Give them space.

For students wanting to protest or those simply looking for a place to study or socialize, there aren’t enough places on York University’s campus to do so, says a task force report released yesterday.

“Over the past decade, the student population at York has grown by more than 50 per cent,” notes the report by the 13-member task force examining student living and learning.

“At the same time, the available study and/or social space has proportionately decreased,” and been converted for academic use. “This has resulted in a severe shortage of appropriate informal or study space for students.”

The task force, struck last spring after several incidents on campus — including verbal confrontations between groups of students and protests so noisy that classes were interrupted, leaving some students feeling harassed or intimidated — also recommends the university create a campus dialogue committee to “foster and model the kind of genuine debate” appropriate for a post-secondary school.

The report notes the political conflict in the Middle East was most often mentioned as a source of on-campus animosity.

Patrick Monahan, York’s vice-president of academics who chaired the task force, said he’s “hoping that with these kinds of proactive efforts” it will help the university.