8:30 a.m., eight female students began their sit-in after forcing four staff members out of the Lady Eaton College offices of the VP-academic and dean of arts and science, said Trent president Bonnie Patterson.

The workers were given a few minutes to remove their personal belongings and were not injured in the process, she said.

"They have three days worth of food and ways of getting more in," said Erin George, Ontario Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students.

The students, members of the CFS, are protesting the administration's decision to close two of its downtown colleges, Peter Robinson College and Catharine Parr Traill College, George said.

In addition, the students are upset over the privatization and corporatization of the university, she said.

Derrick McIntosh, president of the Trent Central Student Association, said many students and faculty members are upset with the administration's decision, but the issue now seems worn out.

"Some students have grown tired of the issue. In Nov. 1999, all student governments took positions against the closing of the colleges. It's been a year and a half. This issue has been very drawn out," McIntosh said.

Over the past two months, he added, communication between students and administration has broken down. "Access to Board of Governors meetings has been restricted, upsetting the students," he said.

George said the students have been meeting with administration and going through all of the usual mechanisms. "[But] administration is refusing to negotiate with faculty and students.

"The same question keeps coming up: Who governs our institutions? The students? The Board of Governors? The community?"

George said she believes in this case, it seems as though the university administration is in control. "Their salaries put them at a level where they are out of touch with the issues."

Although there have not been any negotiations, George said she thinks the university will soon realize the need for a resolution. "I think [administration] will realize very soon that these issues reside beyond the Trent University campus. This is far larger than eight students occupying an office."

"I am available when, and if, they wish to truly talk," Patterson said. "But the demands, as they state them, are not negotiable."

"While such activities occur from time to time in other universities and at Trent, the majority of our students, staff and faculty will frown upon this approach as unbecoming to the university's normal civil character and courteous discourse," she added.

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