Wednesday, December 17, 2008

President Shoukri responds to sit-in protestors

Wow. Classy actions here from the York U president.
Dispatch #5 - President to Student Sit-In: “Let them sit and wait”

From: Carmen
To: CUPE and friends
Date:    Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 7:30 PM
Subject:    sit-in update: “York president’s response: Let them wait!”

Around 11am on Tuesday, December 16, York student Monique Huggins saw President Shoukri just outside the York University student centre.  Huggins reminded President Shoukri that there were students waiting to speak with him.  He forcefully interrogated who she was, and she responded that she was both a Masters student and a teacher. President Shoukri replied that: “MAs fulfill a transitive role, after one year you will be gone, a TAship is not a job, it is merely a transition”.
Ignorant and condescending, all in one! MAs at York tend not to hold TAships; they tend to hold GAships. I don't know what "merely a transition" is supposed to mean -- does he seriously think that people go from York U grad programs into tenure-track jobs or something? If so, he's an idiot. If that's not what it means, then what's the distinction he's trying to draw? TAs don't do anything important for the university, so they can get paid whatever? If so, why does the Senate have to shut down classes during this strike? Edit: 10:13pm. I just noticed he referred to MAs as "transitive", too. So, in the view of the University President, MAs aren't an important degree. They don't serve any purpose except transitioning from a bachelor's degree to a doctoral degree. Wow. Just wow.
Around noon on Wednesday, December 17, a group of students in Vari Hall saw President Shoukri.  Ali Mustafa, a fourth year York undergraduate student, asked President Shoukri: “There’s a lot of people upstairs waiting to talk to you.  Aren’t you going to go up there and talk to them?” President Shoukri’s response was: “Let them wait!”.

Around 3:45 pm on Wednesday, December 17, a letter was given to the 9th floor sit-in on behalf of President Shoukri where he commented that he would not meet with members of the sit-in.
Classy! If he wants to stay neutral, all he needs to do is show up, be polite and gracious, and not answer the list of questions the protestors have for him. But he can't even do that. I suppose he'd rather enjoy his chauffered luxury sedan while students, TAs, and contract faculty wait for his administration to get off their asses and negotiate. Nice to know we've managed to get another Marsden.
The sit-in began on Monday, October 15, just before 1pm.  It was organized by undergraduate students and members of the Flying Squad because President Shoukri has taken a disengaged approach to the strike in addition to being uncommunicative and unavailable to the York community, despite repeated invitations to interact with York workers and students.

The sit-in consists of undergraduate and graduate students and workers, and has two demands for President Shoukri: (1) That he sign a commitment to hold and speak at a public forum about the strike in the first week of January; (2) That he answer 12 questions on-camera, to all of us, that the organizing group and sit-in participants put together and agreed upon.  The questions demand responses from Shoukri regarding the strike, the financial priorities of the York administration and bargaining team, as well as the security of picketers.

The sit-in continues, and all are welcome to join us!
Apparently, like the University bargaining team, President Shoukri's strategy is to run from students, run from CUPE 3903 members, and negotiate through press releases and select media interviews. And people wonder why York has such protracted, vicious strikes.

No comments: