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UCC selling art and land to cover costs of lawsuit

By Lorianna De Giorgio

May 19, 2005

Upper Canada College plans to sell some of its assets to pay settlement costs of a $62 million dollar class action lawsuit brought by 18 students who sued the school over alleged sexual abuse by former teacher Douglas Brown.

Although the majority of the costs will be covered by insurance, some areas are left for the college to cover itself.

In a March 9 letter to the community, Andrew Pringle, chairman of the UCC board of governors, said the school plans to auction off several works of art from its private collection, adding the sale of the artwork, which had been donated to the school, should fetch up to $2 million.

The school will also allocate at least three percent of its operating budget for these expenses.

Despite the recent tuition fee increase, the college argues that the fees will not be affected by the lawsuit.

Thirdly, UCC plans to sell up to 35 acres of the college’s Norval campus.

The Norval campus, which is located near Highway 7, is situated on 450 acres of land. Pringle said students don’t use the area that is to be sold, and therefore the sale would have no impact on the school.

Brown, who taught at UCC from 1975 to 1993, was sentenced in January to three years in prison after being convicted on nine counts of indecent assault on several male students at the school.

Pringle said UCC plans to raise millions to cover the costs, and assures that the school will not be negatively affected.

“We are sharing the burden among different groups and, most importantly, we have made decisions that will not have a significant negative impact on the experiences of our students.”

There is no word yet on how much UCC has to pay.

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