Schedule Announced for eXhibitions on Strike

Come support student artists on strike. Attend critiques, provide feedback, get social.  @ the Belgo Building, Suite 313, 372 Ste. Catherine West

April 19th
12:00 pm Opening Remarks with Coffee & Treats
12:15 pm – 5:30 pm – Critiques
5:30 – 7 pm – Wine & Cheese

April 20th
2 pm – 5:30 pm Critiques
5:30 – 7:00 pm WRAP PARTY!

*** detailed conference schedule here ***

*** facebook event here ***

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Letter of Support from HUMA Program Director

HUMA Program Director Erin Manning

Dr. Erin Manning

Dr. Erin Manning
Director, PhD Program in the Humanities
Associate Professor, Film Studies and Studio Art
Research Chair, Philosophy and Relational Art
Concordia University

Dear HUMA students,

 As director of the PhD in the Humanities I want to publically recognize your hard work and determination to raise important issues around the right to accessible education. I have found your efforts to work collectively and democratically as part of a broader student movement inspiring. Your motivation toward finding ways to keep education accessible and better the conditions for teaching and learning are very important in these times of budgetary constraint. It is understood across the university that the decision to strike was made democratically, and Concordia respects the right to protest.

The Humanities PhD program will make all the necessary accommodations within the constraints of University regulation to support the rights of students to protest. I say this knowing that you are all involved in the kind of high quality work that distinguishes us as a top research program in the country and a hub of international talent from across the globe.

While I cannot speak to individual decisions made in departments where you are currently enrolled in courses, know that from the perspective of the Humanities PhD program no one will be sanctioned for not attending class during the ongoing student protests. The Humanities PhD program supports all its students in their decision to protest. Given the fact that HUMA students have not attended classes since March 12th (when you made the collective decision to strike), I expect most of you will be receiving IPs for the winter term. We will honour these IPs for the duration of the protest. This should not be in confict with recent changes in graduate studies regulations as my understanding is that the new IP regulations will not be implemented for the winter 2012 term even though they are already outlined in detail on the School of Graduate Studies website.

One way or another, please know that I strongly support the extension of HUMA students’ IPs until the ongoing protest is terminated. You stand out within the Concordia community as a cohort of students who have outstanding qualifications—a large percentage of you have FQRSC and SSHRC funding and are regarded as first-rate by the professors with whom you work – and I am proud to be associated with you. I have no concerns as to your capacity to eventually complete classwork and receive high standing for it.

I encourage you to maintain contact with your professors from outside the Humanities program to keep them aware of your situation vis-à-vis the student strike. You are welcome to share this letter with other faculty letting them know that the Humanities PhD program supports you.

In solidarity,

Erin Manning

*** .pdf of letter available here ***

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Call For Art: eXhibitions on strike

The PhD in Humanities conference committee at Concordia University is placing a call for creative work, performance, film, and art from Concordia graduate and undergraduate students on strike, as well as from supportive faculty and staff members, for exhibition in their annual event.  eXhibitions on strike: an alternative art exhibition, workshop, and critique for student activists offers striking students a forum to present their work (either finished or in progress) and to receive feedback from and to dialogue with other artists, students, community members, and interested professors both outside of the grading system and in a non-university setting – the Belgo Gallery (372, Ste-Catherine Street West).  Artists, filmmakers, dramaturgs, playwrights, fellow students, and professors will respond to your work over the course of the two-day event, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions and critique others’ work as well.   It is our belief that art and pedagogy extend beyond the university, and that students who are participating in democratic strike actions (and, in order to do so, are not attending official classes) will benefit from their participation in the artistic community outside the classroom.  Submissions can but do not have to be related to the student movement.

eXhibitions on strike will take place on Thursday, 19 April, 2012 and Friday, 20 April 2012. Once we have a general idea of the number of participants we will make a more detailed schedule.  We will also have food and beverages!  

The eXhibitions conference runs April 13th – April 22th. For the conference schedule for April 13th-14th, go here:

To apply to participate in eXhibitions on strike, please email a brief biographic note indicating your level of studies and program at Concordia, as well as a title and gloss (100 words) of the work you will present, along with its dimensions (if relevant), duration (if applicable), and technical requirements.  Performances will be limited to 15 minutes, and you are free to present excerpts of longer works.  We will do our best to accommodate spatial and technical requirements, but be aware that this is a group show (i.e., limited space, numerous transitions, and many participants.)  Space is limited, so apply soon!  

Please submit your brief description by midnight on Saturday, April 14th to:, or bring it by in person and sign-up to present at the eXhibitions conference keynote events on April 13th and 14th.  

If you would like to volunteer in some way for this event —  to lead a critique for example (!) —  please contact:

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Dispatch: Quebec Students Continue to Strike!

March 22nd Demonstration

Photo Credit: Samuel Kühn

“High tuition is not an economic necessity, as is easy to show, but a debt trap is a good technique of indoctrination and control.  -Professor Noam Chomsky, in a letter to a Concordia Student

 “Tuition fees in Quebec will increase by $325 more every year for the next five years, starting in the Fall semester of 2012 going until 2016-2017. The total tuition bill, including mandatory institutional fees, will go from $2,890 to $4,700 per year.” [1]

 These efforts of the Charest government to privatize university funding in Quebec have sparked widespread protests. Over 300,000 students are now on strike, demonstrating daily, occupying colleges, universities and civic spaces throughout Quebec. The students are joined in legion by university faculty, student groups, labor unions, social movements, community groups and citizens across the province and throughout Canada.

 The students on strike are at the forefront of an important struggle over public education and its role in Quebec society. Issues of economic class disproportionately affect other marginalized communities that face social and economic disadvantages. Tuition hikes will further marginalize those with fewer resources by creating a class-privileged and more homogenous student body.

