Students Occupy Atrium of Webster Library

Activists Step Up Campaign Against Hikes

Photo courtesy of Concordia Student Union

Students have set up camp in the atrium of the Webster library for the week of Feb. 27 to rally the troops in the lead up to a potential strike at the end of March.

“It was arduous,” said CSU counsellor Kyle McLoughlin of his sleep-over experience. “The building is well-insulated, which is nice, but the floors are hard.”

Any students who managed to fall asleep were abruptly awoken at 4:00 a.m., said McLoughlin, when janitors went to work with their “Zamboni-like” floor-cleaners. “They’re quite loud, which is unfortunate, but we should have anticipated that,” he said.

McLoughlin was one of 25 students who spent the night in the library after attending workshops throughout the day. Throughout the week students can attend workshops and information sessions on the current and impending strike votes.

The library sleep-in is just one of the ways that anti-tuition hike activists are stepping up their game in the lead up to what is certain to be a tumultuous month for both the students and the government.

There are over 70,000 students on strike or with strike mandates for later in the month and thousands more students are scheduled to vote.

The next week will see Concordia students at the polls in their department associations deciding if they want to strike.

The entire undergraduate student body will then vote on March 7 on whether to strike from March 26–29.

“Students are engaging with the issues,” said CSU president Lex Gill. “And they’re realizing that the proposal is only for a one-week strike.”

“For a broader goal of blocking this tuition increase, one week of your life is not a colossal sacrifice,” she said. “The impact that it would have if Concordia votes [in favour of the strike] on March 7, it would be tremendous.”

Concordia faculty members are also coming around to the idea of a strike, says Graduate Student Association senator Holly Nazar, who has been meeting with faculty to explain the anti-tuition hike message.

“Once I explain that this is really important and why the tuition hike will not actually improve university funding, they see the connection between their own working conditions and ours,” she said.