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More than 20,000 Concordia, McGill university students set to strike over tuition increases


More than 20,000 students at McGill and Concordia universities are set to strike for a week on Monday to protest the Quebec government's tuition hikes for out-of-province and international students.

Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) mobilization coordinator Lily Charette said the students wanted to build on the universities' legal challenges to advocate for future students in a visible and vocal way.

"Basically, trying to have as much of a disruption and gain as much media attention and talk to as many students as possible and make sure people are aware of this, and send a message to the government that students are ready to put their semester, put their education on the line in order to make sure that this is something that's addressed now," said Charette.

McGill and Concordia launched separate legal challenges in February against the government's increased tuition rates.

Tuition hikes for the two English universities imposed by the Quebec government promise to raise fees by 30 per cent from $9,000 to a minimum of $12,000 per year for out-of-province students.

International students now have to pay a base rate of $20,000, with the government collecting $3,000 in fees.

The tuition fee increases are set to be implemented at the start of the 2024-25 academic year.

Around 10,000 students striked at the end of January for three days against the tuition hikes, and this time, they expect over 20,000 students.

"We're seeing that there is an uptake in students' ability to organize around these things, and that's really what we want to do," said Charette, hoping students will contact their local elected officials to voice their opinions.

Some student organizations at McGill will also join the strike.

"We've been noticing there's a lot more McGill support for it than there was last time," said Fred Azeredo, the Religious Studies Undergraduate Society (RSUS) vice-president of finance. 

During the last strike, Azeredo said there was a certain level of apathy among some students at the school, and his society hopes this time more students are encouraged to take action.

"It's so short-sighted. People forget that 12 years ago, there were some very successful strikes," he said. "That had the effect of lowering tuitions completely, stopping the planned tuition hike completely. If we had enough momentum and we could create a large enough strike that would completely paralyze McGill and Concordia for a week or two weeks, then they would have to listen." Top Stories

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