International students with no place to stay were forced to put up tents for shelter last night despite promises from a Canadore official that accommodations would be found.
The students were also stopped from pitching their tents on college property.
“No one needs to stay in a tent, and I promise that,” said Canadore Infrastructure and Public Safety Senior Director Michael Miscio.
“We are not letting students stay in a tent. We have accommodations.”
Despite that, the students were forced to relocate to an asphalt parking area across from the college, Close to 20 students slept in tents just off the Canadore Commerce Court property at the bus stop. College management called in security guards and the police according to spokesman Manpreet Kaur who accused Canadore of "bullying."
International student spokesman Khushpreet Singh told BayToday that, "Canadore wouldn't let them pitch tents on college property and they had to put tents in front of the college gate. The college department stopped them from putting outdoor tents on college property, but students didn’t stop so they put tents beside the road."
Jaskirat Singh - from Punjab, India, says they plan to stay in the tent as long as they have to.
'They told us they have accommodation for us for two days, but when we asked about the third day,' they had no answer,'" he told BayToday.
"The price of the accommodations is really high and we receive $670 each month from the Scotiabank portal to our account and all of our money will go to landlords where we get any accommodation because we need to pay our bills as well as groceries."
Singh says he chose Canadore College for his Project Management course because he felt the school had a good reputation.
"When I get here I find out it is not really good."
Singh blames the college solely for this dilemma. He says if he knew that, he would not have come here.
"They knew the ratio of accommodations."
Chinmaya Singla, also from Punjab, stayed overnight on an asphalt floor in a tent.
"Yesterday we spent the night here, and intermittently the rain started. Only we know how we managed to sleep here on the road on this hard bed. No mattresses are available here."
Singla says many are still staying in hotels and he wonders how many can pay $100 to $150 per day in a hotel.
He estimates between 50 to 100 students are displaced.
Singla says some of the in-person classes should also be offered online due to the housing shortage.
"If they cannot do this we should get a 100 per cent refund of our fees that we have paid them. I think our demands are really genuine.
"Why are we here if we don't have a roof over our heads."
The Canadore website includes a section for international students stating, "Students come to Canadore from as far away as Brazil, China, India, Malaysia, Peru and Nigeria. The International Office provides support to all international students including orientation to the local community, guidance on health insurance coverage and immigration-related matters through a dedicated team of International Student Advisors.
"We offer students from around the world the unique opportunity to experience a culture that is truly Canadian."
The Canadore web page contains a link for student housing assistance.
BayToday reached out to Canadore President George Burton for comment on the treatment of the students, and also to ask why the college continued to accept foreign applications knowing there was a housing crisis, but got no response.
Instead, the college issued an unattributed statement saying that every year, many domestic and international students face challenges finding housing.
"Canadore College has been communicating with students since January about the realities of the local housing market, including the cost of rental accommodation," says the statement, which goes on to blame some students for refusing "the housing options presented to them."
"We still have emergency accommodation available, and we will have every student in permanent housing as soon as possible."
A second request for an interview regarding the statement drew no response from the College.