UQAM-Concordia solidarity protest ended with students marching into EV and GM buildings
Approximately 200 protesters against tribunals for students facing repercussions from student strikes marched from Place Pasteur to the Concordia campus on Wednesday afternoon.
The group of mostly UQAM and Concordia students marched in solidarity against what they’ve called the “political discrimination” of students who took part in strikes this spring. Nine students at UQAM faced repercussions with one being expelled, and over 25 students at Concordia are facing tribunals starting at the end of the month.
“We demand that the administration acknowledge the political nature of these complaints and dismiss them promptly,” states the petition started by Solidarity Concordia. “We further encourage the faculty members pressing these charges to stand with students as we fight for sustainable education, and immediately reconsider their participation in repressing the voices of students at Concordia University.”
The march began moving west down De Maisonneuve Boulevard until the group suddenly turned south on McGill College Avenue and continuing west on Ste. Catherine Street through the heart of downtown. Police tried to clear the road as the group walked and chanted “avec nous, dans la rue!” and “le rectorat nous fait la guerre, guerre au rectorat!”
The protesters continued on Ste. Catherine Street until they turned north onto Mackay Street, entering Concordia’s EV Building through the Mackay entrance. The group stopped briefly in the building’s lobby to announce to students in the lobby the reason for the demonstration.
A man using a megaphone addressed everyone in the lobby.
“There are upward of 30 students facing tribunals for defending the strike back in the spring,” he said. He encouraged students to continue marching with the group through Concordia’s campus.
The group then descended the escalators of the EV building into Guy Metro station before exiting on Guy Street. From there they entered the GM building lobby. There, a man with his face covered, listed several demands for Concordia University and its president Alan Shepard.
“If you attack students at UQAM, you attack students at Concordia, and vice versa,” said the man. “We demand that the university drop itself as a co-complainant for three professors who went against the administration’s orders and held classes on the day of reflection.”
The protest entered the GM building specifically to address Concordia president Alan Shepard and the university’s administration, said Myriam Tardiff of Solidarity Concordia.“[Shepard] said that he wouldn’t charge the students, but now the university is a co-complainant to complaints filed by professors,” she said. “We consider that hypocritical and [he] doesn’t respect the democratic decisions by student general assemblies.”
Another protest is planned on Sept. 29, the first day of tribunals for students at Concordia, in order to support the students being charged, Tardiff said. “If you target one student who’s part of a movement, the movement will respond in solidarity,” she said.