Police forces in Peterborough intervened early on the morning of Mar. 1 to remove students occupying the offices of the academic vice-president and the dean of arts and science at Trent University. The eight women, living in the offices since Feb. 26, were demanding among other things that the university's two downtown colleges remain open.
The occupation followed on the heels of a January board meeting where more than 40 students and faculty members were shut out of discussions on the university's plans to close the two colleges.
Student supporters said the undemocratic decision-making by the board of governors and administration was a crucial factor in the protest.
"In deciding to close Peter Robinson and Catharine Parr Traill colleges the board ignored the Trent senate, ignored the faculty council (who supported a compromise proposal to keep the colleges open for several years) and ignored more than 1,000 students who signed a petition to keep the colleges open," said Professor Andrew Wernick, a key opponent of the college closures.
Students were also demanding that "the administration take concrete steps towards the improvement of decision-making processes at Trent University, especially on issues of openness, transparency and accountability."
Other demands included the requirement that any public-private partnerships considered by the administration be subject to senate review, and that academic amnesty be granted for students supporting the protest.
The students had locked themselves in and said they wouldn't leave until president Bonnie Patterson negotiated with them on their demands.
At press time the women were still being detained by police.