Concordia and McGill students march against tuition hikes

Administration sends mass email as demonstration approaches campus

Last Thursday, around 100 students marched from Concordia to Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) to protest impending tuition hikes.

Protestors stopped at McGill and Cégep du Vieux Montréal to gather more students. The march was organized by members of the Concordia and McGill Mob Squads.

When the march reached McGill, protestors chanted outside of McLennan library, marched through the Shatner building during the Public Service Career Fair, and outside of the James Administration building. A banner was dropped from the top of the Arts building reading, “même menace, même lutte.”

Escorted by police, the march ended at UQAM, where another banner was hung.

McGill students were notified of the march by an email sent by Associate VP (University Services) Jim Nicell. The email described the march as “peaceful” and promised that “more information will be sent to you when available or as needed.”

Nicell was not available for comment on why the administration deemed the email necessary, less than a week after VP (Administration and Finance) Michael Di Grappa sent an email to all staff and students warning of a demonstration that never took place.

Largely organized by Concordia students, the demonstration is part of the lead-up to a province-wide demonstration against tuition hikes on March 22.

Last month, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) called for a strike vote on March 7.

After CSU called for the vote, Concordia Provost David Graham sent an email to students clarifying the administration’s position on the call for a strike vote.

“Regardless of the outcome of the March 7 vote, Concordia intends to continue operating as usual… The university has a responsibility to provide services that are part of its agreement with our students, even if some of those students decide not to attend class as a form of protest,” the email read.

The CSU isn’t worried about the administration’s response. “There was no backlash against this letter. It was a predictable move. We see it as a positive thing because they are afraid and are trying to pre-empt and prevent [the strike] with fear-mongering,” said CSU VP External Chad Walcott.

Concordia administration did not show a strong response to Thursday’s march, according to Walcott. “We were only notified that banners had been dropped and that we could come and pick them up,” he added.