This guide is in progress and subject to change. We’ve done out best to provide as much information as we can for graduate students so that we can all make informed decisions!
FAQ for HUMA STUDENTS AND FACULTY
Q: Why strike? Is it legal? 3) Historically, have student strikes been effective in Quebec? Elsewhere? What have been negative / positive consequences of students striking?
Q: Where can I find more information on the current student movement and strike? About upcoming events? In English? En français?
A: There are many sources available on the web.
Stop the Hike (English)
Bloquons la hausse (français)
For translated texts from diverse media sources, or to ask to have an article translated, see ROUGE SQUAD, the tactical translation team.
Site web de l’ASSÉ (Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante / CLASSE (Coalition large de l’ASSÉ):
For an up-to-date day-by-day calendar of strike-related events (and more) at Concordia, visit the GEOGRADs web page.
Also, check out the School of Communication Studies website for English coverage of the student movement.
The GSA (Graduate Student Association) of Concordia’s page has its own Q & A about the strike:
Q: What are my risks as a[n] [international] student in participating in the strike?
A: Our understanding for international students is that unless you are in the midst of a visa renewal , the strike and delay of marks should not pose a problem to your student status (i.e., you are registered as a student, and thus fulfilling the terms of your visa). In the case of a visa which expires during the strike, GSA has suggested that you may have valid reason for filing a visa application extension if you cite the student strike as your reason for needing an extension. For now, we recommend you contact the Advocacy Centre with the GSA (Roddy Doucet) if you experience problems.
If you are not an international student, your risks (it seems) are primarily academic – but many professors are accommodating striking students, and the University Administration, in its initial construction of its policy on striking students, encouraged professors to accommodate students. Though the official policy seems to have changed, and pressure tactics are being applied to faculty members as well as striking students, most professors still have an open ear to student protestors.
Q: The recent “Obstruction of classes” missive (March 23) from Concordia University instituted a new policy which seemed designed to force the suspension of picket lines and student protest. What does that mean for me as a picketer?
A: We recommend you contact the GSA’s advocacy centre if you have experienced conflict with Concordia’s increased security policy in light of the GSA strike mandate (see below). The GSA publicly denounced this policy on March 24th, and made a list of persons to contact for more information go here. The means of enforcement of this obstruction notice is a bit cloudy at this point, but it seems that there is tactical administrative pressure on faculty members to “police” their classrooms. However, we might direct you to this document, authored and signed by many Concordia professors, who support your rights as a student protestor, and consider the obstruction notice in violation of the rights and obligations as faculty members.
Secondly, be aware of the Code of Rights and Responsibilities. As a picketer you have the right to use it as well. Security guards do not have the right to physically intervene or touch students, and they must show identification if asked. In the GSA GA of March 19th, it was recommended by GSA executives to report abuses of code on the part of security and those who harass picketers.
Q: Why do I have to show my I.D. at the Concordia library? Is this not public space? Is this the policy at other libraries?
A: Periodically, and generally during exam time, Concordia requires students to show their library cards upon entry. This year it has preceded exam time and coincided with the student strike, and we were told that this is because “non-Concordia students” held a protest action in the library last week. This is a tricky grey area that is not entirely clear, but our understanding is that the library is a “public” only to those who are members of the Concordia University community. That said, apparently I.D. cards are available for purchase for “independent students” for $15. As of right now, we are not sure if other universities have adopted this approach, but it seems counterproductive for a healthy interuniversity library system.
Q: Is there legal aide for striking graduate students?
Again, we will cross this bridge when we come to it, but if you need help now, contact the GSA Advocacy Centre.
According to the GSA site: Our Advocacy manager Roddy Doucet is happy to help you if you run into any problems on or off-campus. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Arrangements have been made in my class with other strikers, but they do not meet the terms of the GSA mandate. (I.e., courses held in off-campus, work being handed in without class time). I do not feel comfortable with these accommodations.
A: While we don’t necessarily have any answers or solutions for this, we can give examples of possible tactics that have worked for those of us in similar situations. Speak individually with your professor and with other students about your position. Ask if an alternate accommodation can be made for you. If you are a HUMA student, Dr. Erin Manning (Program Director) has written a letter of support for striking students (forthcoming), which you can bring with you.
Q: If my professor does not want to negotiate, what recourse do I have?
A: While we hope this is not the case, we suggest that you provide the professor with the letter from Dr. Manning, and reiterate the efficacy of the strike as a tactic, the possibility (and ease) of giving and obtaining an in-progress mark for doctoral students, and your desire and openness to negotiate with them directly rather than through the university administration. Several unions, including the LTA and Part-Time Faculty unions have written declarations in support of striking students. In the off chance that that the professor is not aware of this, you may want to bring this up. GSA has offered to help you file an academic grievance if you feel your marks have been affected.
Q: What does it mean to ask for an IP grade or an IPE grade?
A: TBA. For info, please come to the GSA GA on Tuesday, time TBA.
Q: This strike is causing me stress.
A: Though the strike is certainly a tense experience, the uncomfortable action can be the most effective and most careful one. We understand that students and professors are experiencing strain on their pedagogical relationships as a result of Concordia’s Obstruction of Classes policy. We have hope that relationships between professors and students will trump administrative ideology. Much hope.
If it is “business as usual” at Concordia, with students handing in work in fear of academic repercussions, not only does it violate a democratically elected strike mandate, it jeopardizes the efficacy of the strike, and puts striking students in a situation of precarity. If you are experiencing stress and would like professional assistance, Concordia Health Services is a resource available to you: http://www-health.concordia.ca/.
Q: When are General Assemblies held for GSA?
A: GAs are announced on a week by week basis, but tend to be Monday mornings. You should be receiving an email each week from the GSA letting you know when and where it will be held. If you aren’t sure, ask the GSA.
Q: When are HUMA GA’s?
A: Thursdays at noon, HUMA lounge.
Do you have questions not on this list that need answering? Come to the HUMA GA and the GSA GA!