First Tribunal for Student-Protesters Set for Dec. 2

One Charged Student Finds the Date “Really Problematic”

Graham Dodds is one of three Concordia professors who formally charged student-protesters for disrupting classes last semester. Photo Alex Bailey
Some student associations voted to strike and picket classes at Concordia last spring, which led to formal charges by three professors. Photo Shaun Michaud
Concordia University became co-complainants alongside the three professors in regard to the charges against 25 student-protesters.  Photo Shaun Michaud

Despite resumed mediation, the first tribunal hearing for student-protesters involved in last semester’s strikes has been set for Dec. 2, according to Concordia University spokesperson Chris Mota.

University President Alan Shepard confirmed last week that new mediators had been hired to seek informal resolution to formal charges three professors filed after last semester’s strikes in protest to provincial austerity measures. 25 students are currently facing charges.

The university became co-complainants alongside the professors during the summer break, but haven’t participated in mediation beyond hiring the mediators.

The first group of students have been offered individual mediation sessions with Richard McConomy and Pierrette Sevigny of Richard McConomy Conflicts Resolution Centre, Mota wrote in an email.

Shepard says both mediators are “very experienced.” McConomy has been a mediator since 1986, while Sevigny is a retired judge of the Quebec Superior Court.

Mediation is a better model than a tribunal, Shepard believes.

“I’m hoping the two sides can talk and come to a mutually agreeable solution,” he said. “That’s what you hope for in mediation.”

The hearing date was set because it was unclear how many students would agree to mediation and what the outcomes would be, Mota said. Some students have chosen the option, while some haven’t, she added.

If informal resolution is reached between the complainant and respondent, then the individual charge will be dropped, Mota continued. Aloyse Muller, President of the Liberal Arts Society, is one of the charged students who agreed to mediation before his hearing in early December.

Because he signed a confidentiality agreement, Muller couldn’t comment on the specifics of mediation. He said he doesn’t know why the university scheduled the hearings right before the semester’s end, and has asked the tribunal for a postponement.

He received a response that his request was sent to the hearing’s chair. This deadline is difficult for the charged students because they have to mediate, prepare a case for the potential hearing, and study for final exams, he added.

“I think it’s really problematic,” Muller said.