Some answers on the “occuparty” at McGill University
Below are FAQs prepared by concerned members of the McGill community McGill in solidarity with the students occupying the 6th floor of James Admin building since more than 48 hours. Solidarity!
What are CKUT and QPIRG?
CKUT: ”CKUT is a non-profit, campus-community radio station based at McGill University. CKUT provides alternative music, news and spoken word programming to the city of Montreal and surrounding areas, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Hear us at 90.3 MHz on the FM dial, 91.7 by cable, or listen on-line.
CKUT is made up of over 200 volunteers working with a staff of coordinators, not just to make creative and insightful radio programming, but also to manage the station. The station operates on a collective management system that includes volunteers in decision-making.” ckut.ca
QPIRG: “The Quebec Public Interest Research Group at McGill is a non-profit, student-run organization that conducts research, education, and action on environmental and social justice issues at McGill University and in the Montreal community. With such a broad mandate, QPIRG brings together a wide range of activists interested in many different issues.
QPIRG-McGill is opposed to all forms of discrimination on the basis of: class, gender, race, sexual orientation, and dis/ability.” qpirgmcgill.org
What’s going on with the opt-out system?
The administration changed the system for students to opt out of paying fees for groups like CKUT and QPIRG from one that required students to actually go to the group’s offices (and therefore at the very least know what they were opting out of!) to a system where it was possible to opt out online, just by checking a box on Minerva. Because of this, CKUT and QPIRG lost a significant chunk of their budget, which relied on those fees, because a lot of students were opting out of the fees online without necessarily even knowing what they were opting out of.
Why are people occupying the Provost’s office?
Last semester, CKUT and QPIRG held referenda to renew their mandate with the student population, and included in those referenda a question regarding the opt out system, asking the students to affirm changing the system back to one where it was necessary to go into their offices in order to opt out, with the hope that this would encourage more people to find out about what it was that they did for the student population. The referenda passed, but Deputy Provost Morton Mendelson has refused to accept it, with the purported reason that the questions were unclear.
What’s going on with the occupation?
22 students decided to occupy the Provost’s office as of Tuesday morning in protest of his un-democratic decision to ignore the referenda and deny the student body any say in student fees or the operation of the opt out system.
More than half of those students are still occupying the office, and at this time, the administration is still refusing to negotiate with them regarding the opt out system. The security guards have been instructed to deny those in solidarity with the occupiers any means to get them food, and their food supplies are dwindling rapidly.The occupation is important not just because of the issue of the opt out system, but because the administration should not have the right to ignore referenda ratified democratically by the student body. We stand in solidarity with the occupiers and their courage in defending student self-determination.
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