This year has no doubt been a trying year for Concordia and its students. The university was voted as one of the biggest losers this year by CJAD announcer Marianna Simeone (a former Concordia student) and the reputation that the university was trying to build as having some of the best programs in the country for business, journalism and film was overshadowed by the actions of a few.
Some low points of the semester:
In August, the administration suggested that Chartwells, the food provider at Concordia, set up a cafeteria on the Mezzanine. The fact that the administration even considered taking space away from students shows a lack of respect for students. This is the only student space where job fairs, cultural, academic and charity events can take place and where the greatest number of students can participate. The whole idea of these events is to have the participation of as many students as possible.
Another low point was being labeled “the hot-bed” of Israeli-Palestinian tension after the cancelled Sept. 9 speech of former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The high tension of that day is etched in the minds of the public and this label will undoubtedly stick for years to come.
The installment of the moratorium preventing Israeli-Palestinian events from taking place, which totally contradicted the administration’s viewpoint that freedom of speech is to be respected, angered students even more.
Furthermore, students took more actions to lift the ban that in turn brought more negative publicity. The Concordia Student Union invited members of parliament to speak to students in November in order to break the moratorium. By preventing the MPs from speaking, the administration placed itself once again in the headlines. The notion that any publicity is a good thing is false. Bad publicity is very damaging, especially if the institution like Concordia was drenched with it this semester.
Then over the holidays, the CSU took away the club privileges and funding from Hillel because the club was looking for Jewish students to volunteer for a three-month program of the Israeli Defence Force. This has resulted in Hillel suing the student union for $100,000. It was the CSU’s hasty actions that brought back the school in the headlines.
Despite losing out, Concordia can get out of this low if it takes actions to cool down the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on campus. Realistically speaking, there is no way to get rid of the tension entirely since there is still a conflict in the region, but getting both groups to agree to principles of mutual respect is a starting point. The university has gotten on the right foot by appointing Peter C