The following press release from Concordia University was sent out to the media last Wednesday:
From: Chris M. [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: March-21-12 8:37 AM
Subject: Concordia University Supports Accessible Education in Quebec
Concordia University Supports Accessible Education in Quebec
Concordia hosts all-day gala in celebration of new plan dedicated to securing accessible education in Quebec
Montreal, March 21, 2012 – Today Concordia University formally announces its position against the education reforms put forward by the Charest government’s2011-2012 budget, and invites members of the University community to celebrate the ongoing pursuit of accessible education in Quebec at a gala event held in the lobby of the GM building (1550 De Maisonneuve W.) beginning at 7:30am.In the midst of political turmoil gripping the province, Concordia has acknowledged that although it is important for the University to continue its world class research and other academic activity, Concordia’s position is such that it is equally important to cradle such academic work in a world class commitment to social justice and equality. While the administration admits that the student strike has placed a temporary burden on the academic functioning of the university, a Concordia spokesperson recognized that it has also opened the doors to student participation in Quebec politics and constitutes a powerful form of education in and of itself.
In order to enhance its competitive position among world universities, and in support of the growing concerns of the Concordia community, Concordia University is making the following four commitments, effective immediately:
i. The administration, in cooperation with CUFA, CUPFA and Provost David Graham, grants academic amnesty to all Concordia students who have been engaged in strike activities since the first departmental associations voted to go on strike.
ii. A financial plan will be developed to dedicate $3.1 million directly into student bursaries and scholarships, matching the sum that was paid in severance packages to top level administers between 2009 and 2010.
iii. The university’s position within CREPUQ will be used to lobby the government to recall its “fair and balanced” education budget, and explore models of University funding through progressive taxation, such as those successfully implemented by countries like Germany, Denmark and Sweden.
iv. A commitment will be made to re-evaluate the membership of Concordia’s Board of Governors. While current members have remained dedicated to diligently ensuring the smooth operation of the University, the current socio-political climate of the Concordia community and the province suggests that the heads of major corporations may not necessarily be representative of the community at large. Concordia will consider developing a system in which “community-at-large” representatives are democratically elected by the Concordia community itself, which would include students, staff and faculty.
Department heads have also stepped up to support Concordia’s decision. “I have no choice but to accept that the tactic of stopping classroom instruction represents the collective, and thoroughly discussed, decision of our students […] It would be unacceptable to me if a member of our community, whose political action was sanctioned by a truly democratic assembly, were to seriously suffer for that action,” says David Greene, Chair of the Geography, Planning and Environment department. Concordia University is an integral part of the institutional fabric of Montreal and a major driver of economic and social development in Quebec. Evidence of the far-reaching benefits of affordable public education and research not only provides a convincing argument for maintaining fair access to Quebec’s post-secondary institutions, but also highlights the potential economic advantages that stem from maintaining a wide pool of individuals who are able to apply their time and intellectual labour for the benefit of society.
Members of the Montreal community are cordially invited to join Concordia representatives in celebration of this commitment to accessible education today, Wednesday, March 21st, at an all-day gala in the Lobby of the GM administration building, 1550 De Maisonneuve W. The gala will begin at 7:30am and continue for the duration of the day. Refreshments will be provided. Media welcome.-30-
Source and More Information:
Concordia University Media Relations
Media and students showed up to the gala, though unfortunately it turned out to be but a masterful media prank. Concordia Administration quickly fired out an internal memo reiterating their position on the strike.