Last Wednesday, Concordia’s student press was disrupted when university employees took issues of The Link off their stands while refusing to give the Concordian’s distribution manager access to the paper’s latest issue.
Richard Young, director of facilities operation for Concordia, took full responsibility for the situation. He said the problem stemmed from miscommunication between him and his employees.
“They were asked to remove some palettes from the lobby,” Young said. “But they misunderstood and began taking papers from the stands.”
Both The Concordian and The Link had extensive coverage of last week’s Concordia Student Union (CSU) elections. and with Young was asked if the problem had to do with the next elected executive, he had no comment.
“I’ve been receiving calls from student groups about conspiracies with the elections and you have to understand that this was just a big misunderstanding,” Young said. “I’ve been working at the university for 30 years and I’d never want to get involved with that.”
“I apologize ten-fold. We’re working to make sure that this situation never happens again.”
Judge Basarke doesn’t think it was just a misunderstanding. The distribution manager for the Concordian said his normal work week was going according to plan until he began piling issues of the paper onto his buggy.
“I was told I couldn’t distribute the paper because they got a call [advising against it],” Basarke said. “Then they came with a forklift and locked the papers behind a cage.”
According to Basarke, one worker said he couldn’t take the papers because they could’ve swayed the vote for the election.
That worker was Jonathan Winter, a helper in the distribution department. In a telephone interview, Winter admitted making the claim but apologized for what he said was just an assumption.
“I started thinking something other than what it was,” said the part-time Concordia student. “Because of the election, I thought it had something to do with it.”
Winter said he received a call from Gerry Barrette, interim manager for Concordia’s distribution facilities, asking the distribution employees to move The Concordian issues for fire safety reasons. However, Winter said the employees misunderstood the request and decided to lock the issues behind a cage. Barrette wasn’t available for comment.
At the Link’s offices, editor-in-chief ,Tracey Lindeman-Jarvis said she doesn’t believe the administration’s claims that the situation was a result of miscommunication.
“When we asked them who called, they told us they didn’t know,” Jarvis said. “So we asked why they were taking orders from anonymous sources. We don’t really believe them and we’re asking for a formal apology.”
Svelta Turnin, presidential candidate for Conscious during the CSU elections, said the situation would’ve been “very dangerous” had the two newspapers been put on hold longer. Turnin and her party lost the election by 537 votes.
“It could’ve affected the election, but I was glad [the newspapers] were released. This has to do with freedom of speech for the independent media,” Turnin said.
Newly elected CSU President Khaleed Juma heard little about the media’s problems. Having been informed by a Link employee, Juma denied involvement with the situation.
“I’ve been accused of knowing people who were behind this but I don’t know anything. Nobody I know had anything to do with what happened,” Juma said.
CEO for the CSU elections, Danniella Brazel, reiterated Juma’s sentiments and said that she too had heard little about The Link’s problems and wasn’t aware that The Concordian had come out three hours late at the SGW campus.
“I would hope students wouldn’t just look in the paper to see who to vote for,” Brazel said, adding that she didn’t think the situation swayed election results.
Both The Concordian and The Link are weekly independent student newspapers that receive a portion of their funding from student fee levies. The Concordian receives 10 cents per student per credit, while the Link receives 19 cents.