Published here for documenting purposes.
March 4th, 2012
Concordia Students Join Province Wide Strike Against Tuition Hikes
Thousands of Concordia University students are joining over 100,000 others on strike across Quebec who are fighting for their right to accessible university education. Concordia is the first Anglophone institution to take a strong stance against the Liberals’ regressive funding plan for post-secondary education.
Students are striking to draw attention to the large tuition hikes the Charest government are scheduled to implement this fall. These hikes will increase individual debt loads and reduce accessibility to higher learning. These changes will also adversely affect groups already facing serious barriers. The Women’s Studies and Sexuality Association adopted motions referring to the hikes as being sexist, racist, ableist and classist, effectively increasing obstacles for many to post-secondary education.
“What I find scary is a shift in the thinking of the government,” says Tom McGurk, president of the Geography Graduate Student’s Association. “A shift that is slowly trying to move education from the realm of rights to one of privilege and ownership.”
Far from being a small minority, the strike movement is spreading quickly throughout departments by way of general assemblies. Students from five departments and one faculty at Concordia have already passed open-ended strike mandates at general assemblies on Wednesday and Thursday last week, five of which will come into effect on March 5th. This represents over 6,500 students, with several other associations set to vote this week. It is particularly important to stress that this movement emerged organically from students that wanted to organize in their own departments.
“The energy, commitment and dedication of each of the hundreds of students participating in strike activities are incredibly inspiring and mind-blowing,” says strike mobilization committee member, Irmak Bahar. “Concordia has sent a strong message that we sincerely care and will fight to protect accessible education.”
Rushdia Mehreen (Free Education Montreal) (Phone number deleted)
Concordia University students from six departments voted to go on strike effective March 5:
- Women’s and Sexuality Studies Association (undergrads) (WSSA)
- Geography Undergraduate Student Society (GUSS)
- School of Community and Public Affairs Student Association (undergrads) (SCPASA)
- Fine Arts Student Association (Faculty of fine arts – undergrads) (FASA)
- Philosophy Student Association (undergrads and grads) (SoPhiA)
- Political Science Student Association (Undergrad) (PSSA)