Eli Ridder | The Avro Post
A source told The Avro Post on Sunday night that York University planned to evict the student occupation of the Senate Chamber on Monday morning, but students outside the chamber and the security team denied there would be eviction.
A local union sent a mass message out to several accounts on Twitter Sunday night saying that they had heard from a reliable source that the university was planning to kick the students from the chamber at 8 a.m. the next day.
Students said that they knew nothing of the alleged eviction and security services on campus told CP24 that no such an action was planned.
The individual source said that the students occupying the chamber expected the university to “try getting in” on Monday morning.
The occupiers did not respond to a request for comment via the previously used communication channel.
Students supporting the striking local 3903 Canadian Union of Public Employees have occupied the meeting for the Senate in the Ross Building since Thursday evening.
The students let The Avro Post into their stakeout, where spirits were high and the environment was tense, but also light.
York University published a statement on Sunday afternoon that said it would not meet the demand the Students for CUPE 3903 group to halt classes
The York administration also formally requested all CUPE 3903 members and those not enrolled at York to leave the chamber as they found individuals “who are not members of the York community troubling”.
However, students said that CUPE 3903 members are not inside and have only acted to support the students.
Only undergraduate students were inside as of Monday morning, according to students outside the chamber.
Students supporting the striking faculty union at York University have been occupying the Senate Chamber for four days as of Sunday, since the Senate meeting last week.
The university has largely remained silent on the sit-in, but said in Sunday’s statement saying that the “health and saftey of the undergraduate students participating” in the sit-in is “of paramount concern to us.”
“Although the university doesn’t condone or encourage the sit-in, we respect our students’ right to express their views,” the statement reads.
“In addition to ensuring our students do have the necessities, including water and access to washroom facilities, maintaining the safety of the building environment, university property and facilities is also a concern.”
CUPE local 3903 has been on strike since Mar. 5, with classes continuing for faculty not part of CUPE.
Marginally less staff are part of the other campus union, the York University Faculty Association.
The occupying students still remain rooted to their spot in the chamber and have stated four demands they want fulfilled before departing the occupation.
Primarily, they want to have all classes cancelled until the strike is over, a move the Senate has previously delayed with the support of the university administration.
Secondly, the student group demands York return to the negotiating table with CUPE 3903 without offering concessions.
The group also demands a tuition refund to all students for the Winter term, a request made by Humber College students last fall which was denied.
A final listed demand is for more information on why York’s president, Rhonda Lenton, allegedly spent at least $20,000 on “personal expenses”.
York made clear in the statement that it said classes would continue “based on an assessment of what is in the best interests of all our students”.
“Staying open and running those classes that could run has provided our students with the ability to make choices based on their own personal circumstances, respecting the needs of the thousands of students who are continuing to attend classes, as scheduled.”
More details to follow. Image of the Senate Chamber from Eli Ridder/The Avro Post.