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my opinion

by Archives September 18, 2002

I am writing on behalf of myself and any other students who feel the way I do, but seem to have lost their voice! After recent events that have taken place at Concordia University, I feel it is time someone voiced their true feelings on the issue. I am sending it to you incase there will be any furutre coverages on the events.

24th September 2002
It has been only 3 weeks since I became a student of Concordia University and I must say I am not at all impressed with the way in which the ‘so called’ authorities attempt to handle the affairs of which are going on at present in the university.
I do not know about the rest of us, but I was under the impression that university education was supposed to be orientated towards teaching students how to take personal responsibility for themselves, as well as teaching us the necessary skills required in dealing and co-operating with other people out in the ‘real’ world. It seems I was seriously misled! That is, in terms of the events I have witnessed there over the past few weeks and I have seen nothing but a show of sheer irresponsibility and somewhat wreckless human behaviour as a result!
I am sure you are all aware of the events of which I am referring to here, that is, the riot which took place on September 9th and all of the circumstances that followed as a result of this riot when the former Prime Minister of Isreal made ‘guest’ appearance at Concordia! What was that all about? I mean, isn’t that just asking for trouble on its own? Not forgetting that it was only two days before September 11th ! In my own opinion and what I am sure is the opinion of other students too in the university, either it was a decision that was made out of sheer ignorance or perhaps just plain stupidity! I think it is an outrage that the thought should have even entered the minds of the people who allowed him to show up in Concordia in the first place.

I am in the understanding that the speech which was to take place by Benjamin Netanyahu was intended only for attendance by Jewish students. Under such circumstances, shouldn’t the man be speaking in either a synagogue or a Jewish community centre? It was so unfair to disregard the feelings and concerns of the students in the school who have a background from a different religion or cultural group and we cannot blame them for creating an uproar under the circumstances and considering the fact that 1/5 of the students alone are Muslim!
Personally, I am not at all bias in terms of the situation that is going on the Middle East. I am from Scotland and to be honest, I am pretty much uneducated and not even merely interested in becoming involved in any of the religious or political conflict that goes on in the world. I believe it is nothing but a waste of time and energy. In the end we are all human beings, believing in the same God, sharing the same planet and breathing the same air supply, so why can’t we just get on with life and each other peacefully? Is it not enough when we open the newspaper and switch on the television each day and all we are faced with is images of war and conflict? The last place I expected to be witnessing similar acts of inhumane behaviour is in the place where I am ‘allegedly’ obtaining an education in an attempt to better myself and my life in the future.
I am involved in an internet website project called The Free Spirit Centre, where myself and other writers write articles based upon personal growth and healing. It had been planned since before the semester begun to have a display table in Concordia where myself and the others involved in the site would present some of our work to the students. I turned up today only to be informed that I could not have my table as there had been a ban placed upon on ‘freedom of expression’ in the university. I spent a great deal of my time and money in preparing the display and not even one person from the office who has the responsibility of booking these tables had the decency to officially inform me of the ban and the fact I would not be permitted to present my work. I feel so disgusted, let down and thoroughly discouraged from making any future attempts of giving my spare time to contribute toward helping the university in my own way.
I do understand the ban where the situation of the Middle East is concerned as I don’t feel it is necessary to be dealing with such issues in an education establishment anyway. However, what I don’t understand is why other students who have no involvement with these religious and political issues should be made to suffer too, especially in the case where we are attempting to do something for the benefit of everyone without paying particular attention to specific cultural or religious groups. It enraged me enough that I missed two classes when the Hall building was closed on the day of the riot, now myself and other students are suffering further loss because the authorities are either too ignorant, lazy or just plain incapable of properly handling the mess they created themselves in the first instance!
I am beginning to regret my decision to study at Concordia University. If this is the impression I receive of the university after only 3 weeks of being a student, I am afraid of what further events will unfold in the future there. This is supposed to be an education establishment not a war zone and if this is what we as students are learning from the examples set by the authority in terms of handling responsibility, then I hate to think about what generation of adults are being created for tomorrows world. Just think about it!

Ashleigh Stewart
ashleigh@freespiritcentre.info
www.freespiritcentre.info

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