By DEBBIE LEVY
Classes emptied April 10, as 150 students held a walkout to protest the closing of Centennial College’s East York campus.
After a rally in the gymnasium, the students, many carrying signs, marched out the Carlaw Avenue doors and circled the block. They ended their demonstration on the steps of the Annex building on Pape Avenue, where they raised a flag bearing the” inscription, “Students against East York closing.”
“We’re protesting the closing of the campus and the way it was handled,” said student spokesman Terrance Dineen. The campus will be closed in June for major renovations on the Carlaw Avenue building.
The college is awaiting a decision from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities that would allow the sale of half the site (three acres) to finance a new communication arts centre in the Carlaw building.
Students said they heard about the closing from teachers and from media reports before being officially told by the college. Dineen said that even when college officials met with studnets, they didn’t give them many details about the plans.
College President Bev McCauley said in an interview that he wasn’t able to give students more information at that time because the ministry had asked Centennial to “keep closed-mouthed” about the proposed land sale.
The students were also protesting the rental of the campus for filming of the Degrassi High television show from May until December 1989. Meanwhile, Centennial business students are being transferred to the college’s Progress campus in Scarborough.
McCauley said he didn’t want students transferring in the middle of a school year and the Degrassi deal has nothing to do with that decision.
“If the building is just sitting there and they (Degrassi) are going to pay their way,” he said, “Why not do it?”
As a result of the students’ concerns raised before the protest, Centennial’s board of governors has instructed college management to set up a committee to deal with the problems that the transfer will cause.