Occupy Dawson

Student Strike Recognized by Admin

Photo Gabriel Fizer

After less than four hours of occupying the Academic Dean’s office, students of Dawson College got the school to officially recognize the Nov. 10 province-wide student strike day.

“Students are very excited,” said Dawson Student Union chairperson, Audrey DeVeault. “Whether they’ve signed [the strike petition] or not, [they] are asking how they can help in any way.”

She said 150 students have signed on to strike.

DeVeault was one of the four students who attempted to set up a tent in the Dean’s office to demand academic amnesty for students involved in the demonstration.

DeVeault said that the Dean, Robert Kavanagh, tried to take away the tent and one student’s bag, but Donald Walker, Dean of Program Services and International Development, said “the whole thing was pretty friendly.”

After a few hours of occupation, Director of Student Services Ray Boucher and DeVeault drafted a new strike protocol.

The new document states that the DSU will provide access to the facility for all essential staff, including Information Technology Employees, maintenance staff and outside contracted employees, who will be docked a day’s pay if absent.

Students and faculty who do not want to cross picket lines, however, are not obligated by the school to attend class.

“The notion of academic amnesty is not necessarily one that the college recognizes,” said Boucher. “I would say a compromise has been reached.”

Léo Fugazza, DSU Director of Internal Affairs & Advocacy, expressed a similar sentiment. “It’s a victory,” he said. “It’s a bit of a backdoor victory, but it’s still a victory.”

The dean will be making his rounds during the morning and if attendance is low enough, classes will be cancelled—in which case students will have to make them up with an extra day at the end of the year.


Dawson College will be joining the protest against tuition fees, and is proud to announce that they will have an attendance of between 150 and 200 students at the protest downtown.

According to DeVeault, that’s an unusually high representation for Dawson.

Deputy Chair Person of the Dawson Students Union, Mira Katz, pegs the student support at a much higher number.

“No students are in classes right now, so I guess all ten thousand, five hundred and something something of them [are participating],” she said.

The DSU successfully convinced their college to allow an academic amnesty for their students for the day of action.

“We signed an agreement with the college saying that all the day classes are cancelled so no one will be penalized. […] It’s basically academic amnesty in another way.” DeVeault said.