Geography, Women’s Studies to Continue Strike, FASA Votes Against One

The Geography Undergraduate Student Society (GUSS) and the Women’s Studies Student Association (WSSA) voted to continue striking against austerity at their respective general assemblies on Wednesday.

That same evening, the Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA) voted not to continue their strike.

GUSS voted to continue striking from April 3 to 10. The motion passed with 19 in favor, 8 against and 7 abstentions.

Despite continuing their strike, GUSS made it very clear in their motion that they would not be “hard-picketing,” which requires physically blocking classrooms. Numerous amendments were made to specify that they would not block any classes for the rest of the 2014/2015 academic year.

WSSA also voted to continue their strike against austerity. Courses with the code WSBD will be “disrupted.”

The WSSA Mobilization Committee said in a statement that as feminists, they understand austerity disproportionately affects marginalized groups and that mobilization for striking has received a “high level of support.”

Their vote for continued collective action was passed with 24 in favor, 3 against, and 2 abstentions. It will be effective between April 4 and 10.

After a four-hour general assembly and extensive debate, FASA voted against a continued strike.

Discussed at the meeting was FASA’s support for Quebec’s Association pour une solidarite syndicale etudiante (ASSE) in their opposition to austerity.

There was a back-and-forth dialogue concerning FASA student-performers’ exemption from the strike. Many people expressed concern that the movement would disrupt long-planned year-end performances.

Also deliberated at the meeting was FASA’s opposition to tuition hikes and VISA changes for international French students, and their objection to possible disciplinary action taken against nine politically active UQAM students.

Ultimately, the motion to continue to strike was not passed. There were 116 in favor, 125 against and 8 abstentions. Had it gone through, it would have been effective from April 7 to 14.

Irmak Bahar, who chaired the GA, said that it was encouraging so many students came out and stayed for four hours.

“The fact that the strike motion was voted down even shows that general assemblies are not only for people in favor of a strike,” she said.