Concordia Recognizes Students’ Strike, Cancels Classes on Monday

UPDATE: No Undergraduate Fine Arts, Geography, Philosophy, Women’s Studies and Community and Public Affairs Classes Will Be Held

Alan Shepard spoke to Concordia University Part-Time Faculty Association on March 19, 2015. Photo Alex Bailey

Concordia University will cancel classes for one faculty and two departments whose student associations voted to strike on Monday, March 23, according to a press release by Provost and VP Academic Affairs, Benoit-Antoine Bacon.

The Fine Arts Students Alliance, Geography Undergraduate Student Society and Students of Philosophy Association all voted to strike and picket classrooms on that day.

To replace the class time, the university will hold a “day of dialogue and reflection” with the affected students but what that exactly entails has not been disclosed yet.

The safety of students and staff is the first priority, President Alan Shepard said to Concordia University Part-Time Faculty Association’s General Assembly today.

He added that by using the term “strike,” the school is not giving up any legal ground. He continued that he is also upset by the approximately $30 million cuts in funding, and he feels as if administration is “walking a tightrope” with student and government demands.

“I think some students want me on the streets with a megaphone,” Shepard said to members of CUPFA. “That’s not my strategy. I’m playing a long-term game here.”

Shepard and Bacon both answered questions from CUPFA members concerning the strike. The notion of hiring extra security to handle students picketing classrooms came up, which Shepard said will be decided circumstantially.

UPDATE: Courses in Women’s Studies and the School of Community and Public Affairs are also cancelled on Monday after their respective strike votes on Thursday, according to Concordia University spokesperson Chris Mota.

Only classes that begin with WSDB—Women’s Studies Simone de Beauvoir Institute—and SCPA for those two departments are cancelled. Mota says some students in those programs have classes taught outside of those departments as part of their degrees.

Although changes can happen daily, she adds that classes will run as usual for faculties and departments that are striking on future dates, including the Students of Philosophy Association who are striking for a week.

The time for “reflection and dialogue” will be handled individually within the faculty and departments because of their different size and circumstances, and student associations who have strike votes in the upcoming days will be accounted for, Mota continued.