GEOGRADS Response to Policy Change

The GEOGRADS executive formally condemns the Administration’s policy regarding the “Obstruction of campus facilities and classrooms” sent on 23/03/12 as misrepresentative and provocative regarding student action on and around the Concordia campuses. The language employed regarding possible violations and/or applications of “Concordia’s Code of Rights and Responsibilities” (the Code) contravenes the very policies that it wishes to enact. This is especially related to supporting freedom of peaceful assembly (Section 1.3¬), and not applying the Code to detract from the right to frank discussion of politics (Section 1.4).

Protests on and around Concordia campuses have been consistently characterized by their light-hearted, peaceful, and creative nature. Issuing this one-sided “reminder” to students who “obstruct classroom or campus facilities” is to overlook the potential Code violations committed against those students who have chosen to directly engage faculty and students.

Scenarios and consequences conjured in the Administration’s statement do not represent the spirit and intent of Sections 1.6 and 2.12 of the Code, which seek to “…settle conflicts in an effective and constructive manner and stress “...an appropriate response”, that “...restores harmony, collegiality and cooperation between members”. The intimidating statements pertaining to obstructing campus facilities or classrooms do not endeavour to settle conflicts constructively, nor do they restore harmony or collegiality between members. In fact, they achieve the opposite effect.

Furthermore, The Office of Rights and Responsibilities deals with a variety of serious complaints regarding behaviour on campus including harassment, sexual assault, abuse and other potentially criminal activities. A deluge of complaints about peaceful student demonstrations will likely mean that legitimate and serious complaints by victims are delayed or pushed aside.

Finally, the GEOGRADS executive calls upon the Administration to recognize the democratic will of student assemblies as legitimate and to use their time and resources to lobby the government of Quebec to negotiate in good faith with student representatives who seek alternatives to the funding of education in Quebec.

GEOGRADS

Tom McGurk
President 2011-2012

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