On Campus

Quebec students rejecting tentative deal

15 college and university associations vote “no”

Photo by Jacob Serebrin

The tentative deal between Quebec student groups, who have been protesting for 13 weeks, and the Charest government, which is planning to raise tuition by $1,778, is being rejected.

At least five CEGEPs held votes and rejected the deal on Monday, as did 10 university faculties at the University of Montreal, Laval University and the University of Quebec’s various campuses. The only student association that accepted the deal was the Cégep de Gaspé, reports CBC News.

The three main student groups’ leaders have sent mixed messages about the deal, which they said they would consult members on this week.

“Is it the perfect deal? I think the answer is no. But is it the best deal we have yet? I think the answer is yes,” said Léo Bureau-Blouin, leader of Quebec’s federation of college students, FECQ.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubios, the leader of CLASSE, an umbrella group of university associations, predicted on Monday that “it’s very probable that a lot of general assemblies will reject the offer.”

Martine Desjardins, president of the Federation Etudiante Universitaire du Québec (FEUC) was even more negative. She told reporters that there was not much support for the agreement.

CLASSE says it will present results of their members’ votes at a special assembly on Friday. The group’s website lists several more protests against the tuition hike planned for later this week.

On Saturday, Quebec’s main student groups came to a tentative agreement with the government that includes the creation of a council that will look at ways to save money on advertising, university management, buildings and more, with savings passed on to students to offset rising fees.

Protesting students have disrupted life across Quebec. In their daily demonstrations, some have vandalized buildings, blocked bridges and kept shoppers away from downtown Montreal.

Only about one-third of students remain “on strike.” Those who are skipping classes have frequently blocked students who have obtained injunctions to allow them to return to classes.

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