Montpellier, France News Roundup for October 4, 2018

Pink October in Montpellier

This campaign to raise awareness about breast cancer, which affects one out of every eight women, is highlighted by the decorative pink umbrellas above the rue de la Loge in historic downtown Montpellier. A debate regarding prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for breast cancer has been organized by the newspaper the Midi Libre today at 5:00pm live from the rue de la Loge.

Bedbugs in the University Dorms

There appears to be an epidemic of bedbugs in the beds of two Montpellier university dormitories: Boutonnet and Triolet. Despite students’ complaints, the administration tells students that they can continue to sleep in their rooms because their insect bites are because of mosquitoes. The student union “Le Scum” (I’m not kidding – it stands for Syndicat de Combat Universitaire de Montpellier) has demanded that the administration disinfect the dormitories and provide information to the students. They have also created an online petition and invite students to sign it.

Rumblings of a Student Strike This Month at Université Paul Valéry

Speaking of the universities, a general assembly meeting was held yesterday at Université Paul Valéry with students from two student unions: “Solidaires” et “le Scum” (I still can’t get over that name). It was decided to request from the President of UPV that classes and exams be cancelled on October 9 and 16 to allow for student protests of  two university reforms: Parcoursup and the arrêté Licence.

Parcoursup is a web platform designed to manage university applications of graduating high school seniors in France. Launched in early 2018, it replaced the former Admission Post-Bac system that had been widely criticized because of its lottery-style process. Parcoursup allows for a more individualized application procedure based on the merits and motivation of students, which is criticized by some as unjust and not transparent.

The arrêté Licence, also new this year, is an order that affects the French Licence diploma (similar to the American B.A.). It reduces the number of course hours in favor of internships and also allows for the possibility of financial aid students to lose their aid in case of failing grades. This second aspect of the order is motivating student protests.

The President of UPV, Patrick Gilli, has refused the student unions’ requests for the cancellation of classes and exams on October 9 and 16. He explained that the students have a right to protest but that they should not deprive their fellow students of education by disrupting the university.

I expect that tensions will be high on October 9.

International Fair in Montpellier

This is the 70th anniversary of the International Fair of Montpellier at the Parc des expositions, held from October 5 – 15. From an exposition of 1980’s music, TV, and cinema to an impressive display of new inventions, you can enjoy international and regional exhibitions. There will be even be a 1980’s dance party on October 9 and a “speedcubing” contest on October 13-14. Entrance is daily from October 5 – 15 from 10:00am to 7:00pm except for October 15 when the fair will close at 6:00pm. Tickets purchased online cost 5€ or 7€ if you purchase them directly at the fair.



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