Response of the Executive Council of the Association of Students and Students of Science of Education

We are reproducing below the response of the Executive Council of the Association of Students and Students of Science of Education of UQAM issued on November 19 to denounce the decision of the Board of Directors of UQAM to punish, penalize and criminalize Faculty of Science of Education students.

Yesterday, the Board of Directors of UQAM decided to punish the students of the Faculty of Education for having dared to demand ACCEPTABLE internship conditions. Indeed, by validating the recommendations of the Commission des études, they are ready to make many 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students repeat the semester, also affecting their obtaining teaching certificates. This means approximately 750 students will be penalized in their academic career by having to withdraw from their internship and intensive courses. The Board of Directors is imposing terms of resumption on us that force students to go back to class and keep their mouths shut.

Over the past year, we have tried to advocate improvements to our practicum conditions in the program committees, in our regular meetings with the Dean, by voting for a strike week in the Winter 2021 session and by sending an open letter to the faculty that was signed by over 1,100 students! There was no response. Thus, the strike was proposed as a reaction to UQAM's bad faith on this issue. After having let the conflict marinate for five weeks, UQAM now wants to punish us for having gone on strike when it is responsible for the strike's duration and its existence.

At the November 15 and 18 student commissions, some faculty commissioners stated clearly and directly that the repression of education students will serve as an example to prevent future strikes. In the past, student strikes have not been met with the threat that the students will be deemed to have abandoned their courses. This measure, which breaks the social contract, is a precedent that will have a serious impact on our democratic society. 

Let us remember that student strikes are responsible for many social changes that have allowed, among other things, access to higher education for the majority of the Quebec population. They are a tool that must continue to exist to allow us to win important struggles, including for paid internships. Attempting to impede them is a serious attack on our democratic rights, and we cannot remain inactive in the face of this attack.

Thus, in keeping with the directives of the last general assemblies, the ADEESE will hold an emergency general assembly with the strike being the sole agenda item. The UQAM administration is trying to drive a wedge between the penalized students and the others in a move to divide and rule. The members fought on principles of solidarity; it is important to continue doing so in order to protect the members whose sessions are at stake. Let us remember that it is unimaginable for UQAM to push back the semester of 5,200 students.

We submit the following proposal to the Commission des études de l'UQAM:

- Whereas the conditions for returning after a strike recommended by the Studies Commission for 20 years have established a non-punitive standard for students (see examples in: 2005, 2007, 2009 [faculty strike], 2012 and 2015), 2018;

- That the due date for assignments (including practicum assignments) in the fall 2022 semester be extended to January 9, 2023, the beginning of the winter 2023 semester;

- That accommodation measures be put in place for intensive courses so that no one receives a withdrawal notice, and that teachers be able to grant an "incomplete" in the student's internship record;

- That, for the other courses, no retake session be imposed in the classroom, neither in synchronous nor in asynchronous mode;

- That the files of students who have gone on strike be analyzed by a committee on which a student sits to determine the success of the internship notwithstanding the number of days missed;

- That UQAM make a commitment so that no student who has gone on strike will receive an incomplete mention for the sole reason of having gone on strike.

The ADEESE executive continues to work actively. We are counting on student solidarity to work together to complete our session. Let's not let UQAM create a climate of fear and put an end to student democracy!

With rage and love, thank you,
The ADEESE executive

Interns united will never be defeated.

(Translated from the original french by Renewal Update)

This article was published in
Number 5 - November 22, 2022

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