“Respect and Compassion” Does Not Include Violence

Earlier today, at approximately 10 a.m., a sport-utility vehicle approached CUPE 3903 members engaged in lawful picketing at the Pond Road entrance to York University.

The driver of the SUV asked to be let in and was informed that the Pond Entrance was a ‘hard picket’ that day, with no vehicles being let in. Before picketers could advise the driver where to find the nearest available entry point, they attempted to rush the gates, pushing several picketers into the gates.

The SUV struck one picketer, who in an effort to prevent themselves from going under the wheels, suffered injuries to both hands caused by shattered glass, and was taken to hospital, where they were treated, placed briefly under observation and subsequently released.

The driver of the SUV fled the scene but has since been located by police. As they fled, they ignored security yelling at them to stop, and went through two other gates and a line of picketers.

CUPE 3903 wishes to state in the strongest possible terms that violence towards those engaged in lawful picketing activity is never acceptable. While we understand the frustration some members of the campus community feel, there is never a place in which it is okay to put peoples’ lives in danger.

York University needs to accept a share of the responsibility for today’s incident. The employer continues to send us letters imploring us to be respectful because they disapprove of political expression and action. It is imperative that they condemn attempted vehicular manslaughter with at least as much force.