The Surreal World of Campus Activism part 4

Just when you thought campus activism couldn’t get any weirder.

You remember the young woman removed from a campus group for expressing an opinion about an email she received?

You remember the young man expelled from campus for unauthorized use of a sound amplification device?

The young man charged (charged!) for saying “I’ll be famous one day” on the claim that the aforementioned was a violent threat?

Obviously there are much more extreme cases in the US – but keeping to Canada, it is quite clear that the administration at York University has gone and lost its collective mind. At a sedate anti-Bush inaguration event at that Toronto university, demonstrators were beaten up (beaten up! on a progressive campus!) and arrested. There is apparently video – this is the same hall that Daniel Freeman-Maloy was arrested for megaphoning in (see surreal world part 1) – and they seem to have been almost entirely devoid of a pretext.

Here’s the minimalist press release.

*Police assault and arrest student demonstrators at York University*
Students beaten, 4 arrested; specific charges pending

Recent trends of harrassment and intimidation of student dissidents came to a head early today at York University, as security worked with police to forcibly disperse a demonstration marking the inauguration of US President George W. Bush.

The demonstration, organized by GRAIN (Grassroots Anti-Imperialist Network), a campus social justice group, took place beginning at 1:30 pm in York’s Vari Hall Rotunda. Approximately 150 York community members were present, drawing connections between on-campus institutions and the US empire.

Security intimidation commenced quickly, overseen by Amelia Golden, assistant director of Student Community Building. Security personnel ordered people to disperse and asked people for personal information. Police moved in shortly after, throwing students and members of local CUPE 3903 to the ground, and in certain instances beating them with extendable batons. While overtly violent repression is a new element of the campaign to shut down basic political freedoms at York, it is a natural extension of the policies of the administration of Lorna Marsden towards student politics.

Information regarding specific charges and other details will be available shortly.

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.