CSU to Strike Again

Student Union Amps Up Anti-Tuition Efforts

Last November, students rallied en masse against tuition hikes. Photo Sam Slotnick

Concordia students will be returning to the streets this March as part of a general strike against tuition-fee increases—that is, if all goes according to a new plan released by the Concordia Student Union.

“The reason we’ve chosen to move toward a strike is because, frankly, it’s the strongest tool we have at our disposal,” said Chad Walcott, CSU VP External.

If the students vote yes on the proposed strike, it will take place from Mar. 26 to Mar. 29. Students will then vote again at the end of the strike on whether to continue the fight, or to pack up and prepare for exams.

“The reason that we’ve chosen these dates is because they fall kind of close to exam period, and yes, it’s a scary thing for students for that to happen, but the closer we have it to exam period, the more the university will react, the more they will have to negotiate with us and come to our terms,” he said.

CSU President Lex Gill says she does not take the decision to push for a strike lightly. “You don’t just get up one morning and say, ‘We’re going on strike!’

“It’s part of a long, long process of negotiations, breakdowns in communication, demonstrations, direct action and, when all else fails, you say, ‘Okay, we’ve got to shut down this university to send a message,’” she said.

“Historically, a strike for this amount of time has never happened at Concordia,” said Gill.

“It is really a new experiment on this campus. Physically, no one knows what it will look like, but also no one understands what the consequences will be.

“What we can say is that massive student strikes in previous years have been massive victories.”

On Jan. 16, the CSU started an information campaign to inform students of why they should vote for a strike and all the hazards that go along with doing so.

“It’s really important to us that, moving toward March 7 [the day of the planned vote for the strike], each student is fully aware of what they’re going to be voting on and what impact it will have on them,” said Walcott.

The CSU many events planned in the lead up to the potential strike.

The downtown library will see itself occupied for a one-week “sleep-in for accessible education,” the dates of which are currently “top secret.”

CSU members will also be organizing a ‘fax and phone jam,’ which will see students calling and faxing Canadian Ministers of Parliament en masse in order to “disrupt the normal functioning” of the MPs’ offices.

Jan. 31 is billed as a date for students to reclaim student space; no further details on this day have been released yet.

The biggest action before the planned strike days is sure to be the province-wide demonstration against tuition hikes on Mar. 22, which will likely mirror the Day of Action that took place last semester on Nov. 10.

As well, the CSU is bringing back “Fuck Tuition Tuesdays” at Reggie’s Bar, where students can kick back and play “Pin the Tail on the Administrator” and “Make a Charest Mask.”