McGill announced slight changes to the administration of the semester’s exam period this afternoon in light of on-going disruptions throughout the city linked to Quebec students’ unlimited general strike now in its tenth week.
For the exam period, which begins tomorrow and runs through April 30, the location of the exam room will not be disclosed until the day before the exam. Students will also be required to show their McGill ID to get into buildings and rooms where exams are being held.
Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Morton Mendelson said the administration had been approached by some students “concerned about disruptions to exams similar to disruptions of classes.”
“We just want to make sure that the exams unfold in an appropriate way. We want to make sure that there’s a serene environment,” continued Mendelson.
Students have been on strike across Quebec for over two months in protest of a five-year $1,625 tuition fee increase scheduled to begin in September. Last Thursday morning, riot police broke up a student picket of Concordia’s Hall Building on the first day of their exam period.
Mendelson said the administration is “just taking precautions,” but that they would “be remiss if we weren’t doing the planning.”
“We take this very seriously. It’s our responsibility to provide an appropriate environment for learning and for assessments. It’s a student’s right to expect that, and so we’re just insuring that we’re doing our best to deliver on that,” he continued.
Although students were already required to bring their IDs to exams, Mendelson explained that “every exam period there are some students who forget their IDs, and we want to avoid that because we want to be able to identify McGill students.”
With almost 170,000 students on strike across Quebec, there are five departmental associations still on strike at McGill. The two undergraduate student associations are the Social Work Student Association (SWSA), and the Gender, Sexual Diversity, and Feminist Studies Student Association (GSDFSSA).
The GSDFSSA will be holding a renewal strike general assembly (GA) tomorrow, but since the department only has one scheduled take-home exam, GSDFSSA President and Communications Coordinator Molly Swain said it was unlikely they would picket exams.
“Unless our membership is very strongly wanting us to go and picket other exams I don’t think that that’s necessarily what we’re going to be doing as members of the departmental strike committee,” said Swain.
SWSA, who have been on strike since March 14, will be holding a renewal GA this Wednesday. VP External Echo Parent-Racine said that the association has been voting for soft picketing tactics since their strike began.
“If students are going to be picketing exams that would be more of a hard picket, and that’s not what we have been mandated to do thus far,” said Parent-Racine.
“[Picketing exams] is something that students are concerned about, so I expect it’ll come up at the GA,” she continued.