Wonderful article on why the University should be open during the G20 if it considers itself a location of debate, intellectual discussion, etc..
Why U of T’s decision to close during the G20 is a mistake
by Patrick Vitale (PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Toronto) and the Liaison Officer for CUPE 3902.
University campuses, including the University of Toronto’s, have often served as safe havens for dissent and political organizing. From Berkeley to Paris to Oaxaca, students and the public have used campuses as a space to organize for a more just and equitable world. Some of the most important gains of the anti-war, feminist, civil rights, and pro-democracy movements (to name a few) were the result of political organizing on university campuses.
At other moments in history, at Kent State and Jackson State, in Mexico City and Beijing, universities have opened their campuses to armed forces that attacked and killed students and their allies. Rather than create safe havens for dissent and political organizing, these universities exposed their students to violent police forces who gassed, beat, and shot them.
Next month, U of T’s administration can decide where it stands on this divide. Will it offer students and protesters a sanctuary or will it invite police repression? Will it create a space where the public can debate and learn about the policies of the G20, or will it barricade its gates limiting protesters’ abilities to organize?
Last Friday, Cheryl Misak, U of T’s Provost, announced the administration’s cowardly decision to close the St. George campus during the G20. The memo explicitly cites protests as a threat to students, staff, and faculty, and notes that as of Wednesday, June 23rd, “the St. George campus will be for all intents and purposes closed.”
Photo by wvs at Flickr.
And here is an expansion of the same article if you want to know more:
City Under Siege: The University of Toronto Joins the G20 Security Ring
by Katie Mazer and Patrick Vitale