Volume 95, Issue 62

Wednesday, January 23, 2002
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Grad in student-teacher sex scandal

Students: love to talk about porn

Federal report alleges student visa fraud

Coppers to meet with Unity

"That's why they call it mass transit"

Bigwigs celebrate innovation

News Briefs

Coppers to meet with Unity

By Erin Conway-SmithGazette Staff

Last weekend's arrests of two staff members and a resident at the Unity Project have prompted all parties to schedule a meeting for this week with a legal mediator, in hopes of fostering a more positive relationship in the future.

On Saturday morning, criminal investigators with the London Police Department arrested a 17-year-old male at the downtown renovated storage area on charges of break and entry.

A struggle ensued and police called for assistance. However, Unity Project staff prevented the entry of back-up officers.

A female staff member was charged with obstruction of police and a male staff member with obstruction and assault of a police officer.

On Thursday morning, LPD will meet with members of the Unity Project and a mediator at Neighborhood Legal Services, confirmed LPD Const. Tricia Smith.

The Unity Project board hopes to work towards a better relationship with police in any future police encounters.

"I have concerns about some police officers' approach and I think this could have been avoided if handled differently," said Sandy White, acting chair of the Unity Project.

White said she requested the meeting between police and members of the Unity Project board – consisting of nine members of the local community, including a lawyer, social workers, teachers and union members.

"I think the Unity Project got a bad deal on it and I hope we can develop positive relationships in the future," she said, adding she hopes to establish protocols agreeable to both police and Unity Project staff and residents.

Jeff Schlemmer, a former vice chair of the police services board and director of Neighborhood Legal Services, will serve as the meeting's mediator.

Schlemmer said NLS is strongly interested in the housing crisis and noted he is "somebody that both sides know."

"[The meeting will discuss] from here on, what ways they can co-operate and give each other peace of mind," Schlemmer said.

The Unity Project houses approximately 30 former residents of London's Tent City in a renovated storage area located behind the Salvation Army on Horton Street.

The centre was founded in September through the work of local homelessness coalitions, the Salvation Army and the City of London.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001