On Thursday morning at 8:00 am, a group of about 200 people blocked all access to the Henri H. Hall building at Concordia’s downtown campus in an attempt to interrupt the first block of final examinations. Tensions were high between students, and the situation escalated incredibly fast. By 8:45 there had been numerous violent altercations between students and for the first time in ten years, riot police were brought onto campus. Students waiting to write final exams were ushered across the street, at which point some began to cheer as those who had been demonstrating were pepper sprayed and violently removed by the police. More than anything, this event seemed to showcase a breaking point of anger and frustration that has been growing for a long time at Concordia.
The hostility and division that has encompassed our campus must stop. Regardless of our personal political views, we are all impacted by the negative and downright dangerous environment this university has become, and now we must come together to overcome it.
One thing is clear, the administration’s role in creating this environment have been profound. The escalation and use of repressive state violence against students seen today comes as no surprise based on their continuous refusal to attempt to address the concerns of the Concordia community regarding the strike. Moreover, the only action taken by admin so far has been to escalate situations and ensure division on campus, by externalizing their duties to private security forces or students, faculty and staff themselves. While the administration has made token attempts to listen to the concerns of those living through this, they have taken no concrete steps towards resolving anything beyond issuing threats or pressuring faculty. Their discourse has created a space where it is acceptable for students to attack each other, and for numerous “unnamed” security guards and riot cops to become commonplace at our school.
Join your fellow students, faculty, staff and allies tomorrow, Friday, April 13 at 12:30 pm in front of the Hall building (1455 de Maisonneuve). This forum will be a space in which we can air our grievances and work together to resolve these problems on campus. Everyone in the Concordia community has been affected by strikes across various departments for the past six weeks. Let’s make it clear that we will not accept this atmosphere of individualization and violence. We are all in this together and we have all suffered as a result of administration’s unwillingness to acknowledge the disrupted semester or work towards resolving the tensions on campus.