04/25/2012 05:53 EDT | Updated 06/25/2012 05:12 EDT

Students Silence New Concordia President

Flickr: shahk

A group of students stormed an event at Concordia University Tuesday, where the school's incoming president was to be introduced to the student body.

Alan Shepard, the unanimous choice of the university's board of governors to be the institution's next president, was supposed to speak to students for the first time.

Instead, student Alex Matak commanded the audience's attention, using a megaphone to chant: “Education under attack!” About two dozen students responded with, “What do we do? Stand up. Fight back.”

The event was cancelled, and Shepard left without getting to speak.

Matak said she wanted to send a message to the new president that students are unhappy.

"It was about making a clear statement that regardless of who is filling that position, this kind of disruption will continue to occur," said Matak.

Concordia student union member Cameron Monagle told the CBC he has mixed feelings about the disruption.

“I was disappointed about the fact that we now don’t have this opportunity to meet potentially the new president,” he said.

But Monagle said he understands Matak’s actions. He said the university has made no concerted efforts to reach out to striking students.

Thousands of Concordia University students have been boycotting classes for the past two months to demonstrate their opposition to Quebec's decision to increase tuition fees by $1,625 over the next five years.

Concordia University spokesperson Chris Mota said it was an unfortunate introduction for the new president.

"He was disappointed, as was the entire community. We had quite a bit of feedback from those who really wanted to hear Dr. Shepard speak and were denied that opportunity," said Mota.

Mota said Shepard is determined to continue to reach out to the university community.

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