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Jessica Nadeau August 27, 2012
Original French Text; http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/357818/imbroglio-a-l-universite-de-montreal
The rowdies could be rewarded
It could turn out to be a better deal for Université de Montréal students to disrupt classes than to stay away. This is how some have interpreted an internal memo sent to administrators by university rector Guy Breton.
The memo, “Instructions to adminstrative staff”, circulating on social networks for a few days, explains that “if there are no students in class”, the teacher must notify the dean and that “the course will be cancelled”.
Conversely, if there are students in class, “but if the situation is not conducive to teaching a class (noise, disruptions, etc.)”, the teacher must notify security and the class will be cancelled. The rector adds, “students will not be reimbursed, but will be able to take the cancelled courses at no charge during a later semester”.
Reached by Le Devoir, the president of the General Union of Université de Montréal Professors [Syndicat général des professeurs et professeures de l’Université de Montréal (SGPUM)] Jean Portuguais feels that the memo contains “some shocking things”.
“This tells me that if students don’t attend and choose to have empty classrooms, the course will be cancelled and students would be penalized directly, with no possibility of make-up. However if they attend but make noise and disruptions, they still would not be reimbursed but they could take the course again later”. According to him such a directive exacerbates the “prevailing uncertainty”. The “double standard” put forth by the rector leads him to think that “the university is putting itself in violation of the law because it is sending the message to administrators that if there is noise, the course will be held at a later date”.
University spokesperson Mathieu Filion sees no contradiction in the rector’s message and points out that an explanatory note had been sent to all students to help with the return to classes. He says that he knows about the memo circulating on social networks but repeats ad nauseam that he sees no incitation to disrupt classes.
“There will be consequences if a student disrupts a class”, notes the spokesperson. “What the result will be of these actions, it’s not up to me to judge but there will be consequences”.
He also hinted that the offer of free courses later could apply only to those students who didn’t take part in the disruption.
Université de Montréal students must return to classes Monday morning and the professors’ union intends to follow the law. “We won’t be able to go as far as our colleagues at UQAM”, says Jean Portugais. “We would love to have the same courage, but we don’t have the funds”.
He deplores the fact that professors are “not regarded” and expects a “raucous” union council meeting Monday evening.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.