CUPE 3903 Condemns the Use of Violence to Repress Dissent on Campus

CUPE 3903 strongly condemns the use of violence and repression against our members – including a Senator – and undergraduate students during the March 22 York University Senate meeting. York Security was given license to crush dissent with physical force, which is far outside their mandate.

Held on day 17 of a strike where the university continues to refuse to bargain, and with a complete lack of clarity regarding the accommodations that students can expect at the end of the strike, it is not surprising that students were angry at this Senate meeting. This anger, predictable and justified as it is, does not constitute a justification for the excessive use of force by York Security against members of the York University community. In fact, nothing could justify this overreach, which was specifically designed to prevent members of Senate who oppose the decisions of the Senate Executive from entering the meeting.

The Senator elected to represent CUPE 3903 was put into a headlock while he was peacefully attempting to enter the Senate Chambers. Students were grabbed, shoved, and in one case, injured, in order to stifle dissent.

This is unacceptable behaviour coming from a university, no matter how serious the disagreements within its constituent bodies may be. York issued a statement urging “respect and tolerance”, yet have remained silent regarding the violence they have sanctioned against the members of their own community.

Therefore, CUPE 3903 demands that:

  1. York issue an official apology to Devin Clancy (CUPE 3903 Senator) and all other members of the community who were attacked by York Security.
  2. York acknowledge that their actions have made the campus an increasingly unsafe and threatening place for members of the York community, especially those who are at higher risk of (re)experiencing violence, and take steps to ensure that all members of the York community can exercise their rights safely and without threats of violence.