16 Concordia Student Strikers Receive Letters of Reprimand from Tribunal Panel

The tribunal for 16 student-protesters took place at the Concordia-owned Montefiore building on Guy St on Feb. 9.  Photo Jonathan Caragay-Cook

The decision of the second tribunal involving student-protesters from last spring’s strikes against austerity has been made, and it’s a familiar result.

Sixteen students have received a letter of reprimand—the most lenient of consequences—after an independent tribunal panel unanimously voted to uphold charges of class disruptions filed by Michael Lipson, a political science professor.

“I’m not surprised given the previous result,” said Aloyse Muller, one of the 16 students. He is receiving his second letter of reprimand.

Aloyse Muller, a Concordia student, received a letter of reprimand but he wants to appeal it. File Photo Brandon Johnston

The tribunal was held on Feb. 9. It came after a first and separate tribunal under similar circumstances that took place on Dec. 2.

The decision from that tribunal was also to give eight students, including Muller, letters of reprimand. Muller has already appealed the decision from the first tribunal, and he plans to appeal the second one.

Lucinda Marshall-Kiparissis also received a letter of reprimand from the hearing on Feb. 9, which lasted approximately 10 hours inside the Montefiore building on Guy St. She criticized that this tribunal was nine months in the making and called the letter a “slap on the wrist.”

“If this was an inevitable outcome, what a waste of resources,” Marshall-Kiparissis said.

“If this was an inevitable outcome, what a waste of resources,” — Lucinda Marshall-Kiparissis, a recipient of a letter

Lucinda Marshall-Kiparissis, a Concordia student, received a letter of reprimand. File Photo Nikolas Litzenberger

Lipson, along with two other professors from his department, made formal complaints against a total of 25 students under article 29G of Concordia’s Code of Rights and Responsibility last spring.

Their charges were for class disruptions during the protests which occurred around the beginning of April. Multiple student associations, including political science, voted to strike on certain days through general assemblies of their membership.

Last summer, the university became co-complainants alongside the professors, which they said was to provide security support. The independent tribunal panel for the Feb. 9 hearing found it “surprising to see the university acting as a co-complainant.”

At the tribunal, Lyne Denis, an “investigator-preventionist” from Concordia’s security department, acted as the university’s representative. She submitted an “investigation report” and video footage from micro cameras as evidence.

There were originally 17 students at the hearing, but one person did not admit to disrupting Lipson’s class last April, so his tribunal was postponed and will be rescheduled. The remaining 16 students admitted to being present during Lipson’s class.

Despite public debate, Marshall-Kiparissis said it was important to take a stand against provincial austerity measures to the public sector last spring. She explained that the protests in 2012 demonstrated the effectiveness of striking.

“The amount of students striking last year is a sign to be taken seriously,” she said.

The university’s Code of Rights and Responsibility has been used to discourage students from “acting politically,” according to Marshall-Kiparissis.

“It’s a real shame that this entire process has scared a cohort of students away from striking,” she commented.