Universities React to Student Protests in Quebec

Quebec colleges are responding to recent student protests in different ways as classes are disrupted and stalled.

Colleges in Quebec are trying to deal with students who have mobilized to protest a range of issues in the past week.

In a movement called “Printemps 2015,” students are striking and in some cases storming school buildings to disrupt classes and protest issues such as provincial budget cuts and local fossil-fuel projects, according to the National Post.

Some schools, such as the Université du Québec à Montréal, have informed individual students they face penalties as serious as expulsion for their actions during recent protests. Others have taken a more tolerant approach to the protests. Université Laval in Quebec City did not use school security to prevent the disruption of classes last week, and video surfaced of one university security guard telling a student entering class that he had to abide by the strike.

François Blais, Quebec City’s Education Minister, warned that the government will not adjust the allocation of funds for students to make up classes later in the semester.

Most of these responses mark a change of course for the province, which stood by in 2012 when similar student protests delayed many courses after tuition was increased.

The provincial student group ASSÉ says representatives of nearly 50,000 students have declared a strike of at least two weeks. Some students said they view any school punishments related to actions of protest as assaults on their freedom of expression.

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