On Wednesday morning, Westmount Liberal MNA Jennifer Maccarone presented the petition on behalf of the students, which has garnered nearly 20,000 signatures.
They hope by presenting the petition now, the government will reconsider before tabling its budget on Tuesday.
“What they’re asking for is for the students at Dawson to be treated in the same manner, to be put to the same rules and regulations as all the other CEGEPs in the province of Quebec,” said Maccarone.
The college community was outraged when the government announced in January it would be shelving the CEGEP’s planned $100-million expansion project to instead focus on financing French-language colleges.
The college and the ministry had been working for seven years on plans to build a new pavilion to house the CEGEP’s health and sciences program, which would include a student-run clinic and enough space to incorporate the teaching of new technologies.
The petition states that the college is “suffering from a space deficit,” and says that cancelling the expansion project “will have a negative impact on programs offered to current and future Dawson College students.”
“There cannot be two categories of institutions and two categories of students in the public college system,” the petition reads.
“Dawson students are not just francophones, not just anglophones, not just allophones, bilingual, we have all types of linguistic backgrounds,” said Alexandra Cardona, Dawson Student Union president. “So when François Legault makes that specific distinction between francophone students and anglophone students, we simply don’t believe in that.”
A spokesperson for Quebec’s minister of higher education told Global News the decision not to move forward with the expansion plan has been made and the government will not reconsider.
The Dawson Student Union says it will discuss other ways it can mobilize and says the fight is far from over.