All Posts Tagged With: "Université du Québec à Montréal"
More Quebec protests, oil debate & democracy at U of T
1. It’s that time of the month again. Several thousand students marched in Montreal Thursday to demand free tuition, despite already winning frozen tuition from the Parti Quebecois government. The demonstration was supported by the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante, whose now-disbanded CLASSE wing was considered the most radical student group during the protests that shut down campuses earlier this year. Speaking of shutting down campuses, some students blocked certain entrances to the Université du Québec à Montréal on Thursday, reports the Montreal Gazette.
2. The University of Toronto Students’ Union’s annual general meeting drew a lot of angry voters who refused to approve the agenda at the beginning of Thursday’s meeting. While most AGMs are poorly attended, students waited in line for hours to get in to this one. Sam Greene, who heads of Trinity College, urged members to not approve the agenda unless the UTSU considers electoral reforms. Corey Scott, vice-president internal for UTSU, told The Varsity that the way students vote showed their “privilege.”
3. There is support among some of Canada’s premiers to ship Alberta oil to Eastern Canada. Two men whose provinces don’t have much oil themselves, Manitoba’s Greg Selinger and Nova Scotia’s Darrell Dexter, say they are interested, and Alberta’s Alison Redford and Quebec’s Pauline Marois agreed Thursday to examine the benefits and environmental effects of such a project.
Happy Movember, #BaldforBieber & Save the Wesmen
1. Movember, one of the most popular fundraisers on Canadian campuses, began today. Perhaps taking a cue from Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall, who challenged his fellow premier Robert Ghiz of P.E.I. to a grow-off, students at the University of Regina’s Carillon student newspaper are asking readers to bet on who can grow the best mo. $5 to vote. Proceeds fight cancer.
2. The 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings are finally here! The 132-page guide includes stories on class size, the viral videos phenomenon, expensive textbooks and, of course, the rankings. Who took home the gold may not surprise you, but the performance of schools like the University of Northern British Columbia, New Brunswick and Trent probably will.
3. A false rumour on Twitter that Justin Bieber had cancer caused a number of fans to shave their heads and tag them under #BaldforBieber. Rachel Herscovici of the Queen’s Journal disapproves.
4. More than 800 people have “liked” a Facebook page called “Save the Wesmen.” The University of Winnipeg is considering changing the name of its Wesmen athletics teams to be more inclusive.
Disruptions at Montreal university force class cancellation
Several classes at a Montreal university are being disrupted as students disobey Quebec’s back-to-school law.
Small groups of students at Universite du Quebec a Montreal, armed with lists, are seeking out classrooms in faculties where students voted to remain on strike.
They are interrupting the classes by shouting and shutting off the lights. Some of the classes are being cancelled.
The provincial emergency law, known as Bill 78, sets stiff fines for people who block classrooms.
The vast majority of Quebec’s students have voted to end their strikes, and the student unrest has hardly been an issue in the current provincial election campaign.
Today’s events as universities reopen, however, are a flashback to events that captured international attention last spring.
—The Canadian Press
The streets are quiet but plenty is happening
The nightly demonstrations against the Quebec government that crippled Montreal in the spring have dwindled to nearly nothing this summer. But that doesn’t mean nothing is happening. Here are three important updates from the past few days:
1. Martine Desjardins, president of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUC), says that protesting students are now focused on defeating the Liberal government in the next election. (She also says the “strike” will resume when classes start up at 14 junior colleges (CEGEPs) and some universities on Aug. 17.) Pundits expect Premier Jean Charest to call a September election. At least the students and the government can agree on one thing—it will take an election to settle the dispute. See The Gazette.
More smashed windows and tear gas on Wednesday
Quebec Premier Jean Charest is planning emergency legislation, tabled as early as today, that will suspend the current academic session until August at 14 CEGEP and 11 university faculties where protesting students are preventing classes from being held. He did not say whether the legislation will include stiffer penalties for those who block classes.
“It’s time for calm to be restored,” he said, adding, “nobody can pretend to defend access to education and then block the doors of a CEGEP or university.”
