Margaret Atwood has taken up the charge against U of T’s plan to convert its back-campus field into a field hockey pitch with artificial turf, hinting that the move could lead her to write the university out of her will.
“So, @UofTNews: as a soon-to-be dead alum w. $ to leave, am I annoyed by the anti-green plan? Y!,” read one of Atwood’s tweets.
The esteemed novelist and U of T alumna has used her clout on social media to back a campaign opposed to the plan, which is part of preparations for the Pan American Games in 2015.
Although university officials have maintained the plan will proceed, a petition with nearly 4,000 signatures raises serious aesthetic, environmental and health concerns.
U of T’s vice president, university operations, Scott Mabury, says that while Ms. Atwood has the “perogative” to make her opposition be heard, he hasn’t heard any such warnings from other alumni members, adding, “We all like natural grass better, but the needs of our students lead us to taking advantage of great opportunities like this to make sure the university’s dollar goes as far as possible.”
With construction to begin on July 1st, the opposition has indicated it will continue protesting the move.
“I think the pressure to reverse the decision is coming from all sides: it’s young
and old, it’s humanists and engineers and doctors, it’s alumni and friends of the university, students, faculty, people on the left … and people on the right,” said Suzanne Akbari, an organizer behind the opposition movement and professor of English and medieval studies at the university.
With files from the Globe and Mail