 While tuition fees for university education have increased across Canada, the quality of education has decreased. A disproportionate share of the new income generated by increased tuition fees has been used not to maintain quality within the university, but to expand its central bureaucracy.[2] The students on strike refuse to absorb the skyrocketing costs of propping up an inefficient administration.

 The students not only take issue with proposed tuition hikes, but also the shift towards the privatization of post-secondary education more broadly. Private funding from banks and corporations comes with stipulations and is often designated only for programs that will produce workers for their own corporate interests. Students are not simply consumers and education is not merely a service.

 The students on strike reject the right-wing measures of the Charest government. The students on strike will defeat the Charest government and their proposed tuition hikes. They will defeat the Charest government upon the grounds of each college and university in Quebec. They will defeat them in the public sphere through unlimited strike and a rigorously organized display of constant demonstrations throughout the province. There have been daily marches and disruptions since over 200,000 people turned out in the streets of downtown Montreal on March 22nd to show their solidarity to the students.[3]

 The students on strike are in solidarity with the wider Occupy movements, in recognition of the struggle against corporate interests and big banks, against a police state, against apathy, against the gradual diminishing of citizen engagement in the public sphere. They are against life-long debt as a method of indoctrination and control. [4]

We call on you to join us.

Quebec Students on Strike!

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Spontaneous Public Security!

A note from the Spontaneous Public Security Unit:

Actually, all private security have to show their license. It’s the law……

And the private contractors who were hired, violated this law.

We’re not just being jerks. The use of private security on campus during the student protests is emblematic of larger issues of privatization, neoliberalism and corporate violence. If protestors are being confronted by anonymous, private agents with no accountability to the public- standing up for our rights will become a very dangerous activity.

And the company that’s making a killing off of these guys (who are probably underpaid and have little job security) through contracts with Concordia:

From the company mandate:

“Integrity: Integrity is essential to establish a trustworthy relation with customers. Maxi Agency puts all its trust in its agents and thus requires the respect of the strictest code of ethics. This way we make sure that our services and our methods are better quality. Honesty, respect and communication of important information are key elements of this fundamental value.”

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Position Statement from the PhD in Humanities Program

This position statement is issued by and on behalf of the PhD in Humanities students (HUMA) within the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture (CISSC) at Concordia University who support the student strike.

In solidarity with the Quebec-based student movement opposed to impending tuition increases, we will not be attending classes for the duration of this open-ended strike.

We will be meeting weekly at noon on Thursdays in the HUMA Student Lounge to assess the strike situation. We encourage students to creatively engage in strike activities as they see fit. We encourage both supporters and dissenters to attend their respective association meetings and voice their concerns through open dialog.

As graduate students, we are also researchers and research assistants, professors and teaching assistants. As teachers, we are probationary faculty or have limited-term teaching appointments. As graduate students in the Humanities program, we also have a unique perspective of the issues that cross disciplines and faculties. Given the broad scope of our understanding of the issues we would like to raise the following brief points:

•    Issues of economic class disproportionately affect other marginalized communities that face social and economic disadvantages. Tuition hikes will further marginalize those of us with fewer resources (women, queer and transgender people, people of color, immigrants, aboriginals, people with disabilities, etc) by creating a class privileged and more homogenous student body.

•    Federally, our government seems to have endless capital for massive prison expansion projects and F-35 fighter jets, but not for post-secondary education. Although we are happy to hear Quebec has refused to pay for the costs associated with the Conservative’s omnibus crime bill (C-10), we are calling for a rejection of ill-conceived and costly government programs, and for the reinvestment in post-secondary education at both the provincial and federal levels.

•    We not only take issue with proposed tuition hikes, but also the shift towards the privatization of post-secondary education more broadly. Concrete indicators of this shift, like the government of Quebec’s recently released university funding plan that calls for vast increases in private investment, must be challenged if we are to preserve what’s left of our public institutions and the atmosphere of academic freedom we all value.

•    We are concerned about how the over-emphasis on private funding will result in the de-emphasizing of the Arts and Humanities.  Private funding from banks and corporations comes with stipulations and is often designated only for programs that will produce workers for their own corporate interests. This also has implications for spatial politics on campus where certain departments will be working with more infrastructure, physical space, and resources than others.

•    As students we are not simply consumers and our education is not merely a service. The value of our research and the knowledge we produce extends beyond the usefulness of market values.

•    Lastly, the gross mismanagement of university funds at Concordia (such as the handouts of severance packages to six former senior employees) must be addressed. There is nothing socially responsible about raising tuition while upper-level administrators profit from funds destined for the higher education of societies’ young people. While we agree that Concordia administrators must be held accountable for such gross mismanagement, fining the university is nonsensical; students pay the price for the ineptitude of others. In addition, in this period of austerity, upper-level administrators at Concordia, and at all other Quebec universities, should do their fair share by lowering their excessive pay scales and compensation practices.

By offering these points for reflection it is our goal to broaden the conversation about the current student strike and to offer points of departure for thinking through our society’s fiscal priorities in the current shift towards conservatism.

In solidarity with Engineering and Computer Science Graduate Students, Sociology & Anthropology student union (SASU), Urban Planning Association (UPA), Concordia Geography Graduates (GEOGRADS), Fine Arts Student Association (FASA), Geography Undergraduates Student Society (GUSS), Philosophy Students Association – Concordia (SOPHIA), School of Community and Public Affairs Students Association – Concordia (SCPASA), Communications Studies Graduate Students (CSGS), Women’s Studies Student Association – Concordia (WSSA), the Concordia Student Union (CSU), the Graduate Student Association (GSA), and all other departments and universities across Quebec who have since voted in support of the student strike.

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