Volume 94, Issue 92

Thursday, March 15, 2001


USC budget gets the green light

VP hopefuls near election day

Strip search ends Trent standoff

Case of the phony professor sparks inquiry

Farmer protest slows down the 401 - Lack of gov't funding causes outrage


Planet Me

Strip search ends Trent standoff

By Colin Butler
Gazette Staff

Trent University is still buzzing over the recent arrest of eight female students in connection with a sit-in protest that began two weeks ago.

The three-day protest ended Mar. 1 when police entered the occupied VP-academic's office and forcibly removed the protesters.

Eight female students have been charged with criminal mischief and are awaiting a preliminary trial date on Mar. 21, said Sgt. Rob Hotston, media liaison for the Peterborough Police.

According to Sarah Lamble, one of the students arrested, the demonstrators were protesting Trent administration's overriding of a senate decision not to close Trent's town colleges, as well as what they saw as lack of public consultation on the sale of campus advertising rights to various corporations.

The students held the office while the administration attempted to persuade the students to leave, but they refused, Lamble said.

She added Trent President Bonnie Patterson, even personally contacted the protesters to no avail. "She told us our demands were not negotiable. We told her to come back when she was ready to negotiate," she said.

Lamble added the protesters issued five demands to be met in order for their occupation to be halted. These included calls for decision-making at Trent that is more open to the community, averting the closure of the town colleges, no new advertising on campus until a student referendum is held on the issue, allowing the senate to regulate corporate partnerships and granting the protesters legal and academic amnesty.

Police were called in by the university administration when, according to a memorandum issued to the university community by Trent VP-academic and provost Graham Taylor, the sit-in had gone too far.

"[The protesters] created a situation in the office that presented potential health and safety hazards to themselves. The university has a responsibility for maintaining health and safety conditions and bears the liability if they are not maintained," the memorandum reads.

Police entered the barricaded office at 3 a.m., Hotston said. "We attempted to resolve the situation through negotiation, but it proved fruitless."

After taking the students into custody, they were then brought back to the police station, where the students were strip-searched.

"Our policy is, and it is one we have written down: Anyone detained for a period of time in our cells is subject to a strip search to ensure there is nothing on their person to injure others or themselves," Hotston said.

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