Students prepare to strike

Undergraduate geography students hold banner-making workshop to promote strikes across Concordia

Students painting banners to support strike Photo Maria Cholakova

A dozen students gathered at the Concordia Student Union’s (CSU) lounge to paint a banner in preparation for student-led strikes from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 against Quebec’s recent tuition hikes for out-of-province and international students. 

Studio arts student Danielle Ge volunteered at the event, which started at 11 a.m. While painting a banner, she said she was always ready to support other students in need. 

“It's nice to see that a lot of people care, especially [when] they're not directly affected necessarily by the tuition hike, " said Ge. “It's just [a] system of support and also the anger behind it is I think it's very stabilizing as a student.” 

The banner and sign-making event was collaboratively organized by the Geography Undergraduate Student Society (GUSS), the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) and the Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA). 

GUSS was one of the first unions that voted to go on strike on Nov. 17, 2023. Since then, the School of Community and Public Affairs Student Association, Urban Planning Association, Science College Student Association, Concordia Undergraduate Biochemistry,Chemistry and Physics Society, Women’s Studies and Sexuality Studies Students, FASA, and CASE Concordia have voted to go on strike from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2. 

Additionally, four more unions (Concordia University Economics Student Society, Students of History at Concordia, Sociology and Anthropology Student Union and Political Science Student Association) have called general assemblies in their respective unions to vote on a strike. 

Strikes across Concordia are a direct response to Coalition Avenir Québec’s tuition hikes, aiming to significantly increase tuition for out-of-province and international students in English universities. However, according to the ASFA academic coordinator Angelica Antonakopoulos, the tuition hikes will affect everyone. 

“Regardless of whether they're being grandfathered, they're graduating within five years, or they are local students, [everyone] will eventually be affected by these hikes [...] the more enrollment we have at a university, the more funds we have,” she explained. 

Students are not the only ones who will be affected, student services are at risk too.  “Services like the People's Potato, Hive Free Breakfast—just the resources that the CSU and ASFA can offer—will be drastically different within the coming years,” she said. 

The banner painting is one of a few campus events organized by student unions. On Jan. 30, ASFA is organizing a picketing workshop and on Jan. 31 and Feb.1, the CSU is organizing a strike teach-in.

This article originally appeared in Volume 44, Issue 9, published January 30, 2024.