Correction appended March 12, 2012
The Macdonald Campus Students’ Society (MCSS) has voted to go on strike for the first time in its history.
MCSS held a General Assembly (GA) last Thursday, in which a motion for a one-day strike on March 22 was passed with a roughly two-thirds majority. There are currently over 130,000 Quebec students on an unlimited general strike in opposition to an incremental $1,625 tuition hike, scheduled to begin in September.
The MCSS – which represents 1,698 students – requires a quorum of 10 per cent, which was exceeded by over 100 students.
Alex Pritz, MCSS senator who helped organize the GA, said the large turnout was a result of the tuition hikes.
Pritz said the MCSS hasn’t had a GA reach quorum since 2005.
“It’s like seven years in the making,” he said.
MCSS VP Finance Nicolas Chatel-Launay said the GA was “probably the most respectful General Assembly I’ve ever seen.”
“There was not even one single verbal insult at the microphone; it really went that smoothly. I was surprised, very happily surprised,” he continued.
The final vote to strike was “far from close,” said Chatel-Launay, who explained that there were 140 votes in favour of the strike, and 80 against it.
The motion, moved by a member of the Mac Campus student mobilization committee, originally called for a three-day strike. However, an amendment passed shortening the strike to one day. Chatel-Launay said the amendment passed with a “very, very clear majority.”
Pritz said the major opposition to the strike motion came from students in the CEGEP-level Farming Management Technology program.
“They aren’t actually facing any tuition hikes. They’re not planning on going to school after this because it’s a professional degree,” said Pritz.
Chatel-Launay said MCSS would start planning the strike this week, by arranging buses to take students downtown for the march and asking professors to cancel classes.
Pritz said that some professors have decided to cancel classes on March 22, but that it is going to be “difficult logistically” to implement the strike.
“There’s a pretty good contingent of people that aren’t going to [strike],” he said.
“I think the first priority is just getting teachers, professors, and the administration just to recognize the strike,” he continued.
In the printed version of this article, it incorrectly names MCSS VP Finance Nicolas Chatel-Launay as Chantel-Launay; The Daily regrets the error.