Harsh Reaction To The Protest...

Monday, April 11, 2005


Written by cannon.ca

Students, alumni and the community react harshly to last Wednesday's protest. Here is a sampling of some of the letters that we've received, unedited...

To whom it may concern;

I had heard about the protest after the fact and was interested to learn more.
I found a blurb on the event and some videos on the cannon.ca I immediately was
interested to see what happened.

After watching half of the first video I am sickened by the action of fellow
students and ashamed to be associated with you. Yes it is unfortunate if
tuition rises and cuts are made.....but look around it is happening everywhere
in the real world, its a fact of life.

Ok, so it was public meeting and you want to be heard. Forcing yourselves in and
creating havoc is not the way to be heard. It makes you look like a bunch of
ASSHOLES. Who would want to listen to someone with the intelligence level that
you demonstrated in the protest.

Quotes from the video "Push your way in boys, they can't hold all of us back"
"Don't fight back(said to security)" They were doing their job and trying to
gain some order and everyone not only showed disrespect to them, but to
University property by climbing over office furniture. Prices are going to
increase no matter what after a group of hoodlums pull crap like that.

There are better ways to get your voices heard and discuss things like mature
adults, not just a bunch of monkeys! Then you show pictures of your "battle
scars", big deal they are a few little bruises, suck it up wimps there is
barely anything there. You deserved it for your actions.

I could go on for hours discussing how disgusted I am but I will end here and
hope that in the future, students will think before they act.

John Las
Class of 2005
Ontario Agricultural College

I am a student of Guelph and I am also embarrassed to call myself a
student of Guelph. BUT not for the reasons cited in this article...what on
EARTH were these crazy people thinking. If people feel like breaking the law
by attacking police officers is a constructive way to spend their time then
maybe they should find a new hobby. First off, cut backs happen...deal with
it money isn't unlimited and did anyone THINK to connect the CUTBACKS with
LACK OF FUNDS...life isn't free the school can't continue to pay the number
of people they are evidently...I don't see why the CSA and its groupies
didn't cheer for the increase in tuition cause THEN we can all live happily
and keep our jobs. I encourage an increase in tuition ...if doign so would
create more jobs. I am sick of people complainign about increases in tuition
constantly...its SO cheap to go to universtiy in canada...try going to
school in the STATES...stop complaining, stary studying and get a job to pay
for the increase in your tuition.

from a student

Dear Ryan,

As a student of York University and University of Guelph alumnus, I am writing to express to you my extreme disappointment in your actions, and those of your colleagues, during the recent Board of Governors meeting. It is not your act of protesting the Board with which I take issue; it is your disrespect of others and your misrepresentation of students that angers me. I hope you will allow me to take a few minutes to explain my frustration.

As you know, the University of Guelph has a long tradition of student activism. That I am a graduate of an institution whose students take pride in representing themselves makes me glad. I love the University of Guelph, and the students and alumni who make or have made a contribution, big or small.

The last 10 years of funding of colleges and universities is a stain on this province's history to the detriment of those who work for, attend, or want to attend a post-secondary institution. As a law student and member of student government at Osgoode Hall, I can personally attest to the effect that a lack of funding has had on the quality of education and accessibility. I know what it’s like to see invaluable employees fired. I know what it’s like to carry a very high debt load. I know what it's like to be afraid of one. I know what it's like to wonder how one is going to pay the rent when student loans are running low. Still, I manage to get by. No doubt, there are other students who are struggling more so than you are or I am. Many of them cannot "get by." In that respect, I understand the importance of the "student voice." If students do not speak up for themselves, few others will.

The manner in which we conduct ourselves is as much a testament to our message as are the words that we use. You will no doubt agree with me that great activists such as Gandhi and MLK Jr. are demonstrative of this point. While they advocated against their oppressors, they treated themselves with respect, and addressed others - even their enemies - with a dignified tone. Their words were stronger and given greater meaning because they refused to denigrate others in the face of their oppression.

Your actions, and those of the students and organizations with whom you are associated, seem to ignore their example. For example, in a video of the protest posted on the website of "Science for Peace," a CSA-sanctioned club, a student can be heard calling a female police officer "bitch." Other alumni have heard first hand accounts from STUDENTS of the personal attacks that were launched against members of the administration and Board of Governors.

I have worked with Alastair Summerlee, Maureen Mancuso, and Brenda Whiteside for years. In fact, during my first year of major involvement in student government, I was working “against them.” Since then, we have disagreed on numerous occasions. At the same time, I have seen them work tirelessly on behalf of students and the university. For example, during a presentation at which I saw then-Association Vice President Summerlee deliver a budget, a student asked: “what are you doing to lobby the provincial government for greater funding?” Dr. Summerlee responded by noting that, despite his relative unimportance as a “lowly” associate vice president (his self-description), he still writes letters and makes phonecalls to anyone who will listen. Even though he felt he was being ignored, he still took steps to advocate on behalf of the University of Guelph. I know that other members of his administration take the same approach, and take very personally their role as educators and trustees of education. They are faced with a conundrum that is deeply-rooted and pervasive, and if you do not think that they struggle with the decisions that they are forced to make, you are out of your mind.

When you address them with vulgarity and sharp, personal attacks, you not only hurt them, but you also taint your broader message and alienate students like me – those who do not subscribe to “extreme” activism, but who nevertheless support activists and in our own way fight zealously on behalf of students. Even though I support your cause, I and a significant number of students across Ontario find your tactics wanting of dignity. We do not want to be represented by others in the manner displayed at the Board of Governors meeting.

