Alison Hearn on 28 Feb 2001 16:17:58 -0000

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<nettime> In defense of Cultural Studies - literally: Student Occupation at Trent University

Here at Trent we are fighting for our space and our future as a site of free
inquiry. University administrators  - fueled by provincial interests in
increased privatization of the college and university system - have
literally 'ordered' the closure and dissolution of two colleges of the
university. It is by no means an accident that the first college slated to
'go' is Peter Robinson College - home to the Cultural Studies Program, it's
graduate program "Methodologies for the Study of Politics and Culture" and
the graduate program in Canadian Studies - All centres for politicized
learning. These two town colleges are also home to faculty who have been
central labour organizers and have led Trent faculty out on strike twice in
the past 10 years.
This is clearly a politically motivated and punitive move.

Mackenzie - Does this action count as "actual people's wants and desires"?
Best -
Alison Hearn.
Trent Students Need Your Support

Monday morning, eight Trent University students took
over the office of Vice President Academic, Graham
Taylor. The students are protesting recent moves by
the University administration to close two of Trent's
downtown colleges and to centralize all services onto
the suburban campus. This plan will lead to the
privatization of services at the University,
decreased student spaces, the relocation of
departments to unsuitable locations, and the
disintegration of Trent's unique college system.
This occupation comes after a year and a half of protests and attempts at
dialogue with the administration, by students and
faculty. In 1999, Trent President Bonnie Patterson,
announced the "Capital Development Strategy" as a way
to obtain provincial funds for the
University. Since then, decision-making with regards
to the Strategy, has not respected due process.
Furthermore, the Capital Development Strategy has been
challenged for its lack of financial, academic and
administrative feasibility.
Because protests and attempts at dialogue have had
little effect thus far, the students occupying the
Vice President's office hope their action will force
the administration to change the current course of its


* Because students, faculty, staff and community members of Trent University
have been excluded from meaningful decision-making processes concerning this
* Because the current administrationšs plans endanger the academic and
cultural integrity of the college system at Trent, as well as the financial
viability of the university as a whole;
* Because the autonomy of Trent University - particularly regarding courses
offered, curriculum content, research opportunities and use of public space
- is threatened by increasing private control of University space and

WE DEMAND that the Administration of Trent University:

1. Strike a committee to reassess the findings of the Final Report of The
External Review of The Administration of Trent University (The
Arthurs/Lorimer Report), with the mandate of taking concrete steps towards
the improvement of decision-making processes at Trent, and focusing on
issues of openness, transparency, and accountability to the Trent Community.
This committee should be constituted as specified below.*
2. Maintain and enhance Peter Robinson College and Catherine Parr Traill
College at their present downtown locations and revise the Capital
Development Strategy to reflect this goal.
3. Guarantee that there will be no renewal or negotiation of new contracts
with companies seeking to purchase advertising space at Trent University
(including Zoom Media) until there has been a TCSA-facilitated student
referendum on the issue; and that only with a majority of student approval
will such contracts be signed by the administration.
4. Develop an official policy which declares all partnerships with private
companies seeking use of university space and/or resources to be an academic
issue subject to approval from Senate. This policy must also include
criteria for assessing whether the company adheres to ethical and
environmental standards domestically and abroad.
5. Recognise the administrationšs culpability in the process leading up to
these demands and grant legal and academic amnesty to all students involved
in the current protest actions.

*This committee will consist of nine people. It will be composed of four
members from Senate and four from the Board of Governors with equal
representation from administrators, professors, staff and students. Senate
and the Board will be responsible for appointing their four delegates
respectively. The ninth member of the committee, the chairperson, will be a
member of the Peterborough community external to the goings-on of Trent. The
chairperson will have to be agreed on by both Senate and the Board. It is
suggested that the chairperson be familiar with Trentšs history, consensus
decision-making and conflict resolution. This committee must hold an open
forum to gather insights on mending the governance process at Trent.

The committeešs process will be made accountable by:

* Creating a space on the Trent web-site to post ALL comments presented at
the open forum, as well as ALL e-mails and correspondence which provide
relevant input to the process as defined above.
* Advertising the forum and web-site in community publications, through
widely circulated public memos and by publicly displayed posters. After the
committee has reviewed and compiled all relevant information, it will
present its findings to the Board and Senate and the appropriate steps will
be made to implement its recommendations.

Please email all
letters to the following addresses: (Trent's president)

If you have any questions or need further information
on letters, please contact If you
would like updates on the situation, please look at

Thank you very much!!! 

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