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Jenn Watt to Lorna Marsden

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

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  • Still from video of protest (CBC)

    Still from video of protest (CBC)

Written by Jenn Watt

Jenn Watt, Academic Commissioner
Central Student Association
274 University Centre
University of Guelph
Guelph ON, N1G 2W1


President Lorna Marsden
York University
S949 Ross Building
4700 Keele St.
Toronto ON, M3J 1P3

Dear President Marsden,


The Central Student Association of the University of Guelph has been watching closely the (over)reactions of the York University administration regarding the student protest on January 20th, 2005.

Since the ill-advised arrests of five GRAIN protesters, your administration has consistently shifted the blame for the events last Thursday back onto those who assembled simply to voice opinion.

As a student organization representing over 16,000 undergraduate students, we are appalled by the repression of free speech on your campus. Whether or not a megaphone was used and whether or not Vari Hall is "private space," students should always have a right to assemble, protest, criticize and speak their minds on campus.

CBC's coverage of the protest

Your faculty association, the Canadian Federation of Students and your CUPE local all disagree with the actions taken against these protesters - this should signal to you that something is wrong with the way you are treating dissent on campus.

At this point, we would like to add our voices to those who oppose the use of police force, threats of expulsion and other tools of repression to silence students.

Your actions are heavy-handed and frightening. We demand that you drop the charges against those arrested and immediately undergo a review of policy and procedures around dealing with freedom of speech on your campus.

Sincerely,

Jenn Watt
Central Student Association


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