A recent email from the department has been a source of some concern amongst students in support of the strike. The language used in the email seems unnecessarily intimidating and is also misleading.
We should remember that together students DO have some power in this situation, and we can’t allow this type of scare tactic make us think we are powerless.
To put this message into perspective, let’s break it down a little bit.
From: “Marilyn Malofy” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 2012-03-02 2:45 PM
Subject: RE: conduct during the strike
For those of you who choose to attend class, the Provost has made clear that classes will be conducted as per the normal schedule.
(I will just note that the Provost allocates research funds to each department. )
I expect that Security will assist in making sure this happens.
It should be noted that what Security is allowed to do is limited:
- They can ask you to leave, and escort you out.
- You are not required to show them your ID if asked to present it.
- They are not allowed to touch a student.
- If students do not choose to leave, Concordia would need to decide if it is worth calling the police. Remember, there are currently multiple universities and cegeps on strike in Montreal. At Concordia, it’s more than just Geography & Environment on strike; many student associations, including the entire Faculty of Fine Arts will be striking with us. Security and the police will have plenty to do.
All of our organizational meetings have been committed to a non-violent approach to the picket lines.
Please contact the front office of Geography, Planning and Environment if any of the following occur (all concerns will be kept confidential):1. You are unable to enter your class or are intimidated as you try.
2. You cannot properly follow the lecture because of excessive noise in the hallway.
3. Your professor does not show up.
Faculty members are required to attempt to teach their classes. The part time faculty association (CUPFA) has issued a statement on Concordia’s class boycott. It specifies that teachers should “under no circumstances” call Security. The full time faculty union has yet to issue a statement on the strike.
4. Your professor cuts short the lecture in sympathy with the strike.
When CSU reps met with the Provost regarding these types of statements, they found no official policy that would prevent a class from being cut short or cancelled. Again, although faculty members are contractually obligated to report to their classes, how the class is run is still somewhat up to their discretion.
Remember also that the professor can make no change in the course outline (scheduling of tests, due dates, partitioning of final mark, etc) without a unanimous vote by the students.
This is said to be more of an academic tradition than an official policy and in later communications it has been indicated that this is, in fact, up to the discretion of the faculty member.
I hope this has been helpful in viewing this email from another perspective.