Rally for greater access

Last Wednesday’s rally for education reform, organized by the Canadian
Federation of Students – Quebec Component (CFS-Q), fell short of leaving a lasting impression for Concordia students.
About 15 people gathered outside of Hall building, defying cold temperatures and passing out pamphlets to students rushing by.
After forty minutes at Concordia, the rally then proceeded to various other universities and cegeps, including McGill University. It ended with the delivery of a letter to the new minister of education, Sylvain Simard, asking for a re-evaluation of issues such as loans and bursaries, government funding, differential fees, and accessible education.
“I don’t expect much here at Concordia,” one of the organizers, Aimee van Drimmelen said shortly before the event, “we just want to distribute as much information as possible to students today. We are planning a big demonstration on Feb. 21 in Quebec City.”
Another participant of the rally, Nathalie Sereda Bazinet, showed more optimism.
“This is the first step,” the 18-year-old student from College de Maisonneuve said, “it’s a way to mobilize people, it’s a way to show that we’re not dead.”
That spirit turned some heads during their march through Java U and Reggie’s.
The group was wearing black paper mortarboards, holding up signs, banging on drums and chanting a song about funding for education. However, the process appeared to be too short and too fast to spark student interest.
“I saw some people go by [and] I heard the song, but they did not deliver the message,” said John, a mature Concordia student who did not want his last name published. “It looked like a group of people having fun and trying to look like activists.”
20-year-old chemistry student Anda Vintiloiu was doing homework while sitting at the window looking out on Maisonneuve Street. “I didn’t know what was going on,” she admitted. She added that she supported student movements but that everything had to be seen relatively.
“I think there are worthier causes than this,” she said. “Education is very
important…but so are health services. It’s a choice that needs to be made somewhere.”
The CFS-Q chose accessible education as one of their primary goals.
“Ideally, we’d all pay the same – or nothing,” van Drimmelen said. “Our goal is to have free education for everyone. If we ask for the most, then maybe we’ll get something.”

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