Strikers Occupy Concordia Administration Building
Students Denounce Austerity, Admin Salaries and “Corporate Interests” at Concordia
Protesters blockaded Concordia’s Guy-Metro Building and occupied the eighth floor where President Alan Shepard’s office is located earlier this afternoon.
Concordia’s Health Services office and the Financial Aid and Awards Office, both located on the second floor, were closed as a response to the demo, according to university spokesperson Chris Mota.
She added that some employees felt “uncomfortable” with people blocking entrances. “In high traffic areas where there are a lot of students, it was deemed wiser to close,” she said.
Approximately 30 protesters had a “sit-in” outside of Shepard’s office, where they hung banners, played music and held a special general assembly to discuss whether to stay or leave to join an UQAM demonstration. They voted to leave and reorganize downstairs.
According to a press release, the purpose of the demonstration was to protest austerity measures, denounce the high salaries of the universities administration and the “corporate interests” of its Board of Governors, and show solidarity with the UQAM students who were expelled.
“We want to make it clear that closing health services was not our intention today,” said a designated speaker from the group. “Our intention today was to talk to Alan Shepard about speaking out with what is happening.”
Members from the Students of Philosophy Association, Liberal Arts students, graduate programs and the Women’s Studies Student Association, who are currently on strike, were present at the impromptu meeting.
Andrew Woodall, the Dean of Students, watched over proceedings and talked to the demonstrators. One security guard was seen on the eighth floor, while another monitored the blockade downstairs.
An advanced request to meet with Shepard was not placed, according to Mota. She said that by the time the president received word that students wanted to have a dialogue, they had already left the premises.
“If the students want to speak with Dr. Shepard, they should make a request,” she said. “That’s the only way I get to see him.”
Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal officers entered the Engineering and Visual Arts Building later in the day. Concordia admin told them the occupation had ended, and they left shortly after, according to Mota.