Grassroot General Assemblies

Departments and Faculties to Meet on Strike Mandate

  • Graphic by Julia Wolfe

Throughout the week, general assemblies and meetings of nearly a dozen student associations will be taking place to discuss strike mandates against tuition increases.

While the Concordia Student Union will discuss and vote on a one-week strike at a General Meeting on March 7, the smaller assemblies are also gathering to discuss their stand and come to internal decisions about student action moving forward.

And while the CSU and the Mob Squad have been engaged at the departmental level in many cases—such as with the Political Science Students’ Association—some of the momentum behind the GAs come from concerned students or the departments themselves, though the motivations differ from one group to another.

The Women’s Studies Student Association, for example, took their cues from the Simone de Beauvoir Institute—which took an official position on the tuition increases earlier this month.

“As an institute, we’ve framed our position on the very significant impact this tuition increase will have on women and their children. That was an important place for us to start,” said WSSA External Executive Gabrielle Bouchard, who is helping to organize the GA that will see women’s studies students vote on an open-ended strike Feb. 29.

“Research shows this increase will affect women’s access to education, so it’s hugely important, as women’s studies students, to bring that point to the debate. […] Spearheading the movement at Concordia is something we’re also super stoked about.”

In the case of the Fine Arts Student Alliance, the call for a Special General Meeting—taking place in the CSU large lounge on the 7th floor of the Hall Building on March 1—came from a collective of independent students concerned about the hikes.

“It was a loose collective of people, but it’s grown,” said FASA President Paisley Sim. “[FASA] council voted to officially endorse the momentum behind them [and] recognizes this effort. It’s important to have people who aren’t involved in the executive or on council exercise their rights to talk about this stuff.”

For philosophy students, their executive is less than an arm’s length from the organization of their GM, also taking place on March 1.

“Our main motivation [to organize] is that, since we’re in a shared department are close to each other and know each other more than the CSU knows us, it’s a lot easier to talk about the issues on the same level,” said Students of Philosophy Association President Peter Grubesic, who is collaborating with SoPhiA VP External Geneviève Dick.

“We can talk to philosophy students about the philosophical issues that surround these hikes.”

And while the student departments are organizing their GAs, a petition called The Concordia Declaration is making its rounds on the Internet, garnering signatures from the university’s faculty, research and teaching assistants, associates and other academics. As of press time, it had nearly 160 signatures.

“A strike in an English university is not part of our history,” said Bouchard. “To have different departments and voices taking a position prior to the March 7 vote and to create a momentum and take a strong position can make a huge difference.”

The Concordia Declaration can be found at concordiadeclaration.wordpress.com. The CSU’s General Assembly for the entire undergraduate student body to make a decision on a one-week strike at the end of March takes place March 7 in H-110, the Hive and the 7th floor of the Hall Building at 3:00 p.m.

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