Taking Notes: Eye on Education – Rising Dissent Leads to No-Protest Zones on Campus

Taking Notes: Eye on Education – Rising Dissent Leads to No-Protest Zones on Campus

This column focuses on a wide range of issues affecting post-secondary students. Students are encouraged to submit suggestions and educational topics they are concerned about, or personal experiences with courses or university situations they feel other students should know about. If suggest a topic or a course alert for taking notes, contact djabbour@ausu.org


In a move to quell university unrest, university administrators across Canada are cracking down, creating no-protest zones on campus, a situation many consider unjustified oppression against legitimate student dissent. Student activists at Carleton University in Ottawa are fighting what they term an “excessively meddlesome administration” that hurts student organizing.

At York University in Toronto, three campus battles between students and police have erupted in the space of only a few weeks. In Vancouver, MBA students and their lawyers argued breach of contract when the school quadrupled tuition to $28,000 after students had accepted admissions offers. This led to an increasingly acrimonious tuition dispute that found its way to the B.C. court of appeal. The university tried to shut down the appeal until one of the students had paid his tuition bill owing the university, a move students called legal bullying to exert financial pressure.

In January, students had planned an organized demonstration inside Osgoode Law School, in conjunction with visit of U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci. Campus security, in consultation with the RCMP, kept the protestors outside the school, leading one law student to argue that students are prepared to study freedoms but not allowed to practise them.

Some wonder whether students are becoming more aggressive and litigious. Others view campus crackdowns and the enforcement of no-protest zones at universities as evidence that society is moving in a much more repressive direction.

Schmidt, Sarah. Campus clashes on rise across country: Universities blamed for cracking down on dissent. Edmonton Journal, February 10, 2005. Canada.com news: