Free Education Montreal in solidarity with “Occupartiers”
We would like to express our solidarity with the Sixth Floor Party (also referred to as “Occupartiers”) occupying the James Administration building of McGill University. We understand that the Occupartiers are protesting the administration’s lack of respect for democracy and students’ right to self-govern. It is appalling that the administration refuses to acknowledge the results of the referendum where students overwhelmingly expressed their support for CKUT and QPIRG-McGill (highest turnout in any fall referendum).
We believe that Occupartiers, who are protesting in a peaceful manner, should be treated with full dignity, and that the university should provide them access to basic needs, such as food, water, bathroom, electricity and heating. We also ask that the university respect their right to demonstrate, and strongly encourage the university to negotiate with the Occupartiers in good faith.
QPIRG provides a vital space for students by helping them link their academic education to the community, and by promoting debate on issues of social and environmental justice; CKUT’s role as a community radio station is indisputable. Since student contributions are the main source of funding for these organizations, we implore the university administration to acknowledge the will of students, as expressed through the democratic process of referendum. We understand that the university’s concern is the “unclear referendum question,” but we believe that McGill should have confidence in the ability of their students and in their own teaching. Quoting Jérôme Turcq of the Public Service Alliance of Canada “[t]his conflict can be dealt within less than two minutes. Simply, McGill has to recognize the results of a democratically-held referendum.”
Free Education Montreal believes in elimination of tuition and other fees in educational institutions and increasing the quality of education through public re-investment in and the democratization of Canada and Quebec’s education system, as well as in strengthening educational institutions’ positive impact on social justice through research, teaching, and community involvement. In this spirit, we support McGill students’ initiative to stand up for their democratic rights and we call on the McGill administration to reconsider the undemocratic nature of their actions and accept the referendum results.