As of Friday May 11, members from three of the province’s major student groups have voted to reject the Quebec government’s offer of proposed changes to their plan to increase university tuition fees in September.
Student unions represented by the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec, the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec and delegates of the Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante voted overwhelmingly against accepting the latest deal aimed at ending student protests.
Their decision comes almost a week after the tentative agreement between students and the government was initially reached. Spokespeople from all three student groups helped form the now-rejected deal after 22 hours of negotiations with Premier Jean Charest and Education Minister Line Beauchamp on Saturday.
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The Concordia Student Union unanimously voted to decline the provincial government’s second offer to striking student groups in a special council meeting on Tuesday night.
The special council meeting was held to discuss the recent offer made by the Charest Liberals to student leaders as well as members of the Conference des recteurs et des principaux des universites du Quebec. These negotiations led to the announcement of a tentative deal on Saturday. The offer was presented by leaders of the student movement during a press conference but will only be decided upon once general assemblies are held and the offer is put to a vote.
Approximately 50 Concordia students gathered for the assembly but only the elected council members were allowed to vote. Students were encouraged by CSU President Lex Gill to participate in the discussion portion of the meeting and voice their opinions.
Calling the media “intimidating,” Gill requested that all external media leave the meeting early on. All Concordia student media were welcome to stay for the duration, however, Gill invited mainstream media organizations to get in touch with her following the meeting.
“I’m going to try and not editorialize as much as possible,” Gill told students.
An appearance by Board of Governors Chair Peter Kruyt was met with disdain from some students and he left shortly after questions were raised about his presence.
The results were unsurprising as many university student associations and CEGEPs have voted to reject the government’s proposal during the week.
“I’m really glad we took the position that we took,” CSU councillor and student governor Cameron Monagle told The Concordian. “It was a really bum deal.”
The overwhelming rejection is meant to be a symbolic motion that the tuition increase, despite the deal, will not be accepted.
“This offer didn’t block the tuition increase and it was insufficient,” Monagle added.
The Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec, the student organization which represents Concordia and many other Quebec universities, will hold its own vote on Friday, May 11.