In recent times, many have come to the defense of the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), which is certainly going through difficult times and whose specific missions that led to its creation are being undermined. Although I am delighted with this rediscovered love, we must not fall into misery.

UQAM is not a bloodless university housed in an abandoned neighborhood. Without denying its issues and its challenges, we must mobilize positively to rediscover its ideals and allow UQAM to regain its place, regain its places!

UQAM is unparalleled strength and resilience. The university has been delivering excellence, accessibility and innovation for 50 years, and certainly for the next 50.

Excellent because it is the open public university, which has always sought to offer tangible contributions to society, both in teaching and in research and creation.

Accessible because, in its short history, UQAM will have graduated more than 300,000 students, thus shaping Quebec society. UQAM has always had, above all, this unique mission of training first-generation French-speaking Quebecers.

Innovative because it has translated this accessibility into new and current forms.

During the pandemic, a Benoit Barbeau, virologist and professor in the department of biological sciences at UQAM, was in the public square to help us better understand this virus and help design public health policies. A Charles-Philippe David, a Valérie Beaudoin and a Frédérick Gagnon, from the Raoul-Dandurand Chair, are at the forefront when it comes to explaining the intricacies of American politics. A Rachel Chagnon, from the Department of Legal Sciences, helps us understand the complex legal issues of gender identities and violence against women.

We have expertise that can contribute to the development of our society in health and social services (psychology, sexology and social work): nothing less next to a CHUM! We have expertise that can contribute to the development of our company’s history, in collaboration with BAnQ. We have expertise that can contribute to improving the quality of our environment, in a Montreal that is looking for ways to fight climate change.

Underinvestment at UQAM has been a real problem for more than two decades. But the answer to this observation cannot be limited to a long and eternal complaint. The experience of other Montreal universities clearly indicates that the government always seems to listen to the unifying and mobilizing projects carried out by university institutions.

We must find this special place in the heart of the government, which itself saw to the creation of this University of Quebec, the one and only university resulting from the will of the Government of Quebec, with a project of society and openness to the world for Quebecers.

UQAM is today, and more than ever, the gateway to Francophone and Francophile brains in Montreal. This role is crucial, because it is in Montreal that French is declining in Quebec. It is in Montreal that we must act if we wish to revitalize the French language. UQAM, through its mission as a French-speaking university in the heart of Montreal, is a key player in the Government of Quebec’s next francization strategy. To play this role well, UQAM must regain its attractiveness.

Here, there is clearly a strategic alignment between the university and the government that would justify specific funding envelopes. This requires mutual trust, which is important to maintain.

Unsurprisingly, several UQAM graduates sit on the Council of Ministers, including Pascale Déry, Eric Girard, Jean-François Roberge, Martine Biron and Christopher Skeete. They know very well the full potential of UQAM and its ability to support the Government of Quebec in its various projects.

Supporting UQAM will mean supporting the redeployment of the Latin Quarter, the Quartier des Spectacles and downtown. Creating an arts pavilion above the Saint-Laurent metro entrance will revitalize the neighborhood while bringing vitality and creative effervescence to Montreal. Finally, UQAM will be able – through its various and numerous cutting-edge expertise – to support the governance of the metropolis in the revitalization of the east end of Montreal.

It is not the talents that are lacking, it is a sense, a direction, a vision that must be embodied in a leadership imbued with confidence.