Two of Quebec’s largest English-language student associations have decided against joining the widespread student strikes in Quebec.
Many associations have held votes to decide whether members should jointly skip classes to protest a tuition hike of $1,625 over five years.
After a bit of a delay, members of The Arts Undergraduate Society of McGill University voted against striking on Tuesday: 609 were opposed, 495 were in favour and 16 abstained.
The vote was delayed, according to the Montreal Gazette, because more people than expected showed up—about 1,100 of the 7,100-strong faculty. As a result, some voting took place via Skype connections.
The Arts Undergraduate Society did not take a position on the strike prior to the vote, although the Student Society of McGill University supports it.
Concordia University’s Student Union, which also supports the strike, held a vote last week after which they declared that the entire student body would skip classes.
But the Commerce and Administration Students’ Association (CASA) held their own poll for business students this week. About 900 of its 7,500 members voted; 84 per cent were opposed to the strike.
As a result, CASA president Marianna Luciano says that her members will go to class, although she says she wouldn’t be surprised if students from other faculties try to physically block access.
According to the website of the student strike movement, StoptheHike.com, 133 student unions representing 166,490 students are on strike. Of those, 93,445 are CEGEP students. The group is planning a National Demonstration on March 22 at Canada Place in Montreal.
Meanwhile, a group calling themselves the Students’ Coalition for Free Association wants the government to reform student unions. Their petition received support from Liberal Member of the National Assembly Danielle St-Amand, who posted it to the website of the assembly on Tuesday.
After the tuition hike is fully implemented in 2017, Quebec students will pay about $4,000 per year.