All York community members should be aware of two issues surrounding the recent demonstrations on campus:
1) When students arrive at York they agree to the following:
“Student conduct on campus is governed by long-standing Presidential Regulations that require students to abide by reasonable instructions given orally or in writing by any official of the University authorized to secure compliance with regulations, rules and procedures provided that the official is identified and acting in an official capacity.”
Presidential Regulation Number 2 – The Conduct of Students at York University
2) Vice-President Gary Brewer, our VP finance & administration, has issued the report below to senators regarding the security aspects of the event.
The main purposes of the University are teaching and research and these take priority in the use of space on campus.
Lorna R. Marsden
President and Vice-Chancellor
Report to senators from Gary Brewer, VP finance & administration:
A great deal has been written and said over the past few days following Thursday’s demonstration in Vari Hall. Unfortunately, certain aspects of the debate seem to be informed by assertions rather than facts. I have carefully reviewed the videos and security reports written by those actually present at the demonstration, and feel it necessary to highlight a number of points which seem to be overlooked in the debate surrounding the unfortunate outcome of Thursday’s demonstration.
- The protest was a pre-meditated confrontation, lasted almost an hour and at no point did the protesters accede to repeated, polite requests by York Security or the police to disperse peacefully.
- Several disturbing aspects of Thursday’s events are not shown in the protesters’ videos, but have been documented both in York Security reports and in Toronto Police reports:
A policeman being hit in the head by a megaphone thrown by a protester.
- A protester attempting to remove a gun from a policeman’s holster.
- A policewoman being assaulted by several protesters.
The significant level of the secondary police response that some of you have commented on was in response to the firearms offence. The police have standard operating procedures around firearms offences and can take no chances in this regard, as I am sure you can appreciate. I for one do not want to see firearms drawn at York.
Classes were cancelled and examinations were interrupted – affecting approximately 650 students and their faculty attempting to pursue their academic work in the Vari classrooms at that time. In the past year, this is the fifth time that classes have been disrupted. Over the past two years, we have worked progressively with student Clubs and organizations to reduce the disruptions to classes in Vari, and official student organizations have cooperated well in this regard.
This is a difficult and complex issue, and I ask the York community to consider carefully all the facts and the full context of Thursday’s events before drawing conclusions.