Engineering and Computer Science students vote to strike

Over 6,800 engineering and computer science students are striking from March 13 to March 15

Engineering and computer science students vote to strike at general assembly Photo Dorothy Mombrun

On March 4, the Engineering and Computer Science Association (ECA) held a special general meeting (SGM), where around 100 students attended and voted to strike with a 92 per cent majority. 

At the time of publication, the current number of Concordia students on strike is 14,524. The ECA will take part in the strike from March 13 to 15.

The vote is in response to the Coalition Avenir Québec’s tuition increases for out-of-province and international students, which the provincial government originally presented in October 2023. 

Out-of-province students are facing a minimum tuition fee of $12,000, while international students are set to pay a minimum of $20,000. 

Seventy-one per cent of ECA students voted for a hard picket after a motion was proposed to decide how the association will be striking. According to the ECA's resolution, participating in online lectures, asynchronous lectures, holding class in alternative locations, or submitting assignments during the strike period are considered actions that go against the strike and are equivalent to crossing the picket line.

However, internships, co-ops, and lab sections are exempt from the strike in order to fulfill requirements needed for course completion. 

During the SGM, executives and students discussed the potential reasons to strike. 

According to CSU executives, there has been a 20 per cent decrease in admissions into programs within the engineering faculty. This decrease could result in the cancellation of select classes, bigger class sizes, fewer TA contracts and fewer funding opportunities.

Missing course content was one of the main issues brought up during the discussion.  A counter-argument was posed, noting that the result of tuition hikes would be much more detrimental to their future and education at Concordia. However, students were assured that they would be supported by the ECA if they were to face any repercussions for the missing course material. 

According to Julianna Smith, who was Chair at the SGM, current hikes might have a lasting effect on Concordia. She explained that, due to Concordia's accumulated debt of $362 million, the university might face a shutdown in the far future. 

Smith explained this possibility could be detrimental to individuals who have or will receive Concordia degrees.

ECA intends to escalate their striking methods if the current three-day strike is a success. 

This article originally appeared in Volume 44, Issue 11, published March 5, 2024.