First day of picketing tests patience, civility
Picketing students intent on enforcing the first day of boycotted classes entered a number a classrooms Monday afternoon to enforce their strike motions, leading to at least one in which matters devolved into shoving, pushing, and intrusive video recording.
At least one class did not go gently despite the arrival of picketers representing the Concordia’s School of Community & Public Affairs (SCPA), one of the striking student associations.
The situation became tense when the majority of class at- tendees did not leave. Instead they confronted the picketers on their willingness to disturb a class mostly attended by political science students whose Political Science Student Association (PSSA) was set to vote on the strike that Monday night. (The PSSA voted on Monday night to go on strike April 1 and 2.)
“We have to separate that it’s not forcing political science into a strike, it’s protecting people who are already on strike in this class,” explained student striker Katie Nelson in response to criti- cism. She was alluding to the fact that the class in question was one of the basic courses SCPA students may take in fulfilling their academic requirements.
At one point a striker allegedly began filming those who would not vacate. Tristin Tynes, a political science major who was attending the class and remained inside, described this conduct as an intimidating behaviour that could only escalate things further.
“[Whenever] someone would have a counterpoint to his, he would scream ‘I’m putting you on television, you’re now going to look like an asshole on televi- sion’ and kept saying the same thing over and over again,” he said, continuing: “When you do stuff like that, you’re not helping your point.”
Concordia Student Union (CSU) President Benjamin Prunty, who was present, said that he considered such classes shared between striking and non-striking student associa- tions as a “predictable kind of grey area.”
“The SCPA students of course see that [class] as one of their classes and so they don’t want to be penalized, and the political science students see it as one of their classes and so they feel like as though they haven’t taken the vote,” explained Prunty.
He also stated that he wished this kind of situation could be part of an intelligent conversation instead of a conflictual argument.
“I just hope that people who feel as though their class was disrupted unreasonably can take a step back maybe and consider that on the other side of things … it was a group of people trying to have their voices heard,” said Prunty.
“Every organization has their own tactics and those said organizations encounter their own consequences,” he added in reference to the obtrusive filmer.
The event eventually ended when the teacher left, but a group of about 60 protesters continued their agenda by performing a round trip of Concordia’s Sir George William campus. They visiting the EV, John Molson School of Business and Visual Arts buildings. Police were on the scene though no confrontation was reported.