Press Release: University of Toronto community fed up, forms General Assembly

TORONTO, January 18

On Wednesday January 19, 2011, students, workers, and faculty of the University of Toronto intend to gather to express their lack of confidence in the administration and governance of the University. At the first ever U of T General Assembly (UTGA), members of the university community will demand that the administration stand with students, workers, and faculty, rather than with corporations, private donors, and a Provincial government that fails to adequately support higher education. Participants of the UTGA will map out an alternative direction for the University – one that ensures access and improved learning conditions for students, safe and dignified working conditions for workers, and the protection of academic freedom for all.

Johanna Lewis, an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto and an organizers of the UTGA, became involved over concerns about issues ranging from the imposition of Flat Fees to the creation of the Munk School of Global Affairs. “At U of T, students are constantly confronted with changes that threaten our best interest. Unfortunately,” she adds, “though we speak up, the administration seems more interested in listening to the likes of Peter Munk than to us.”

Caitlin Henry, a Ph.D. student and teaching assistant, is participating in the UTGA to address U of T’s failure as a teaching institution. “As a teaching assistant, I grade often, but rarely interact with students in the classroom. The University does not devote adequate resources to undergraduate teaching.”

For Scott Prudham, an Associate Professor of Geography, the top-down nature of how the U of T administration operates needs to change. According to Prudham, “We are seeing autocratic tendencies from our administration across several fronts that I would describe as nothing short of dangerous. Dangerous to students, dangerous to staff, and dangerous to our faculty and librarians. These developments compromise the core values of the institution.”

To find out more about the UTGA, please attend its inaugural meeting this Wednesday, January 19th, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the U of T Multi-Faith Centre (569 Spadina Ave).

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For further information: Johanna Lewis, undergraduate student: 416-797-8537; Faraz Vahid Shahidi, undergraduate student: 905-484-0570; Patrick Vitale, Ph.D. student & Liaison Officer CUPE 3902: 647-222-3902.

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About utgeneralassembly

a group of concerned students wondering about governance at the university of toronto
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