The Art History and Communication Studies Graduate Students Association (AHCS GSA) voted at their General Assembly this Tuesday to join the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante’s (ASSÉ) 70,000 members.
The AHCS GSA, which represents 86 graduate students, will be the first student association at McGill to affiliate themselves with ASSÉ, the most progressive of the three major provincial student federations.
All graduate students and post-doctoral fellows at McGill are affiliated with the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ) through the Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS). The AHCS GSA, whose parent student association is PGSS, will also keep their previous affiliation with FEUQ.
“FEUQ is really good at lobbying, but ASSÉ is much better at educating and mobilizing its members,” said PGSS Communications Studies Councillor Gretchen King, who brought the affiliation motion to the GA.
ASSÉ has threatened to boycott the upcoming summit on higher education, where their main proposal – free education – has effectively been taken off the table. It has also planned a demonstration for the last day of the summit in downtown Montreal, and encouraged its members to vote on a one- or two-day strike during the summit.
As of February 10, ASSÉ reported that five student associations, representing a total of 10,000 students, had already voted for a one-day strike during the summit, which will be held on February 25 and 26.
ASSÉ has warned that its members would again protest and go on strike, should the outcome of the summit be a tuition hike or the indexation of tuition to inflation.
Following suit, the AHCS GSA voted to boycott the summit, and will hold an emergency GA next Tuesday to vote on a two-day strike during the summit in order to “actualize” their boycott, King said during the meeting.
At the upcoming GA, the AHCS GSA will also consider the possibility of an unlimited general strike should the outcome of the summit be either a tuition hike or indexation.
Affiliation to ASSÉ will cost the AHCS GSA $3 per member per year, and the student society will have to make amendments to its constitution to make evident that the GA is its highest governing body, something which King says is “already true in practice.”