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The Canadian Federation of Students wades into post-protest fray

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

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Written by Jesse Greener (CFS)

Dear President Summerlee,

I am contacting you on behalf of the 250,000 Ontario members of the Canadian Federation of Students. As a federation we are thoroughly committed to ensuring high quality and accessibility in our post-secondary education system, while simultaneously defending and working to bolster core democratic principles—rights to free speech, students’ rights to organise, and campus safety.

We are concerned to learn that students attempting to attend the April 6 Board of Governors meeting, where significant increases to international students’ fees and staff layoffs were slated to be discussed, were met by a significant security force dispatched to block their entrance. As a result, we understand that three students were hospitalised. Apparently students were told that space
limitations prevented their admittance to the meeting room. We are told, however, that in the lead up to said meeting only 3 of the 25 requested “tickets” to the meeting were issued even though a change of venue that would have accommodated more observers was requested. It appears as though
students’ proactive attempts to work with the Guelph administration were rebuffed in favour of maintaining an environment where controversial items could be discussed with little or no input from interested students.

It is increasingly clear that students at Guelph, and across the province, neither share your view that tuition fee increases and staff cutbacks are acceptable ways to deal with the desperate underfunding of our universities and colleges, nor that these decisions should be made under the cover of heavy police protection. I look forward to the day when university presidentsproperly represent the views of 82% of Ontarians, who think that tuition fees are already too high. We urge you to join students in calling for adequate public funding for higher education that can maintain a high quality, accessible system that we can all be proud of.


Sincerely,
Jesse Greener
Ontario Chairperson
Canadian Federation of Students

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