Re: “Downtown is not the answer...”
This is a response to Vanessa Stark’s issue two article criticizing and problematizing the apparent issue of the downtown locations of student spaces.
Stark and those interviewed in the article stress that Trent’s affiliated alternative spaces downtown, while being the home of many of the offices of Trent student organizations, are not the answer for the issue of limited student space.
To begin, I’d like to call attention to the history of Trent University buildings and past student measures to keep our downtown presence alive that Stark blatantly failed to address.
First, Trent’s first campus buildings of 1964 were Rubidge Hall (at Rubidge and Charlotte- now Rubidge Retirement Home; closed 1985), Catherine Parr Traill College, and Peter Robinson College (now Sadleir House).
Therefore, Trent University was first and foremost founded within the downtown community, and then came Symons campus on the northernmost side of Peterborough.
It was in 1999 that the then Trent President Bonnie Patterson announced the closure of both Traill and Peter Robinson colleges. This resulted in student protests founded on the very same arguments I am making in this letter.
During the protest in 1999, many of the students protesting felt that the downtown locations of Peter Robinson and Traill bridged the connection between the downtown Peterborough community and the Trent community.
We are privileged to be able to have this unique and fulfilling experience as students at Trent; to be able to just as easily take advantage of the inspiring artistic spaces of downtown Peterborough as well as have access to the academic spaces at Trent.
One of the most notable of the student protests against the erasure of downtown campus was the Trent Eight. On February 16, 2001, eight female students barricaded the doors of a Lady Eaton College administration office to occupy and demand that the downtown colleges remain available for Trent students.
Almost three days later, riot police were called, broke a window, and dragged the students out of the office. Subsequently, the administration did end up selling PR in 2002.
This is an example of the extent Trent students have gone in the past to maintain our unique downtown/university community relationship, as well as the extent of the disapproval by Trent’s administration of the student autonomy that downtown colleges have.
With a student vote in 2004, the students bought back Peter Robinson College, which is now known as Sadleir House (where Arthur, the publication you decided to place your article in, office is located).
This was done to both compensate for the lack of student space for clubs and groups, as well as to reclaim that space as it was one of the original downtown student spaces.
The PRCSA (Peter Robinson Community & Student Association) was founded during the student purchase of PR in 2004, which continues to grow today, as this year we mark the tenth anniversary of student ownership of 751 George Street. The PRCSA’s Capital Campaign for 2014-2019 reads:
“The PRCSA believes strongly in the role that student and community life play in a truly liberal arts education. Locating these elements in downtown Peterborough, we work to ensure the connection between ‘town and gown’ and foster a connection between scholarship and civic engagement.”
This quote is a great summary of the philosophy of why the relationship between the downtown and Trent community is so vital to the unique Trent student experience.
So, not everyone agrees that the relationship between the Trent community and the downtown Peterborough community should be severed.
In fact, it seems the slight suggestion of dissolving this marriage, so to speak, is almost implying that there is an inherent problem with downtown Peterborough.
I suggest Stark and others who might agree with Stark to meditate on the possibility of this implication, focus their attention on what they would like to see improved, and work on making an authentic effort by voting in both the upcoming municipal and student elections.
There is definitely a history of students being absent from the polling booths, and today we are calling for a paradigm shift in that regard. If you want to see change, vote.
Harper underserving of Nobel Peace Prize
Where is the Stop the Insanity lady when we really need her?
Recently it was announced that Canada’s P.M. has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize–an incongruity comparable to nominating Joan Rivers as Ms. Congeniality.
This is the “pacifist” who has eviscerated Canada’s Blue Beret forces, once respected around the world for their courageous peace-keeping efforts, and seems intent on signing us up for the War of the Week. This is the “humanitarian” who has cut foreign aid and disaster relief (claiming the money is needed to prevent domestic poverty) while at the same time reducing supports for the elderly, the ill and those with disabilities. Currently he is denying dying child war victims access to free life-saving medical care.
This is the “leader” who has just signed us into a 31-year “trade pact” with China which will cripple domestic businesses making them vulnerable to bankruptcy and devastating law suits.
His imperialistic autocratic leadership is simultaneously destroying Canada’s international reputation and prosperity and jeopardizing the security and survival of future generations.
To clarify, there is no intent to imply that our Prime Minister is not deserving of recognition and awards--perhaps the Machiavelli Award, the Rowan and Martin Award, the Nero Award, the Dr. Strangelove Award, the Despot of the Year Award -- but please preserve the integrity of the Nobel Peace Prize by reserving it for individuals who genuinely believe in, promote,work, live and make exceptional sacrifices to achieve genuine and lasting world peace.
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