“We want to be reimbursed for what we have lost.
Economic Justice Concordia, a new group of students, is asking for reimbursement of university tuition fees for the summer and fall semesters.
“We believe this is due to the low quality of education, which has put exorbitant pressure on students to work harder, in many cases by learning on their own, while also feeling the effects of global pandemic, “the group wrote in a press release.
The first step in their campaign is to send a letter to the university administration. “We ask them to support us. We don’t want to start by upsetting the administration because it is a key partner in getting there. We know that it is not only the administration that sets the tuition rate […] we know it’s coming from the provincial government, ”said EJC team member Ace Baldwin.
“It’s not just about how much we paid in tuition. It’s about payment for services, and we haven’t had much or no access to the services that we continue to pay for, ”Baldwin said. “In fact, our tuition fees have increased in a year when the campus has been essentially closed and international students around the world do not have access to books or basic materials.”
The EJC also listed a lack of services due to the campus closure, lack of access to TAs and support systems as grounds for reimbursement. They also highlighted the difficulties faced by international students, who pay around $ 20,000 to have classes scheduled at odd hours of the night due to time differences.
“We believe this is the first step in securing justice for the students who have been harmed by the management of our education during the pandemic, as well as an important step towards free tuition,” EJC wrote.
“It’s not just about how much we paid in tuition. This is payment for services, and we haven’t had much or no access to the services we continue to pay for.
– As Baldwin
“[With] the injustices that we are currently facing within the student body, many of us felt that this was not acceptable, especially as we increasingly pay tuition and fees, especially the international students, ”Baldwin said. “We want to be reimbursed for what we have lost.
In addition to a tuition and administrative fee reimbursement, they also require Concordia to publish how student tuition fees are spent, since mandatory fees are currently private.
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They also want pass / fail grading to no longer be limited to one grade per semester, in addition to wanting students to be able to change their grades for past pandemic semesters from an alphabetic grade to a pass / fail grading.
The return of course evaluations is also on their list of demands. The questions would be tailored for online course delivery. “You would think they would like to know more than ever, with all these new forms of learning and new forms of assessment, how students are doing in these courses and what feedback they have for them,” they said. .
Stopping the use of Proctorio or any other monitoring service for exams is another of their requests and the search for a new, less invasive method of evaluation.
Finally, EJC wants the university to offer the same amount of health coverage to international students as to Quebec students at no additional cost to the student. They want to make mental health services free and accessible, and increase the availability of mental health personnel by hiring psychiatrists and psychologists specializing in trauma, BIPOC, LGBTQ2S +.
“Despite paying additional fees for mental health support, it can still take weeks or months to wait to see someone,” Baldwin added.
“We don’t just have to sit down and take whatever is thrown at us. Collective action works, ”they said.