University of Toronto community opposes campus closure during the G20: Decision to "restrict access" heavy-handed and repressive
The decision to close the University of Toronto St. George campus during the G20 summit - the week of June 21-27 - contradicts the purpose of the university, reinforces harmful stereotypes of protesters, legitimizes police repression and violence, and does not reflect the wishes of students, staff and faculty.
Universities are sites for critical engagement and debate. The University of Toronto, as a place of higher learning, should be encouraging dialogue and engagement on the role of the G8/G20 and the future of our planet. Instead, administrators are prohibiting access to the campus, stifling dialogue and fostering a climate of fear.
According to a May 21st memo, the campus closure is necessary because of the "designated protest zone" at Queen's Park. Playing into media hype, University administrators have chosen to focus on a crude "protesters vs. police" characterization of anti-G20 efforts, and entirely sidestep the issues that compel people to oppose the G20 and its policies. In so doing, they reinforce cynical stereotypes of protesters and legitimize police violence.
The University did not consult students, staff, or faculty in making this decision. This decision places an unacceptable and unnecessary burden on students, instructors and researchers, forcing them to postpone their research, alter their course and exam schedules, and even abandon their homes.
For these reasons, we call on Provost Cheryl Misak and President David Naylor to immediately rescind their decision to close the campus during the G20 summit. We invite campus community members and organizations to join us. To endorse this statement, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of Toronto Students' Union
Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 3902
United Steelworkers, Local 1998
U of T Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students
Ontario Public Interest Research Group - U of T
The Centre for Women and Trans People - U of T
Graduate Geography and Planning Student Society - U of T
Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.