Eli Ridder | The Avro Post
Students supporting the striking faculty union at York University have been occupying the Senate Chamber for four days as of Sunday, since the Senate meeting last week.
The university has largely remained silent on the sit-in, but on Sunday afternoon released a statement saying that the “health and saftey of the undergraduate students participating” in the sit-in is “of paramount concern to us.”
“Although the university doesn’t condone or encourage the sit-in, we respect our students’ right to express their views,” the statement reads.
“In addition to ensuring our students do have the necessities, including water and access to washroom facilities, maintaining the safety of the building environment, university property and facilities is also a concern.”
The Canadian Union of Public Employees local 3903 has been on strike since Mar. 5, with classes continuing for faculty not part of CUPE.
Marginally less staff are part of the other campus union, the York University Faculty Association.
The occupying students still remain rooted to their spot in the chamber and have stated four demands they want fulfilled before departing the occupation.
Primarily, they want to have all classes cancelled until the strike is over, a move the Senate has previously delayed with the support of the university administration.
Secondly, the student group demands York return to the negotiating table with CUPE 3903 without offering concessions.
The group also demands a tuition refund to all students for the Winter term, a request made by Humber College students last fall which was denied.
A final listed demand is for more information on why York’s president, Rhonda Lenton, allegedly spent at least $20,000 on “personal expenses”.
York made clear in Sunday’s statement that it said classes would continue “based on an assessment of what is in the best interests of all our students”.
“Staying open and running those classes that could run has provided our students with the ability to make choices based on their own personal circumstances, respecting the needs of the thousands of students who are continuing to attend classes, as scheduled.”
More details to follow. Image of York University from BlogTO.