Volume 95, Issue 66

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

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USC presidential race gets crowded

In the ghetto: kids go home hunting

Journalist slams mainstream media

Sit-in ends in punch-up, Guelph students claim

Hot for teacher trial: "We were really drunk"

Like porn, degrees now online

Video late fines go ya down? Why not sue?

Sit-in ends in punch-up, Guelph students claim

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

Students protesting at the University of Guelph are alleging a sit-in got out of control yesterday before they abandoned the lock-down.

Scott Clarke, a third-year international development student and protester at Guelph, said one student was taken to hospital last night around 7 p.m., prompting the other eight students to voluntarily cease the disruption.

The protest, which lasted only 10 hours, took place in the corridor of the presidential suite at the university. While Guelph president Mordechai Rozanski was successfully deterred from working in his office, the rest of the administration opted to stay, according to Lorrie Bonahunt, university spokeswoman.

Clarke said the protesters' demands were not satisfied even though they left the office.

"[Administration] refused to talk about any of our demands when we were in there because they locked themselves in one office.

"When we tried to get in [to their office], three students were physically abused. One was shoved out of the room, one was pushed onto the floor in the doorway and another was held up against a wall," Clarke said.

Clarke alleges VP-student affairs Brenda Whiteside and vice-provost Alastair Summerle "physically assaulted" the three students.

However, Bonahunt said, to her knowledge, no students were assaulted by either Whiteside or Summerle.

"The only incident that happened during the day is that a group of students tried to force their way past the provost into his office. Students charged at the door when he opened it and tried to squeeze by him," she said.

Bonahunt added no students were seriously hurt, though they were warned that similar action in the future would result in charges being laid.

"The students were given a warning, but they were also given full legal and academic amnesty," she said.

"The university did not negotiate issues of tuition or related matters with any of the individuals. The university will not negotiate under duress or occupation, so I'm not sure what everyone was doing in the office," Bonahunt said.

She added students were informed by the Guelph City Fire Department that their barricades were in violation of fire safety codes. However, once the barricades were removed, protesters were invited to stay by university administrators.

Clarke said, despite their shortened stay, the protest was worthwhile.

"It just proved that administration is not willing to listen or talk to the students here," he said. Clarke added a number of rallies and events are being planned on campus for the coming week, beginning with a rally today at noon.

Robin Begin, community liaison officer at the Guelph University Police Department said the GUPD has not received any complaints about Tuesday night's incident and no charges have been laid.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001