Not sure how effective this will be, but good on 'em for trying. FWIW, 110 York undergrads = about twice as many as showed up at Queen's Park for the anti-union, pro-corporate "York Not Hostage" rally a few weeks back. Original here:
December 15, 2008 - TORONTO, Ont.
As we write, more than 110 York undergraduate students are joining graduate student members of CUPE 3903 in an occupation of the President’s Office on the 9th floor of the Ross Building at York University. They are demanding that President Mamdouh Shoukri come out, engage them, and address 12 key questions.
They also plan to present him a letter to sign, requesting that he commit to participating in a public forum of undergraduates and CUPE members, to be held in the week of Jan. 5th, 2009.
Since the strike began on November 5th, and the University locked out students by canceling all classes, Shoukri’s actions and those of his representatives have ranged from unresponsive to hostile to the majority of student concerns. Most recently, President Shoukri refused to participate in an undergraduate Town Hall organized by the York Federation of Students on Thursday, Dec. 4th. There, students discussed the YFS economic proposal* urging York to direct funds and fundraising dollars away from non-essential expenses such as luxurious celebrations, and huge raises and bonuses for York Administrators, back to the classroom where it belongs.
During an economic downturn, it should be the President’s priority to protect the most vulnerable members of the York community - the students - by putting money into the quality of student eduction first.
Since taking his post at York University, President Shoukri has refused to get his hands dirty by getting involved in bargaining, nor to help support a fair, equitable and agreeable contract that would end to the strike by Contract Faculty, Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants - professional workers who do more than 50% of the teaching at York. This is not acceptable.
Instead of relying on external abitrators, or provincial legislators to resolve the issues in the current strike, President Shoukri should step up and show some leadership on campus, by insisting that his bargaining team work round the clock with CUPE negotiators to settle the strike.
The students and CUPE members occupying the President’s office will continue their sit-in until President Shoukri meets with them.