Student cash to fund legal fees for staff

Regnier was arrested at a Tamil protest in Toronto


Student cash to fund legal fees for staffIf 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).

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 She was released on bail and after appearing in court three times, the charges were withdrawn.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. “I expect my student union to work in my interest,” says Maria Robson, a fourth-year student . . .

    Who said the revolutionary spirit is dead?

  2. Normal for a socialist organization. Get someone else pay for your stupidity.

  3. Service to humanity is the best work of life.

  4. Who said Jesus born and never born again. It is people like her who we see as god that came to help unprivileged people of this universe.

  5. Participating in a demonstration is a right of an individual, It is right for the union to pay her legal fee.

  6. Hey thats me holding the flag! :D Tamil Eelam Representing!

    • Thank you for support the Tamil's rights to self govern. Let's to work together to stop the genocide in Sri Lanka.

  7. Schools should never get involved in the political actions of a staff member.

    Students Unions are meant to support causes that 99% of the student body agrees with, like not to drink and drive, or Frosh Week.

    When I think back to the Tamil Protests in Toronto, I recall the illegal actions taken by the protesters, such as walking on the highway. In a country where there are so many ways to legally and safely express your opinion, it's a shame that instances such as that, as well as this UofT staff member, undermine the real cause.
    Perhaps if this person had protested in an acceptable, legal way, she wouldn't have these court costs to deal with.

  8. LTTE is a terrorist organization. Its financial and moral support is the aiding and abetting of terrorism, as well as indirect participation in it. LTTE has assasinated an Indian Prime Minister, and murdered many civilians and police (both in India and Sri Lanka). Tamil temples in Canada send funds to the LTTE to fund their campaign of terror. Politically correct upper-crusties of Canada keen on the vote don't know jack about the havoc this 'Al-Quaeda or South Asia' has caused: they perfected the suicide bombing technique now used with vicious effectiveness by terrorists globally.

    Throw this stupid cow in jail. Deport immigrant LTTE sympathizers. Keep Canada sane and safe. Stop wasting taxpayer money. Have a spine.

  9. Paying for Regnier's desire to break the law? They should take her right back to court for fleecing the students.

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