More CEGEP students vote to return to class
Published Friday, August 17, 2012 2:52PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 17, 2012 10:08PM EDT
MONTREAL— All CEGEP are back to class as the last two hold-outs voted to return Friday as students at CEGEPs St-Laurent and Vieux-Montreal voted to shelf their walk-outs.
Students at the two Montreal-area CEGEPs originally voted to continue the boycott but many expressed misgivings after learning from school administrations that if they did not resume classes on Friday, they would be given a failing grade and not an incomplete.
According to CLASSE, the largest federation of student unions in the six-month old conflict, over 3,000 Vieux-Montreal students had filled the CEGEP’s massive gym soon after the general assembly started at 9:30 a.m.
With the previous vote at the CEGEP being extremely close, students were polarized and debate lasted hours before a decision was reached. The CEGEP was one of the strongest recruiting grounds during the spring months of near daily protest.
But on this day, the less-radical voices were being heard louder, thanks to the ballot box.
“It’s your future that depends on it. You could lose years of your salary, it’s kind of stupid, it’s more than $1,000 a year, I mean it’s like losing $40,000 a year,” said Vieux-Montreal student Catherine Beausoleil, clutching a cup of Tim Hortons coffee.
Another complained that being out of school was boring.
"Since February I haven't gone back to school and its really depressing not going to school because you feel like you're not doing anything and you’re just sitting around and waiting,” said CEGEP du Vieux Montreal student Melanie Lapointe.
At least one student felt that the long, drawn-out voting procedure Thursday was designed to send those opposed to the protest home, and give the more radical students an advantage.
“I feel like they're doing it on purpose so that those who are against it can be like oh my god I’m so fed up and I’m going home, so those who are for the strike, they're going stay and they're going to vote for the strike,” said student Medjida Dameus.
It was announced around 6:00 p.m. Friday that the students had voted to return but that another vote would be held after the September 4 provincial election.
At CEGEP St-Laurent, the general assembly started at 10:00 a.m. with a small turnout. The students voted to return to school as usual.
Like many other CEGEPs, the two also voted to boycott class on the 22nd of every month to join a province-wide protest against the tuition increases.