Student cash to fund legal fees for staff -

Student cash to fund legal fees for staff

U of T exec was arrested at Toronto Tamil protest


If a university staff member is arrested at a protest, should students be expected to pay for her defence? That question is being hotly debated at the University of Toronto, where students are being asked to contribute to a legal defence fund for Angela Regnier, the executive director of the U of T Students’ Union (UTSU).

Joey Coleman: Should students pay the legal fees of Tamil protester?

Regnier was arrested while participating in a Tamil demonstration in Toronto in May. She was released on bail and after appearing in court three times, the charges were withdrawn. Now she’s trying to cover her legal bills, and UTSU president Sandy Hudson has been appealing to local student unions for donations. Hudson says the money will “support the constitutional rights of individuals to demonstrate peacefully and participate in civil disobedience.”

In an email to the U of T student newspaper the Varsity, Hudson wrote that the union should support Regnier because “anyone can be randomly targeted and arrested at any demonstration.” Several student unions and other organizations have made funds available, and the U of T Mississauga Students’ Union is expected to donate $1,000.

However, the assumption that all students support Regnier’s actions has angered some, especially since she is a paid student union staff member. “I expect my student union to work in my interest,” says Maria Robson, a fourth-year student, noting that the money originally came from student membership fees. “I’m greatly disappointed when it uses students’ money for advocacy or other purposes that don’t benefit us.” Robson adds that student money is not for “legal battles that have nothing to do with us.”

But Regnier counters that it is common for labour and union movements to establish legal defence funds. This fall, for example, the University of Guelph Central Student Association expects to set up a fund for activists pursuing indigenous land rights in Caledonia, Ont. There is a “shared concern for our constitutional right to demonstrate and the right to a fair defence,” she says.


Student cash to fund legal fees for staff

  1. First off, Regnier is not a university staff member. She is simply a staff member of the University of Toronto Students’ Union. People really need to stop making her to be any more important than she actually is.

    Secondly, it is in the interests of these radical student union executives to support Regnier. They are constantly performing illegal protesting acts – case in point, the Simcoe Hall incident where 14 people were charged. All execs on a student union are simply students. Unless they’re bloody rich, no one could or would want to cough up the legal fees. So where would they go? Sucker the rest of the student body into paying for them of course.

    Third, Regnier was acting on her own behalf. The union did not send her to the protest nor was she representing the members of the union at the protest. She committed illegal actions on her own accord. The union, and in extension the student body, should not be held responsible for her stupidity. This is no matter how great or how responsible a cause is. Illegal is illegal.

  2. A press release from UTSU states the following:

    “The legal defense fund has raised approximately $3,000 which will support legal costs for both Regnier and Luscombe. The Tamil Solidarity Legal Defense Committee, which has overseen the funds, will allocate any remaining funds to aid Tamils who remain in Sri Lankan concentration camps.”

    So let me get this straight – is UTSU actually sending student money to Sri Lanka to aid arrested members of a terrorist organization, the Tamil Tigers?

  3. I’m not clear about this, Was this University of Toronto Student Union (UTSU) staff member was sent by the consent of the UTSU to represent the UTSU in the so called protest on behalf of the LTTE, a banned terrorist organization in Canada? If yes, then check whether they have taken the consent of the UofT students to do that? Unless they should have been charged for aiding a terrorist group.

    If she had participated for this so called protests on her regards, when why the student’s money to be wasted for covering her leagal bills. This is outrageous…

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