Thursday, December 3, 2009

But...I'm a York Student!

Over the past few months, there had been much anticipation about the relocation of the Archives of Ontario to York University's Keele Campus. This was supposed to open our eyes to different aspects of Canadian history by providing us with easy access to historical documents, photos and maps.
Since the opening of the building, I had walked by it a handful of times, but had never thought to go inside. I felt hesitant because, in my eyes, this building was bigger than me, too good for me. There was no place for me inside those doors, I was not welcome. I knew that a few of my friends went over to study there from time to time and a couple of days ago I decided to join them, albeit very anxiously.
The study area, which consisted of a few tables, about 4 chairs at each table and few couches on the side, was ideal. It was quiet and there was a kitchen area in case you wanted to heat up food in the microwave or even use the refrigerator. The setting was very informal and this made studying a lot easier and more relaxed.
After about 3 hours of studying, a woman who worked there approached us. She passed through us all, mind you we were all, except for one, visible minorities, to the only person in our group that was the closest to Caucasian; she had blonde hair. She told us that the area we were in was a secure area and that students were not allowed there. This came as news to us because we had walked in with no trouble at all, without being stopped by anyone and had not been asked to leave in the last 3 hours we had been there. She also told us that we were not allowed to bring food there, although there was a kitchen in plain view. This was odd to me because why would it matter whether we were allowed to bring food if we were not allowed to be there in first place.
I've been a tuition-paying student at York for about 4 years now. There is no doubt in my mind that our money had gone into the construction of the Archives of Ontario and the York Research Tower. So why then are we not allowed to access these buildings?

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