DSU'S STATEMENT ON THE STUDENT STRIKE


MONTRÉAL, QC (May 26, 2021) - On May 26, 2021, 51% of students (1519 students) voted in favour of striking. This strike was initiated by students and further approved in a Special General Assembly that took place on May 24, 2021.


This strike will entail a complete student boycott of final exams taking place from May 27, 2021, to June 4, 2021. This means that students are asked not to attend their final exams in person in response to their neglect of student concerns previously made clear by the body.


Here are some important points to consider:


  • This strike was initiated by students with the intent of boycotting controversial in-person final exams after the college’s refusal to adapt their final examinations to a more suitable format.


  • The goal of the strike is to pressure the school to shift their exams online. For the time being the college has continued to indicate they intend on holding exams in person. Considering that almost half of students do not intend to go to these exams, this sheds doubt on their seriousness to move forward with mass failings.


  • Students who have in-person exams that require certain material only available at the College such as Nursing or Radiology may still access the college to do their evaluations as stated in the strike resolution adopted. Only exams that do not absolutely require in-person such as math, chemistry and physics are subject to this strike.


  • Students who do not have in-person exams are not asked to strike but may do so in support of their peers.


  • We have made several attempts to negotiate with the college and find a compromise. Despite our worst proposals being presented, the college has refused to accept any sort of proposal which did not come from their own administration.


  • We ask that no student congregates in front of the school as this would pose potential health risks related to COVID-19 and would be contrary to our concerns with regards to the in-person presence on campus.


  • If you voted against the strike and do not want to boycott exams, you are still entitled to attend exams. The boycott is a right, not an obligation.


  • The College has no logistical capacity to fail all students who do not attend their final. These implications for universities that are waiting for students to graduate. There would be pressure from both Universities and the Ministry for the college to not fail these students considering this would cause major issues in the entire higher education sector of Quebec.


  • There are about 3000 students (30% of the student body) who were expected to write final exams in person at Dawson. Considering the college has space issues as seen during admissions this year, it would be impossible for them to fail even 200 students who decide to boycott final exams since this would mean these students would need to remain at Dawson for another semester. Considering the college already fills all space in the daytime, they would have no choice but to rescind applications at the College. Let's not forget that the college's space issues this year were caused by their decision to not expel a few students on academic probation due to the pandemic. The number of students who weren`t expelled was inferior to the current number of students who want to strike. The College would have a serious issue on their hands and they know it. They have admitted to this potential issue in negotiations that took place over the last few days.


  • Despite their best efforts to influence the vote in internal elections, they have failed to convince a sufficient number of students to vote against such a strike.


  • For those who boycott, it is a possibility that exams would be deferred to a later date likely in August. There is also the possibility of exams being offered online as well. There is no certainty at this time but all options remain realistic. Students should focus on how they can best try to pressure the college to finally give in to their concerns.


  • The point of a strike is to put enough pressure on the college to force their hand into giving in. If a plurality of students boycott, the college will quickly realize they are outmatched. That is what will make them change their minds and that is what is important to consider when making a decision. The ball is in their court.


  • They could have listened to our concerns months ago but chose to ignore us and to move forward despite very valid issues with their plans. Do not blame students who have valid health and safety concerns, do not blame the DSU who is just doing its job, blame the college for a lack of clarity, a lack of reassurance and a lack of openness towards its student body. Overall, they mismanaged this situation from the start and have refused to try to reconcile any concerns of students. A compromise would have swiftly reassured those concerned. It is truly unfortunate it has come to this.


  • If enough pressure is put on the college, they will have no choice but to backtrack for the reasons mentioned above. We encourage all students to boycott their exams to ensure the strength of our position. The college will try to scare or threaten students but you must all stay strong. We know they cannot make act on their threats.


  • We also ask that everyone remain civil and that any protest (online) with regards to Dawson disregard of student rights be done peacefully and with respect.


We understand this is a stressful time and that some are concerned about the possible impacts of this strike. We will continue to be as forthcoming as we can be with you all but understand that the situation is unfolding.


The injunction will be addressed in a separate statement as we are still awaiting a decision from the Superior Court of Quebec.


For the full results of the strike vote, please click here.


Please contact general@dawsonstudentunion.com for any questions