University president was reportedly not in the building
Concordia Against Tribunals (CATs) gathered in the lobby of the mezzanine in the Hall building Thursday afternoon to deliver a letter of reprimand to Concordia president Alan Shepard. This is in response to the administration co-signing a complaint which charged students for political strikes, causing them to undergo months of preparation for tribunals, ultimately resulting in students having to write an apology letter to the university for protesting.
When participants arrived to Shepard’s office, he was not in. After CATs read their letter of reprimand out to the locked doors of the administration office, deputy provost Lisa Ostiguy arrived as participants were leaving to say Shepard was not in the building. When The Concordian asked for a comment, Ostiguy said, “I’ll make sure that Alan gets the letter.”
Nora Fabre, a political science student charged in the tribunals, expressed CATs’ main ambition for this event “is to bring a sort of closure to wrap up the whole tribunals process, to give students the last word,” she said. “It’s another way to say enough to the administration for pushing us around and oppressing students for the past 11 months.”
Participants read their letter of reprimand out loud in the mezzanine, brandishing the sign “no justice, no peace, no tribunals for students.” Dean of Students Andrew Woodall stood close by, accepting a letter of reprimand from the students.
Fabre said delivering this letter collectively is a way to hold the university accountable for their actions and behaviour this past year. When asked if CATs expect to notice changes to be made by the university in regards to treatment of students undergoing political charges after the delivery of the letter, Fabre said “Perhaps not.” Fabre and CATs hope the university can reflect on their previous actions and think differently in future situations of student protests, instead of students going through months of preparation for tribunals that were a waste of “time, money and resources,” said Fabre.
After reading the letter out in the mezzanine, the students marched through the underground tunnels to Shepard’s office in the GM building, which was unoccupied. CATs once again read their letter, in which they ask for an apology from the university, over a megaphone for the administration to hear.
Although Shepard remained unseen, CATs left their mark with stickers on the door and letters of reprimand scattered on the administrative office floor.
Lydia Belhimeur, who is studying Community, Public Affairs and Policy Studies, said the main purpose of this march was for students to express their democratic rights. Belhimeur was not charged, but joined CATs to support the students who have undergone tribunals. “There would be no university without students, we have the right [to stand up for ourselves],” she said.
As for the future plans of CATs, Fabre said, “we’re in the process of thinking of pushing for [compensation] for students, because the tribunals process took a toll on the mental health and even academic careers of students who faced tribunals.” CATs have not yet figured out the details, but would like to see some compensation such as counseling for students who have struggled.