The PSSA president came under fire for an email sent to political science students the morning of March 6 stating that the PSSA strike mandate was cancelled, one day before it was set to take effect. Péloquin retracted the statement at around 9 p.m. that same day on the PSSA’s Facebook group page, calling the cancellation a “mistake” and maintaining that the PSSA will in fact be respecting the vote.
“I made a stupid human mistake,” said Péloquin in an interview. He said he misread the original newsletter and titled it wrong before sending it to the entire political science student body. Péloquin said that the error was his own and in no way reflected the rest of his executive.
Political science undergraduates voted to go on strike at a general assembly held March 1. A total of 70 political science students attended the assembly, with 59 voting to go on strike, 14 opposing a strike and one abstention. The same day saw philosophy and fine arts undergraduates vote to join the over 100,000 students currently striking throughout the province against rising tuition fees in Quebec.
According to PSSA bylaws, 2.5 per cent of political science students is needed to make quorum and make the vote binding, a requirement that was met at last week’s general assembly. Péloquin said that while the results of the PSSA’s general assembly were legitimate, many were concerned by the overall low turnout (70 out of a student population of 1,600) and lack of student awareness about the vote due to its timing after reading week. A second PSSA general assembly will be held on March 14 to decide whether to extend the strike mandate.
“These last few days have brought a lot more awareness,” said Péloquin, referring to the heated reaction to his original comments, including an online petition started by political science student Nadim Kobeissi calling for Péloquin’s impeachment.
“I don’t want someone with that much disrespect for the democratic process to be heading, out of all the student associations at Concordia, the faculty of political science,” said Kobeissi. “I think making that decision unilaterally without consulting the student body is still against his mandate [as PSSA president].”
Dissatisfied with Péloquin’s apology, Kobeissi said that the decision to hold another general assembly is just another way of manipulating the results of the first vote. He plans on bringing his petition to CSU council and formally beginning the impeachment process if 100 people sign.
With over a dozen signatures as of Tuesday night, the petition demands for Péloquin’s immediate resignation, accusing him of undemocratically trying to cancel a legal vote due to “a conflict of interest” regarding Péloquin’s alleged anti-strike stance regarding provincial tuition fee hikes.
Péloquin responded to these allegations in an interview, maintaining that his opinions had nothing to do with his mistaken comments.