WATCH this CityTV news report about the York students who are being charged with violations of the CSRR
In August York administration charged a group of graduate and undergraduate students with violations of York’s Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities (CSRR) for engaging in lawful acts of peaceful protest during the recent labour dispute with CUPE 3903. Since the strike ended, York administration has talked about “healing” the community, but the use of York’s CSRR to threaten suspension and expulsion is a sure sign that students who dare to criticize York’s policies will be punished.
Carol McAulay, Vice-President, Finance and Administration, filed complaints against students involved in these protests. Students who spoke out to the media during these protests are now being singled out by the administration for reprisals under the CSRR. We see this as an obvious attempt to intimidate students if we dare speak out against York administration.
In an open letter to President Rhonda Lenton, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association declared that these students’ right to protest and assemble are protected by their rights as guaranteed by the Canadian Constitution. CSRR violations are not violations of the law but can still lead to harsh penalties. If these students are suspended or expelled, they will lose campus employment, campus housing, OSAP funds, and more.
We are concerned not only about the current situation but the broader implications of the CSRR. The CSRR falls under the York University Act, 1965, concerning the duties of the President. Only the President and Vice-Provost Students govern it. The CSRR was never passed by Senate and they do not oversee it. CSRR meetings, tribunals, and decisions on student penalties, are directed by university administration. In effect, the CSRR is a top-down and undemocratic policy used by the administration to govern student behaviour.
If York administration truly wants to “heal” the community, they must drop the charges against these students. We fully defend the ability of students to engage in lawful acts of peaceful protest that are critical of York’s policies and we will do our best to advocate on behalf of the students going to university tribunals.
Undergraduate students who do not have legal representation and do not qualify for legal advice are seeking financial assistance to pay their legal fees. Please give if you can!