Gill vs. Graham

Concordia Provost and CSU President Butt Heads Over Strike

Provost David Graham assured that during the proposed strike the school would continue to operate as usual. Photo Erin Sparks

A proposed strike against tuition hikes by the Concordia Student Union is being met with unbending resilience from the Concordia administration.

In a letter to faculty addressing the possibility of a student strike, Provost David Graham said that the university will “continue operating as usual” and that professors should “conduct and manage their courses in accordance with previously communicated in course outlines and other class materials.”

It is important that students be aware of the potential consequences of missing classes and other instructional activities,” Graham wrote.

But CSU President Lex Gill is unimpressed by the university’s response.

“While nothing Dr. Graham said in that letter is straightforwardly false, it’s fear mongering and it’s a worst case scenario situation,” Gill told the Link. “[It] does nothing to talk about the actual reality of what would happen if Concordia were on strike.”

Gill said it was “an extreme position to take, especially without any sort of consultation [with students].”

“[Especially after] we had put out our hand and said, ‘please come, let’s meet and talk about this,’” she said.

In response, Graham said that the intention of the letter was to inform faculty and staff so that they would be able to answer any questions posed by students.

“Obviously Lex is entitled to her opinion,” said Graham. “It was certainly not intended as fear mongering. In my view it was not fear mongering at all. It was really intended to provide factual information to faculty members. It was not directed to students.”

Unlike Concordia, the Université de Québec a Montréal has devised an alternate exam schedule to accommodate students in the event of a strike.

The CSU has openly responded to the Provost’s letter, on their website, saying:

“Dr. Graham has addressed contingencies that have nothing to do with a student strike. […] If the Provost had consulted student representatives prior to sending his message, it could have contained more relevant information.”

The letter went on to invite students to an information session which will cover the Charest government’s last budget and student strikes. The information session will be held on Wednesday, February 8, at 4pm in room H-110 of the Hall Building.