Taking Notes: Eye on Education – Quebec Students Protest

This column focuses on a wide range of issues affecting post-secondary students. Students are encouraged to submit suggestions and educational topics they are concerned about, or personal experiences with courses or university situations they feel other students should know about. If suggest a topic or a course alert for taking notes, contact djabbour@ausu.org

QUEBEC STUDENTS PROTEST

Quebec university students have been actively engaged in dramatic protests over the past few weeks, and many have been boycotting classes. On March 25, theology students staged a mock crucifixion. Claiming that Jesus was a political activist, a student draped in white carried a cardboard cross through the street, while being whipped by fellow students who represented the Charest Liberal government.

Several days previous, thousands of students protested in front of the National Assembly in Quebec City, blocking traffic and resulting in the arrest of several students who were occupying the Education Ministry offices. Students also took over the offices of the Conseil du Patronat du Quebec, where another 24 students were arrested. Students also blocked highways during rush hour, and staged a series of sit-ins in various locations. In some cases the protests became quite violent.

Students are protesting government plans to convert some $103 million worth of bursaries into student loans. The education minister and Charest’s Liberals are standing firm on their decision, in spite of the protests. Quebec students currently enjoy the lowest tuition in all of Canada, at approximately $1600 a year.

Quebec university students stage mock crucifixion to protest loans situation. Canadian Press, March 25, 2005. http://ca.fullcoverage.yahoo.com/fc/Canada/Education_News/

Two students arrested in latest protest. March 24, 2005. http://montreal.cbc.ca/regional/servlet/View?filename=qc-studarrest20050324

24 arrested as students take over business office, March 23, 2005. http://montreal.cbc.ca/regional/servlet/View?filename=qc-protest20050323

Striking students step up the pressure tactics. Canadian Press, March 22, 2005. http://www.canada.com/montreal/globaltv/story.html?id=c5579ae9-a8ad-4ad4-9437-5b2d7c72fa4d

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