You might characterize the administration’s act of laying off employees, increasing international students’ tuition, and cutting departmental budgets as personal attacks. How can an employee not take personally a decision to lay him/her off, when he/she will struggle to make ends meet? How can a foreign student not take personally his/her inability to afford the tuition of a world-class institution? How can Dr. Summerlee draw a substantial salary when the University is being hurt in this way? These are, of course, very important questions that strike at the foundation of accountability and accessibility. These are questions that MUST be asked. At the same time, whatever disrespect you perceive from the administration should not give you license to personally malign the perpetrators, especially when you are acting as a student representative. If anything, it should inspire you to rise above, and take the highest road. Speak loudly. Speak confidently. Speak often. When no one is listening, raise your voice, but do not debase another human being while you do so.


Rich Appiah, B.A. ‘02
LL.B. Candidate, Osgoode Hall Law School

I just viewed the footage of the protest (if you want to call it that) that took place at the u of g campus. Now I don't have a university degree and while I don't agree with the cuts I must say what I saw was idiotic. There is no way that you are going to prove a point by ganging up on people doing their job. Oh boo hoo did a little student get hit by an officer? I saw something totally different than you did I guess. These people are doing their job and don't think for a minute that that was police brutality. I don't agree with the way it went about with this "mickey mouse" protest.You have just cemented in my mind what a U og G student is all about, selfish, ignorant and immature.


After watching the videos of the protest I feel disgusted by what went on, and
by the fact that such actions are condoned by a group who allegedly represent
my opinions, the Central Student Association. I do not believe that violence
and property destruction are a legitimate way for students to voice their
concerns to the University administration. The behaviour demonstrated by those
involved is a clear example of why the administration did not want the
protesters allowed in the board meeting, and has harmed our ability to voice
our concerns in the future.

That three of the protesters were injured during the clash with security is
unfortunate. However, the protesters who went up to the fourth floor, knowing
that they were not allowed to be there, are clearly at fault for the
altercation. How would you feel as a campus security guard when faced with 40
students who are loud, obnoxious, and whose only goal is to get past you any
way they can? I would certainly be fearful for the safety of myself and those I
am there to protect, and very likely to resort to whatever force necessary to
keep myself and those others safe.

In the end, a visibly upset Alastair Summerlee came out to let the protestors
into the board meeting. Why did he do this? Not because the protesters had a
right to be there, but because he is responsible for the safety of the security
staff and students. As a responsible administrator, he cannot allow events to
continue which could result in serious injury to those involved or the
destruction of University property.

It is no wonder then that the board members did not support the viewpoint of the
protesters, eventually voting to approve the proposed budget. It is hard to take
the opinions of an unruly mob seriously. Ryan White claims that there was
“overwhelming pressure” from the students and workers, though apparently it
wasn’t quite overwhelming enough. White also makes the claim that the
“University has made it clear that they do not care about the concerns of its
workers and students.”

The problem with this claim is that the administration gave ample opportunity
for members of the University community to give feedback on the budget process.
Months ago, the e-mail account “ ” was set up so that
people could e-mail their ideas and opinions to the administration. I sent my
opinions to this address, and even received a response. The night before the
board meeting, Tuesday, a special informal session of the Senate was held where
all members of the University community could attend and express their views.

As both a student and employee of the University, I am doubly affected by the
budget cuts. I do not welcome the cutting of departmental spending when the
departments are already short-changed. I am upset that this great institution
is in such dire financial straits. However, what choice does the administration
have but to make cuts? Running a deficit is a reckless option, though
recklessness is clearly not a concern for the protesters who support the idea.
The blame for this mess should not be put on the administration, but on the
government of Ontario who control the funding that the University receives.
Those who wish to exercise their democratic right to dissent should target
those at fault in Queen’s Park, and should do so in a way that does not involve
the violence we saw Wednesday.

In not-so solidarity,

Matt Teeter

It was really nice to see the CSA take a rational position on the budget
issue. Instead of going to the open forum that was held for everyone to come
and join and voice opinions, people decided it would be better to wear bandanas
over their faces and relaunch the Battle of Seattle in Guelph. I liked it even
more when I saw the protestors decide to turn a board of governor's meeting
into a public meeting. Now, I understand that there is a desire to be heard
and obviously nobody likes bugdget cuts but there needs to be some rational
thought involved. Chanting "public meeting" does not make it so. The Guelph
campus police are some of the nicest people around and if people ever stopped
and talked to them they'd realize that. I wonder what purpose the desire to
turn anyone in a position of authority at the U of G into the Gestapo actually
serves. Some may feel enjoy feeling completely opressed but for the large part
this is utterly rediculous. There was a process, people have jobs to make sure
this process was followed and it was. There were months of consultations and
deliberations and a decision was finally made. Obviously, the budget is a huge
issue here in a time of an underfunded system. If you don't like, go right
ahead and voice complaints but please, just be peaceful about it and if you're
going to do something that you're not allowed to do, just accept that

Robert Johnston

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  1. Posted by: Pig Fucker on Dec 5, 2008 @ 2:42pm

    You can all blow me

  2. Posted by: on Dec 5, 2008 @ 2:43pm

    You can all blow me

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