ASFA councillors discuss students right to study and pray
A motion to condemn Islamophobia and officially take part in Sanctuary Campus was passed at the Arts and Science Federations of Associations (ASFA) monthly meeting on March 9.
These motions were passed in response to the fake bomb threat targeting the school’s Muslim community on March 1.
The motion stated that ASFA condemns Islamophobia and any form of religious discrimination, and that ASFA supports current and future campaigns to fight Islamophobia on campus and any action taken by the CSU to do so in Montreal.
“While we do have an anti-racism position, [the councillors] wanted to be sure that we had something very specific to the kind of racism that we experienced at Concordia on March 1,” Julia Sutera Sardo, ASFA’s vice-president of internal affairs and administration, told The Concordian. She said ASFA is be taking this opportunity to show that they are more than a political association and they have the power to protect their students. “Taking a position that condemns any forms of religious discrimination is something that we have to work on as an association to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”
ASFA wants to ensure the protection and safety of Muslim students because they have been seeing a lot of discrimination towards Muslim students in particular. “It doesn’t matter what religion you are. As a student, you are entitled to have your space to pray and experience your religion in any way. Having discrimination against any religion is completely ridiculous,” Sutera Sardo said. Concordia students who practice Islam have a religious space on the seventh floor of the Hall building, near the Concordia Student Union (CSU) office.
ASFA also voted to officially take part in Sanctuary Campus with the CSU. A Sanctuary Campus is when a college or university adopts policies to protect students who are undocumented immigrants. This term is modeled after “sanctuary cities” which have been adopted by over 30 municipalities in the U.S., and so far, four cities in Canada. “The councillors brought this point forward and we really applaud them for doing so,” Sutera Sardo said.
“We wanted to have a motion that allows ASFA to support officially Concordia to become a Sanctuary Campus in Montreal,” Sutera Sardo said. “We want to make sure that all students are treated equally and that they’re not sent back somewhere else or that their rights to study are denied.”
ASFA is responsible for 25,000 students, and for them, it’s important that these students feel comfortable studying at the university. “We want to make sure they have a space to study and to not be bothered because of something that is on paper. It doesn’t matter what it says—if you’re a student, you should be treated properly and you have a right to an education,” said Sutera Sardo.
She encourages all other student associations to support the Sanctuary Campus movement.