Volume 95, Issue 65

Tuesday, January 29, 2002
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Tory boy makes bid for USC glory

Froshies complain of sunburn epidemic

"Hot for Teacher" trial continues

The View, but educational

Student sit-in craze sweeping the province

Biker bunkers raise fears

Gazette rules!!!

Student sit-in craze sweeping the province

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

Not since the 1960s have sit-ins been so popular with the kids.

Yesterday morning, nine students infiltrated the presidential suite at the University of Guelph and began a lockdown similar to the action that took place at Queen's University over the last two weeks.

Guelph administrators, unlike their counterparts at Queen's, have not formally endorsed the deregulation of tuition for undergraduate programs.

However, according to Erin Crickett, a protester in the lockdown, the university's neutral stance is not sufficient for students fearing tuition hikes.

"What we would like is for [administrators] to join us in lobbying the government to freeze tuition," she said. "This has been culminating for a couple of years and this is the time to do it. We have been building up to this sort of protest and the time is right now."

Joel Duff, Ontario chairman of the Canadian Federation of Students, said while this protest is similar to the one at Queen's, the Guelph students have their own objectives.

"At Queen's they had no other choice. We haven't seen college and university presidents do much at all to lobby the government with students to help them solve the problems of accessibility to post-secondary education," he said.

"The focus of the Guelph occupation is for a commitment [to freeze] tuition fees, but also for a commitment to reduce them," Duff said, adding while Guelph is a member of the CFS, the lobby group did not help organize the protest.

"The students would like the university to take an advocacy role on behalf of post-secondary education because there is a concern that universities are not doing anything to enhance funding," he said.

Lori Bonahunt, spokeswoman for the University of Guelph, said although president Mordechai Rozanski did not spend the day in his office, six other vice-presidents opted to stay.

"There [were] ongoing talks throughout the day with the protesters," she said, adding it has not been confirmed whether or not the protesters are all Guelph students.

Bonahunt said the students will not be forcibly removed from the offices unless safety or fire regulations become a concern. So far, their protest has been peaceful, she added.

"The university has been committed to accessibility and public funding for education and it has not been involved in any discussion about tuition deregulation," Bonahunt said.

"The students aren't occupying these offices to alienate administrators, but to have them join in. This is a plea for unity," Duff said.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001