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Letters to the editor

by (letters to the editor) February 7, 2012

RE: ‘Pour some Sugar on me,’ volume 29, issue 16

I was reading your article on comic Sugar Sammy and was surprised to learn that Montreal’s language conflict was “[…] largely instigated by the adoption of Bill 101 in the 70s,” when I was under the impression that the language conflict was largely instigated by the British invasion and the violent imposition of English rule in the 1760s. I guess I was wrong.
Also, I was apparently mistaken in believing that in the Anglo-American legislative system a bill becomes law when passed and is thereafter referred to as an Act. I guess I was wrong there, too. Unless anglophones call it Bill 101 in a vain attempt to delude themselves into thinking that Quebec law doesn’t apply to them because they are too superior, but that of course can’t be the case as you make it clear that this law is responsible for any linguistic trouble in Montreal.
Thanks for enlightening me you guys!
Max Guérin
Arts student, McGill University

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RE: ‘Editorial: If only universities were on students’ side,’ volume 29, issue 19

It would be nice if our “universities were on students’ side,” as last week’s editorial put it, but let’s face it, university administrators aren’t on our side (their six-figure salaries are quite reflective of this).
When we plan a student strike, we are not negotiating for an academic amnesty because it isn’t something we’re asking for, it’s something we take. We minimize risk by ensuring that the strikes are absolute, that all classrooms are empty. That there will be strength in numbers. Collectively taking risks protects individuals because penalizing everyone is unthinkable.
There have been eight province-wide “general” strikes in Quebec. Seven were successful and students have never lost a semester. During strikes with tens of thousands of participants, cancelling a semester would result in backlogs of those waiting to enter the university and those waiting to enter the workforce. Furthermore, labour contracts and utility bills also pressure the government to resolve the issue quickly. At the end of previous strikes, rather than penalizing students, classes were extended and evaluations renegotiated.
Provost David Graham may have said that “all instructional activities, including classes, tutorials, labs and studio sessions, will be held as scheduled.” However, if Concordia students make the democratic decision to go on strike, that will certainly not be the case. A strike means empty classrooms; it means temporarily putting aside our studies because we believe that higher education is a societal good and a human right. During a strike, we mobilize and organize instead of studying and a mobilized student body is a force to reckon with!
Our movement has strong support from people and places that matter. More than 13,000 students have already voted to go on strike and another 52,000 will vote in the upcoming weeks. Many faculty members and labour unions support us.
All this to say, while we can’t completely rule out negative outcomes, we certainly don’t have to, and shouldn’t, wait for an official message from administration granting us academic amnesty to take action.
If you want to learn about strikes, come by the Hall mezzanine during the week, come to the Loyola Luncheon on Wednesdays, or to the GSA house (2030 Mackay) Fridays after 5. Like “Concordia Students for Accessible Education” on Facebook, and send your concerns and questions to info@concordiastudents.ca.
Inform yourselves, talk to your friends and get involved!

Irmak Bahar
Member of Mob Squad

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