Geography students pass vote to strike

GUSS holds general assembly to debate striking, Palestine and new Quebec battery plant

Photo Alice Martin

On Feb. 22, during a Geography Undergraduate Student Society (GUSS) general assembly, more than two dozen students voted to go on strike from March 11 to March 15.

The vote ensures that over 389 students will be joining the other associations that are currently on strike. 

As of the time of publication, GUSS, the Liberal Arts Society, the School of Community and Public Affairs Student Association, the Sociology and Anthropology Student Association and the Fine Arts Student Association have voted to go on strike. That brings the number of students who are striking to 5,811. Nine other associations will be voting in the upcoming week. 

GUSS’ motion to strike was passed, with the clause that the association will be joining the strike, if 10,000 students will be striking collectively. In addition, another clause in the motion stated that GUSS will only be picketing labs during scheduled class and tutorial times and that GUSS will do everything in its power to stop classes from going online. 

The strike would be a direct 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. 

During discussion time, GUSS members assured students that to put pressure on the government, students should keep striking. When asked if there is a risk of the semester being cancelled due to strikes, executives elaborated that the risk of losing the semester is very slim. 

Apart from the striking motion, GUSS had two more points on the agenda, related to their position book, which keeps track of all political positions adopted by GUSS. 

Two new points were added to the position book related to Palestine and the environment.

A motion was brought forward for GUSS to put pressure on its next financial coordinator and on the Arts and Science Federation of Associations to divest from RBC, and for GUSS to make public statements in solidarity with Palestine. In addition, the association should boycott all corporations that invest in the ongoing settler-colonial apartheid project and should build coalitions with other associations to promote Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

Next on the list was a motion for GUSS to stand in firm opposition to the Northvolt lithium-ion battery factory project in McMasterville, Que. as the association stands in opposition to all green-growth projects that “continue the extractivist dynamics between the global North and the global South while value signalling and greenwashing.”

Both motions were passed unanimously.