CAUT has expressed outrage that students peacefully occupying a Trent University office to protest the decision by Trent to close its downtown colleges were forcibly removed and arrested by police on March 1. The eight female students were taken to jail, charged with mischief and strip-searched.
Despite massive criticism condemning the police intervention and criminal charges, the Trent administration maintains the students chose a course of action in full knowledge of the consequences.
At an emergency meeting of Faculty Council an overwhelming majority voted for the university to demand that the charges be dropped or reduced and to ask "that civility and respect return to all parts of Trent University."
Parents of the students say they are "appalled" at how the university handled the situation and argue the charges are excessive.
Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton has condemned the police action and asked the Ontario Solicitor General to investigate.
In a strongly-worded letter to Trent president Bonnie Patterson the day after the arrest, CAUT president Tom Booth wrote "We demand you use every effort to see that all charges against the students are dropped."
Patterson says the university had no option but to seek the assistance of local authorities to end the "illegal" occupation, and that the nature of the charges laid are not matters within the university's jurisdiction.