The chants of approximately 20 students drowned out the congregation gathered in the D.B. Clarke Theatre at 12 p.m.
Led by geography student and Mob Squad member Alex Matak on a megaphone, the students, who say they are frustrated with the university’s response to the student strike against provincial tuition hikes, called on the administration to hear their demands.
The disruption prompted Concordia Student Union President Lex Gill and CSU councillor and student governor Cameron Monagle to try to calm students in order to proceed with the meeting. As a last effort, Gill stood at the podium to speak but was impossible to hear over the noise.
Members of the audience and the administration left shortly after, effectively ending the meeting. Shepard, who was recently selected by the board’s presidential search committee after months of deliberation, was unable to receive questions from the audience.
University spokesperson Chris Mota confirmed that Shepard, who currently serves as provost and VP academic at Ryerson University, would not be returning for another public meeting at Concordia.
“On behalf of the university community I think it’s unfortunate that the opportunity was taken away from us,” said Mota.
Alex MacPherson, president of the technicians’ union, said that while he supports the student movement, it was “disappointing” that others could not speak and express their views.
Gill was also visibly frustrated that the meeting did not take place. In an informal gathering of students that took place shortly after the failed meeting, Gill emphasized that individual professors or members of administration that do support the students fight against the increase “left the meeting embarrassed.”
“There was an opportunity here to make this meeting what we wanted it to be,” said Gill. “Instead the meeting didn’t happen.”