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Occupy Edmonton, in conjunction with students, faculty and support
staff, planned a rally around tuition hikes, skyrocketing student debt
and planned budget cuts yesterday at the University of Alberta.
Peaceful protestors were greeted by lines of police blockading the
University threatening arrests if protestors entered the publicly
funded school grounds. The University administration took the drastic
step of threatening students that they would be arrested for
trespassing if they raised their concerns about the inaccessibility of
university education on campus.

Occupy Edmonton contacted the University administration by phone and
email to discuss its plans and concerns. No response from the
university addressing the issues raised by the rally was received,
communicating clearly the University’s lack of interest in these
important matters. “Occupy Edmonton welcomes dialogue with the
University about the issues raised by the rally” Katie Nelson, Occupy
Edmonton member emphasized “We want to work with the University to
support solutions to high tuition and exorbitant student debt.”

“We wanted to come to the  University of Alberta to talk about the
increasing inaccessibility of  post-secondary education for the 99%
and encourage the University to stop the corporate influence over
education. We ask that the University of Alberta recognizes its
responsibility to society to provide a place where dreams and visions
of the future can be birthed, where free thought and dissent are
encouraged not trampled upon,” said Anna McRobbie, a member of Occupy
Edmonton. “By
denying us access to even having a voice and threatening arrests for
protected free speech, the University has proven just how far it has
fallen. Rising tuition and crushing debt levels are fine but average
people hoping to voice concerns are silenced and menaced. This is
supposed to be the University of Alberta; for all Albertans, not just
a select few.”

“The University proved our point for us,” said McRobbie. “We wanted to
raise concerns about the accessibility of the University and about how
the University has changed from being an open institution that
encouraged free thought, encouraged dissenting voices, and celebrated
diversity of opinions to one that increasingly tries silences them.
Well today the University showed just how right we are.”
For more information please contact:
Media Spokesperson: Katie Nelson – 780-782-2724

Permanent link to this article: http://occupyedmonton.org/2012/02/841/

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