Last night, a video was brought to my attention that shows a Concordia University classroom taken over by students on “strike.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eVJjs-0d9w (And this is not the only one!)
(“Strike” is in quotations because student associations, as the corporations that they are, do not have that legal right, but that’s a topic for another day.)
This is a clear case of people substituting their view of what is right for the view of others. Some students believe that the proposed tuition hikes in Quebec (that will become law in just a few days) merit going on “strike” and not going to the classes that they paid for. They believe that it is smarter, wiser, and more mature to skip these classes, thereby not getting credit for them, and then taking them again in a future year where the cost for the same class will be higher. If this doesn’t make sense to you, you’re not alone. This completely illogical, childish decision is reason enough that this juveniles should get their asses back to class and get their learn on.
That I disagree with the strike action, despite my logical backing, does not make me right. Students have the right to not attend their own classes, even if they paid for them, if that is their wish. However, as a great quote rightly notes, “one person’s freedom ends where another person’s freedom begins.” These students do not have the right to prevent others from going to class, learning, and getting value for what they paid for.
So, what should be done about instances like the one shown in the video? Well, these kids (a term I believe appropriate given their behaviour) believe that it’s okay to shock and be loud to make a statement. I think we should shock them, loudly, to make a statement of our own. I propose that the police be called in to arrest each person who participates in preventing a fellow student from learning in a classroom. Arrest them, you ask? What law did they break?
A simple reading of the Criminal Code of Canada shows a clear violation of the theft statute. Have a read:
322. (1) Every one commits theft who fraudulently and without colour of right takes, […] anything, whether animate or inanimate, with intent
(a) to deprive, temporarily or absolutely, the owner of it, or a person who has a special property or interest in it, of the thing or of his property or interest in it;
By barging into a classroom in session and preventing fellow students from participating in classes they paid for, not only are these demonstrators guilty of extreme selfishness and horribly bad judgement, the above statute clearly shows that they are guilty of theft, as they are depriving, even temporarily, the owner of the right to an education of their interest in that education.
So come on, Montreal Police and Crown Prosecutors, you have arrested people on crazy, creative charges in the past, the difference this time is that the law actually supports you here. So use the clear video evidence, identify the education-thieving perpetrators and arrest them immediately so that the smarter, more mature students can get what they paid for and what we as society need them to have, an education.