Eli Ridder | The Avro Post

Students reclaiming the Senate Chamber at York University are holding a Town Hall on Thursday night to open up a discussion over how the group should move forward with holding the university accountable for its actions. 


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From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Students For 3903 are holding the meeting at the re-branded “Student Chamber” on the ninth floor of the Ross Building to hear out suggestions on what moves it should take.

The occupation told The Avro Post that it will be live streamed, and it will be carried on the Post’s website.

The event comes just before Good Friday, a civic holiday, and a week after the occupation started following the last Senate meeting.

The university on Monday requested the Ontario Ministry of Labour hold a forced vote, a one-time request that has all members of the CUPE local union fill out ballots on whether to accept the latest offer from York and end the strike or continue.

A forced vote was rejected by the public college faculty union last fall when the College Employers Council submitted a request for it to be carried out.

Who are the occupiers?

The occupying student group is acting in support of the local 3903 Canadian Union of Public Employees that make up some 60 per cent of the faculty at York and went on strike on Mar. 5, but is also advocating on behalf of students.

Primarily, they want to have all classes cancelled until the strike is over, a move the university told the occupiers on Sunday would not happen.

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”, numbers that have not been verified at this point.

York University and the occupiers have exchanged several statements on social media but students at the Senate say that only one member of the administration has visited, but not in an official capacity.

University staffer Debbie Hanson was sent on Saturday to the chamber and dropped off care packages, but beyond that, official contact has been through press releases by both sides.

Security was tightened on Monday morning amid reports the Students For CUPE 3903 would be evicted from the chamber they’ve occupied since the last Senate meeting on Mar. 22, a week ago.

The university had temporarily blocked ninth floor elevator access to the public and press on Monday, but was restored Tuesday morning.

The university maintains that students enrolled at York may leave and return from the chamber as they wish as part of the occupation.

Occupiers told The Avro Post on Monday they do not intend to leave until the demands are met.

“We are still here, we have reclaimed this space, and we are building community,” the occupiers tweeted on Tuesday.

“Come join us!”

Written by Eli Ridder

Eli Ridder is a freelance journalist. He founded The Avro Post in October 2017. He writes for Breaking911 and Guelph Politico, among others. Feel free to connect at ELIRIDDER@ICLOUD.COM or at ELIRIDDER.CA

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