Tuition strikes: student mobilization underway

Student associations prepare to strike against tuition hikes for the second time in 2023-24 academic year

This graphic is incomplete, check in with your association on current strike status Graphic Panos Michalakopoulos

In the past two weeks, the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) and fellow student associations at Concordia have been mobilizing students to vote, attend general assemblies, spread the word and encourage students to protest the Quebec government’s tuition hikes. 

According to Angelica Antonakopoulos, the academic coordinator at ASFA, this is a crucial time for the student movement to come together in a university-wide strike. 

“[Striking] places a lot of economic stress on the government because the government subsidizes education in Quebec [...]So if you're placing this imminent threat of cancelling a semester, the government will have to re-subsidize the students that got held back while also subsidizing a new cohort of students coming in,” Antonakopoulos said. 

She continued to explain that apart from the government having to re-invest funds, strikes are withholding an entire group of students from graduating and entering the workforce, which would have a significant effect on the economy.

Currently, 14,524 students  are striking from March 11 to 15. In the upcoming days, five associations (Urban Planning Association, Concordia Association Psychology Association, Concordia Religion Student Association, Political Science Student Association, Sustainability and Diversity Student Association) are holding GAs for students to vote on striking. 

However, getting students to mobilize has been a challenge, according to Antonakopoulos.

“Nowadays, especially post-COVID, it's really difficult to convince folks to do anything outside the immediate scope of their academic affairs,” she said. 

Antonakopoulos added that Concordia hasn’t been too open to the idea of students striking. 

“Concordia has done a very elegant job at making any disruption to regular academic life seem like the end of the world, which is why a lot of students are very wary toward striking,” she said. 

However, ASFA is not backing down. According to Antonakopoulos, a demonstration during the striking week is being planned, alongside some of the smaller, independent actions that will be occurring within Concordia, like a picketing workshop on March 6 and March 8 on the seventh floor of the Hall Building. 

This article originally appeared in Volume 44, Issue 11, published March 5, 2024.