But many students and their supporters did block classes yesterday when about 100 stormed the Universite du Quebec a Montreal (UQAM) in the afternoon. Some stood on desks shouting “scab,” referencing the student “strike.” A demonstration in Montreal Wednesday evening was declared illegal at around midnight. There were broken windows at banks (again), tear gas and 122 arrests.
Such violent protests have defined the intense 14-week protest over a university tuition fee increase that will now be $1,778 over seven years. Michelle Courchesne, the new education minister, said that students present “no openness to make the necessary compromises.”
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, spokesperson for university association umbrella group CLASSE, told Canada AM this morning that “we don’t do that because we like to protest.” He added, “the day when the government will listen to us we will stop protesting.”
Student groups reject gov’t offers as deadline approaches
The student strike in Quebec, ignited by a $1,625 tuition increase over the next five years, is now the longest in provincial history—and participants may soon pass a point of no return.
Professors’ contracts require the semester to end by June 15 and some universities are hinting that the entire semester will be in jeopardy for students who don’t go back in time to meet that deadline.
The Université de Montréal, Quebec’s largest, announced Wednesday that it will extend the term into May for students who have already returned to class.
At the same time, it said it can no longer guarantee students who haven’t returned that they will be able to finish their semesters. Groups representing around 25 per cent of U de M are still on strike.
Why Quebec’s low tuition hasn’t led to high university enrolment
By 2012 between 6,000 and 13,000 Quebecers will have been prevented from going to university by a $500 increase in tuition, according to one of the province’s largest student lobby groups (their numbers come from a survey commissioned by the Quebec government). But a closer look at university participation rates and tuition fees across the country shows that the relationship between the cost of a university education and the percentage of people who attend isn’t quite so cut and dry.
Last Thursday, over 300 students, mostly from the Université du Québec à Montréal, protested a series of consultations which are set to take place between the provincial government and “education partners,” including students. The protest was organized by the Association pour une solidarité syndicale, which represents over 40,000 students across the province.
These students are opposed to the consultation process because the government has already announced their intention to raise tuition in 2012. Tuition rates in the province have been increasing by $50 per semester for Quebec residents, and $100 per semester for out of province students, since 2007 when the Charest government partially thawed the province’s tuition freeze, in place since 1994. In total tuition has risen $500 over five years for Quebec residents and $1,000 for out-of-province students. While this protest was relatively small compared to the protests in 2007, it’s pretty safe to say that these protests will grow as the 2012 increase approaches.
Here in Quebec, which has Canada’s lowest tuition rates (at least for Quebec residents) the participation rate is also one of the lowest in the country. According to 2005 numbers from Statistics Canada, the most recent complete numbers available, among people aged 24-26, 38 per cent have attended university.
Newfoundland has slightly higher tuition than Quebec but that province’s participation rate — the highest in the country — is 10 per cent higher than Quebec’s.
Nova Scotia, where university enrolment increased by over three per cent this fall (according to the Association of Atlantic Universities), has the second highest participation rate in the country despite their tuition being the second highest. Ontario, which has the highest tuition fees among the provinces, has a higher participation rate than Quebec and despite large tuition increases over the past several years, Ontario universities had a record number of applications this year.
In Alberta, where tuition rates are comparable to the national average, participation is the lowest.
It seems that provincial economies and the demands of the job market have far more to do with participation rates than tuition fees. In Atlantic Canada, with the decline of the fishery and mining sectors and in Ontario, with the decline of the manufacturing sector, jobs that existed a generation ago — and didn’t require a university education — are gone. While in Alberta the oil industry is still going strong.
The counter-intuitive difference between participation rates in Quebec and provinces where tuition is much higher may also have to do with the unique nature of Quebec’s education system. Quebec students graduate from high school in grade 11 and must attend two years of CEGEP (or go to a private college) before attending university. The CEGEP/college system has a participation rate of over 60 per cent — giving Quebec the highest college participation rate in the country.
While the system was created to encourage university participation it may be having the opposite effect, with CEGEPs also offering three-year technical degrees, it is more appealing for some students to do one more year of CEGEP and graduate with a skilled trade rather than going to university, and with the cost at CEGEPs being slightly over $100 per semester it’s certainly the cheapest and fastest way to get into the workforce.