Schools Training

Concordia Students Sleep in Against Tuition Hikes

29 FEB 2012
Topic : Education News

Students at Concordia University are getting involved in the student protests sweeping Quebec, but they’re taking a new approach: they’re sleeping on it. Students at the downtown Montreal university are staging a five-day sleep-in in the atrium of the school’s J.W. McConnell Library building to protest tuition hikes. Organizers behind the sleep-in are hoping to accomplish a few things: to raise raise awareness of the tuition hike and an impending vote on March 7 to boycott classes for a week. However, they’re also hoping the more subdued form of protest can tone down some of the vitriol fuelling the unrest around the province, and help spark dialogue.

“This is not an angry form of protest,” Lex Gill, president of the Concordia Student Union (which represents about 30,000 students) told the Montreal Gazette.

As we mentioned last week, there are ongoing student protests in Quebec regarding proposed tuition fee hikes. Actually, the word “proposed” is not exactly accurate, in that the Liberal government, led by premiere Jean Charest, has already decided to increase tuitions across the province. The plan is to nearly double the current $2200 average tuition to roughly $3800 over the next 5 years (this works out to a $300 increase per student per year). Quebec currently has the lowest average tuition in Canada, and even with the planned doubling of fees, it would still be at the low end of the Canadian tuition spectrum.

Protests started in earnest on the 17th of February, with, depending on your source, anywhere from 31,000 to 40,000 students, from both colleges and universities deserting classrooms and going on strike.Unfortunately, that initial protest turned violent with vandalism, clashes with police and arrests at CEGEP du Vieux Montreal community college and Montreal’s Exchange tower.

Here’s a very brief (but effective) video that provides a glimpse into the Quebec student protests:

What do you think about this issue?