ConU Administration Responds to Fall Reading Week Strike

Student Associations Gear Up to Strike between Oct. 3 and Oct. 7

At least 10 student associations will be striking in October. Graphic Nadine Abdellatif

Ten student associations within the Arts and Science Federation of Associations have voted to strike in early October.

Citing burnout and a lack of mental health resources as a primary reason for the strike, thousands of students will not be attending classes.

These political developments have not gone unnoticed. A plurality of member associations who have voted for a strike received emails from their respective department’s chair.

“Concordia respects the freedom of students to express their views and to peacefully protest. Striking students may not prevent others from entering or leaving our buildings and classrooms,” wrote multiple department chairs to their student associations. The Link obtained multiple copies of nearly identical emails from four separate departments.

Payton Mitchell, ASFA’s communications coordinator, said students should not let the administration deter them from picketing classes. “Concordia can make as many rules as they want; we have a constitutional right to protest. Picketing is a form of protest, as long as students are nonviolent,” she said.

Mitchell, alongside Academic Coordinator Lily Charette, had a meeting with Concordia Dean of Students Andrew Woodall. According to the ASFA executives, the dean kept his language casual and non-confrontational

“A strike is a community bonding activity—it’s inherently political, but it brings a community together.” — Julianna Smith

ASFA Mobilization Coordinator Ashley Torres was let down with the university’s response.

“I’m very disappointed that they haven't tried to actually come up with responses to our demands,” she said. “They haven’t asked themselves ‘what can we do to support students, and why are all these students going on strike?’”

On Sept. 21, the Concordia Student Union passed a motion allowing member associations to get reimbursed for their strike-related expenditures through the union’s Student Space, Accessible Education, and Legal Contingency Fund. CSU External Affairs and Mobilization Coordinator Julianna Smith took the initiative on this motion.

“A strike is a community bonding activity—it's inherently political, but it brings a community together,” Smith told The Link. “The administration is obviously shaking in their boots.”

Students in the science college, sociology, anthropology, teaching English as a second language, political science and English departments will also be voting on the strike in the coming days.

This article originally appeared in Volume 43, Issue 3, published September 27, 2022.