Queen’s Socialists hold affordable tuition event

AMS executive condemns “vandalism” as means of protest

Student signs CFS petition in favour of free tuition.
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When AMS President Tyler Lively walked into the AMS offices on Saturday morning, he noticed that “there were stickers and posters everywhere”. After reading their messages, he labelled it an act of vandalism.

The stickers were placed by supporters of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), and covered the walls of the AMS offices, across the JDUC and into the Queen’s Centre on Friday night.

The timing lined up with the CFS’ National Day of Action on tuition increases, which was held on campuses across the country on Nov. 2. The Queen’s Socialists group had signed up to organize the day’s events, despite some controversy around the CFS and their mandate.

After originally booking a space in Mac-Corry, where the Queen’s Socialists had organized a day of tabling and a free food, the AMS rescinded the group’s booked space and issued a lengthy statement from Lively condemning the action of “vandalism”.

“This weekend, the AMS Offices, JDUC, and Queen’s Centre were vandalized in the middle of the night with unauthorized stickers and posters produced by the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS),” Lively wrote. “These disrespectful tactics are typical of the CFS.”

He argued that the CFS “consistently demonstrates hostility to any ideas that do not conform with their hard line ideology,” and that “when the AMS joins our partner schools to lobby at Queen’s Park, it’s on behalf of our 17,000 undergraduates and not the narrow interests and pet projects of a privileged few.”

Lively raised examples of the CFS’ stance on fossil fuel divestment and Israeli politics. 

“Flashy rhetoric and revolutionary slogans displace the hard-work required effect change. Their tactics are not only ineffective, they are deplorable,” he wrote.

Lively confirmed in an interview that the clubs office is reaching out to the Queen’s Socialists about their act of vandalism and confirmed that the group’s booking had been cancelled.

The group wasn’t allowed to make any more bookings for the remainder of the week.

However, the cancelled booking didn’t eliminate the event from happening elsewhere on campus.

The group moved their event outside to University Ave, and continued to talk with students about the prospect of free tuition, giving away information booklets and encouraging students to sign their petition.

Jonathan Shepherd, ArtSci ’17, was one of Queen’s Socialists representatives at the table. At the event, he spoke to The Journal about the Day of Action and why they were in support of it.

“Today, four out of ten students are food insecure, and part of that is to do with the cost of tuition,” he said. To him, reducing poverty will require taking a close look at education costs.

“We want to pressure all levels of government to invest in students and invest in our collective future,” Shepherd said.

Available information packs on the table also included material from the postdoctoral equity campaign. The postdoctoral union at Queen’s, PSAC 901, issued a statement supporting the CFS’ Day of Action.

“We are in 100 percent solidarity with the Postdoctoral scholars and their decision to stand up for their labour rights and strike,” Shepherd said.

“We have an open invitation to the Alma Mater Society of Queen’s to take a stand for students and advocate for free education,” he said. “Because there’s a lot of students on this campus suffering.”

The Queen’s Socialists issued a press release on Nov. 3 condemning “the choice of some club members to put ‘Fight The Fees!’ stickers up. The club is grateful for the publicity this has brought us, and we’re excited over 100 students have signed [our] petition for free education, now!”

The release continued to express disappointment in the AMS Executive, whom they claim are “trying to distract and make a big deal out of relatively insignificant stickers.”

As for Lively’s statement, they labelled it “unprecedented, and unprofessional political posturing.”

The group also affirmed their autonomy from the CFS, writing that “we certainly don’t take marching orders from anyone” and that they hope to have a productive relationship in future with the AMS.

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