Montreal, March 19th, 2020.
The Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) is hoping to prevent hundreds of students from being put out of their homes on four days’ notice during a pandemic, leaving students vulnerable and scrambling to take care of themselves. ASFA understands and respects the sanitary directives issued by the Government, but does not believe that these require the eviction of students. This is an extremely stressful situation for anyone to be put in, but especially for international students who are completely reliant on the Concordia residence for shelter and food. Therefore, ASFA is calling on the administration to immediately halt all evictions of students living in Concordia residences.
The notice delivered on Wednesday, March 18th, from Concordia requires student residents to leave by Sunday, March 22nd. This affects hundreds of international, out of province and Quebec students who cannot return home for various reasons and leaves them with just four days to find new housing. The expectation of the University for students to meet these demands is unreasonable not only with such short notice, but for all these students to be able to adjust before being expected to continue their studies online the following day on Monday, March 23rd. Montreal’s housing vacancy rate was 1.5% in 2019, the lowest it’s been in 20 years. Given this is the case, students should have received adequate notice, and should have been informed of the possibility of having to leave the residence from Concordia.
“It is unbelievable that the university would require hundreds of students to leave on such short notice, with what seems to be no plan or housing supports for the students, especially in the middle of a pandemic when people are being told to stay put where they are,” says Evan Lee, general coordinator of the Arts and Science Federation. “As a student being told to leave myself, I find this extremely stressful at an already difficult time.”
The Civil Code of Quebec ensures that full-time students have a right to stay in on-campus housing for the term of their lease, making Concordia's decision alarming. While other universities such as Bishop's and McGill have put out statements encouraging students to leave their on-campus residence, no students are required to leave. ASFA is calling for an immediate end to students being evicted, and for the criteria for exceptional wellbeing of all students. We are also ready to move forward with any legal action necessary to protect and ensure all students are receiving the help and support they deserve during this difficult time.
For more information or to set up an interview, contact:
General Coordinator, Arts & Science Federation of Associations
The Arts & Science Federation of Associations represents 17,000 students in the Faculty of Arts and Science at Concordia University.