Business Students to Hold Strike GA
‘Politically Neutral’ CASA Seeks Student Opinion
A week after the Concordia Student Union voted in favour of a one-week strike, the Commerce and Administration Students Association is holding their own general assembly to vote on whether to support the strike.
“We called the assembly because our job is to represent students,” said CASA VP Academic Danny Shakibaian. “[John Molson School of Business] students were overwhelmingly dissatisfied with the CSU’s strike vote, so we chose to have a GA on short notice so that they had the opportunity to express their opinions, as a faculty, as democratically as possible.”
The GA will be held at 8:30 p.m. on March 13 in order for approximately 7,500 JMSB undergrad students to discuss the issue. The actual vote will take place on March 14 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. by secret ballot with polling stations in the Molson Building lobby.
“We wanted to be sure that we had a GA and not simply proceed with a vote so that we could at least allow students to amend the motion if they feel it necessary and to walk them through the process,” says Shakibaian.
Despite some reported tensions between the CSU and CASA, CSU VP External Chad Walcott believes that an assembly is better late than never.
“I’m happy to see that they will finally be having a GA,” said Walcott. “I think it would have gone a long way in reducing the high levels of tension had they had had one earlier, so that their students would have felt better represented.”
Until now CASA has maintained a neutral stance on student politics at Concordia and has not engaged in student mobilization on the tuition issue.
“To date, we have been fairly quiet,” said Shakibaian. “The reason for this is that amongst students from JMSB who have expressed their opinions, most of them are against the strike.”
However, some disagree with this definition of neutrality. Walcott believes that though the move to hold a GA is a good thing, CASA’s silence hasn’t necessarily been in their members’ best interest.
“Taking a neutral stance doesn’t mean remaining silent on the issue,” said Walcott. “It’s still a matter of disseminating information and making sure that your membership is aware. Up until now, I can’t say that I’m satisfied with the way they went about it.”
Though the GA will be held and a vote will take place, Shakibaian believes the results are already set.
“Amongst those who have voiced their opinions, the strong consensus is that JMSB students are opposed to the strike,” he said. “I expected the CSU’s vote to pass with flying colours, but I would bet that this one goes the other way.”
Should the vote go as Shakibaian predicts, CASA is advising their members and the Concordia community to respect the outcome of their vote, and not form pickets to buildings or classrooms.
“I’ve already told students to call the Dean’s office and to call security if picket lines block access to buildings or to their classrooms,” said Shakibaian. “We don’t want any physical altercations to take place.”
The John Molson Graduate Student Association will not be holding their own GA on the strike issue.