Student protests may lead to strike

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By Renata D’Aliesio

York University’s plans for an Ontario-wide general student strike got put on hold Monday after all-day meetings tempered emotions and restored common sense.

Ten Metro police and 15 York security officers woke the 22 students camped out in the president’s office Sunday around 8:15 a.m. A letter from administration threatened to charge the group with criminal trespassing and violation of university presidential regulations.

The group was staging the sit-in as a protest against tuition raises announced two weeks ago.

It was following this incident ideas for a general strike began to develop.

Nettie Boivin, press chair for York’s collective, says time restrictions have postponed plans for a general strike. The first strike date Boivin proposed was March 4, which she later changed to March 10. Both dates were seen as too ambitious and they did not leave enough time to plan an effective strike.

“We want to get more support before we go ahead with the general strike,” said Boivin, who will graduate this year. “We want to build up a movement encompassing all of Ontario’s universities, colleges and high schools.”

While no imminent date for the strike has been set, protests and rallies are planned at both York and the University of Toronto. Boivin said York will experience all sorts of disruptions in the coming days and weeks. “We may be out of the office but we are not out of her [York president Susan Mann] hair,” Boivin said.

At Ryerson three town hall meetings after reading week have been organized. While dates have not yet been confirmed, RyeSAC President Victoria Bowman believes meetings will be constructive.

“It will be a place where the Board of Governors’ representatives and administration representatives come and listen to students tell their stories,” said Bowman. “It is really important students get out there and make their voices heard.”

Bowman said students will be notified about the dates of the meetings through posters and professors in class.

A public rally at U of T’s Convocation Hall has been organized for March 11.

Gillian Morton, a member of U of T’s anti-cuts coalition, said they are trying to get universities from across Ontario to attend. So far Ryerson and York have made tentative commitments.

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