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Take back Concordia’ topic of forum

by Archives February 13, 2002

Student mobilization was the main topic as the People’s Potato cooked up an open forum last Friday to raise awareness about the workings and concerns of Concordia politics.
A group of about 20 students from various faculties crowded the modest vegan kitchen to take part in a round-table discussion on the administration, the CSU and student life. The People’s Potato Project Co-ordinator Zev Tiefenbach hosted the forum.
“The meeting was held in response to a lot of people feeling frustrated with the student union,” said Tiefenbach.
With the theme Take back Concordia, the meeting was created in light of the recent disorder concerning CSU politics. Many people attending the meeting expressed disapproval over how the Chief Electoral Officer handled the elections last November.
“The CSU has become a fiasco and comical at times,” said Clare-Estelle Daitch, a volunteer at the kitchen. “It’s no longer constructive.”
The forum kicked off with an in-depth look at the university infrastructure, followed by dialogue between students. While many in attendance were already
concerned with Concordia politics, Tiefenbach hoped the meeting would help politicize students who were not previously involved.
The non-profit organization, which attracts an average 400 to 500 students who come to kitchen everyday to receive a free vegan meal, feels raising awareness in students is an important part of their service.
“Because we serve food we are connected,” said Daitch. She believes the position of the People’s Potato within Concordia gives them the opportunity to get students who are not normally involved in their university to learn more and become active.
Tiefenbach, who ran for CSU president last November under the Umbrella Party, advocated grassroots mobilization of diverse students to instigate change.
“We’re trying to get a redistribution of power. Concordia needs more direct participation and decision-making by students.”
According to Tiefenbach, there are many reasons why students should mobilize, namely the administration’s refusal to acknowledge the CSU.
Daitch believes the reason students are not more active in university politics is because they are not included in the administration’s decisions. “Students feel alienated. They need to understand the structure.”
Rodger Solmerano, an undergraduate form the faculty of arts and science, disagreed. “Students are not involved in school politics because their main concern is to learn. They can’t be bothered with trying to change the administration because that’s just another distraction.”
With the overall success of this meeting, Tiefenbach said another open forum is to be expected. “We left it up to those who were there to just go with it. They wanted to organize another one and the People’s Potato is committed to helping them.”

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