April 29, 2008

Since I'm Not a U of T Student, Alumnus, Staff Member or even a Toronto resident, I'm not scared of the school's goons...

>Subject: FW: CALL TO ACTION: UofT PRESSES CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST 14 FOR> MOBILIZING AGAINST FEE HIKES>>>>

**URGENT CALL FOR SUPPORT – PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY**>>>UofT PRESSES CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST 14 >STUDENTS AND ORGANIZERS MOBILIZING TO FIGHT FEE >HIKES>>

University's level of hostility and repression >against students unprecedented in the last decade>>>

Community Release: Toronto; April 25 2008>>>WHAT: Allies for Just Education - Community Support Meeting>>WHEN: Monday April 28, 6pm>>WHERE: Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil St >(http://tinyurl.com/4sn49c)>>>

Dear Allies,>>>

Over the past several weeks, a wide coalition of >students, alumni and workers at University of >Toronto have come together to protest and >organize against proposed fee hikes and to >demand accessible education. This coalition has >organized public meetings, a sit-in and >demonstrations which have received wide >community support (see www.fightfees.ca > >).

>>>Due to a peaceful sit-in, organized to protest >against tuition fees on March 20, students are >being subjected to an intense campaign of >intimidation by the UofT administration and >Toronto Police. Students have been followed by >campus police, both on and off campus, as well >as being monitored and photographed during >meetings. UofT has pressed charges against 14 >students and organizers, who have now had to >turn themselves over to Toronto Police. They >have been released on strict bail conditions, >which ban them from associating with one another >outside of courts and classes, as well as being >barred from protesting anywhere on UofT >property. In addition, several UofT students, >staff and alumni have been completely banned >from UofT property. One student organizer, Oriel >Varga, is currently being held in custody >overnight. Additionally, UofT is investigating >12 students under the Code of Student Conduct. >This campaign of intimidation comes at a time >when the administration is publicly lobbying for >the deregulation of fees, and is thus undertaken >to prevent students from continuing to organize >around university fees.>>>

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO SHOW SUPPORT:>>>We are calling on all community allies and >support groups to show their solidarity with the >14 accused in any way they can. Community >members are expressing their outrage at the >growing cost of education, and at the use of >intimidation and force against students who >organize for accessible education at the >University of Toronto.>>>It is critical for the university community and >supporters across the country to publicly >condemn and reverse attacks on students' right >to organize. We are calling on all community >members, community groups, unions, and student >organizations to:>>>

a) Send a message of support to the Committee >for Just Education at fightfees@gmail.com>>>

b) Send letters of condemnation to the President >of the University of Toronto, David Naylor, at >david.naylor@utoronto.ca (please CC all emails >to fightfees@gmail.com) or phone David Naylor at >416-978-2121 with an emphasis the following:>>>

(i) Drop all charges against UofT students, staff and alumni.>>

(ii) Remove all bail restrictions and conditions for all 14 accused>>

(iii) End the policing of dissent and protest on >campus.

In the wake of the March 20 sit-in, 12 >students are also being investigated under the >Code of Student Conduct and student organizers >have faced intimidation and surveillance from >the campus police. More recently, the University >has pressed charges against 14 students and >organizers. >>>**For more information and to get involved with >the Allies for Just Education, visit >www.fightfees.ca < http://www.fightfees.ca/ > >or email us at: fightfees@gmail.com**

1 comment:

civil said...

The 14 have been charged with forcible confinement, an offense in the Criminal Code which falls under the heading of “Kidnapping, Trafficking in Persons, Hostage Taking and Abduction.” It carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Other charges include that of “forcible detainer” (wrongfully holding property not one’s own), and mischief in relation to property, carrying maximum sentences of two and five years, respectively.

The accused are Farrah Miranda and Liisa Schofield, campus organizers for the Ontario Public Interest Research Group; Michal Hay, former VP university affairs at UTSU; Hayes, who is president of ASSU; Edward Wong, an ASSU executive; APUS staffers Oriel Varga and Chris Ramsaroop; recent U of T graduate Noaman Ali; Farshad Azadian and Semra Eylul Sevi, members of the activist group Always Question; and students Luis Granados, Golta Shahidi, and Gabi Rodriguez. The accused also include one minor who cannot be named, and who has been additionally charged with uttering a death threat. The minor is undergoing a separate legal process at youth court.

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