Re: Tuition abroad
Letter to the Editor:
I’d like to react to Andrew Haig’s statement in the Feb. 26 edition of The Concordian, in which he writes, “In those countries where it has reached its nadir (France and Germany come to mind) the cheapness of tuition is always and everywhere matched by the narrowness of access to a university education for all but those able to wield influence within the system.”
This is the least accurate thing I’ve read in quite a while. I’m French, from Paris, currently living in Montreal, and I’d like to explain how it actually works overseas.
Apart from not overburdening the “genuinely hungry” with taxes (can you picture France being a third world country?), the only requirement for the “chosen few” to enter our free universities (even in Paris) is . . . to graduate from high school. Now this doesn’t sound like super high standards, even though Canada’s government estimates that a French “baccalaureate,” i.e. a high school diploma, is equivalent to a Quebec DEC (source: http://184.108.40.206/dpi/pdf/fr/diplome-francais.pdf).
No need to improve your grades in college or anything like that. All a foreigner needs to enter a French university is to prove he graduated from high school and pass an exam assessing his level of French.
Now, if drastic selection is what you are afraid of, maybe you should offer free education instead of letting the poor remain poor and uneducated until the end of forever.
The article “Fine Arts, Bad Facilities,” by Jennifer Freitas and Yannic Wolfe (The Concordian, Feb. 26), reported erroneously that the Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA) had partnered with the CSU in its petition regarding facilities problems in fine arts. In fact, this petition was produced by the CSU, not by FASA.
It should be stated that FASA takes issue with the petition’s serious, but doubtful allegation that the faculty of fine arts suffers from “mismanagement of funds.” It may also be worth noting that it is chiefly because of this allegation that FASA executive members have not been circulating the CSU’s petition.
The facilities issues that fine arts are facing owe themselves chiefly to a lack of funds relative to other faculties, not to mismanagement. That the university gives fine arts less funding than it deserves – even as it trumpets the achievements of this, its most highly reputed faculty – is well known. But, while the faculty’s and students’ priorities may not always be exactly alike, we have absolutely no reason to believe that the funds the faculty does receive are being mismanaged.
Finally, it needs to be stated that, except for the above allegation, it is quite accurate to say that fine arts facilities suffer from myriad ongoing problems – problems which the petition highlights, and on which FASA has pushed for action during the past couple of years. We do applaud this year’s CSU for making an effort to take up these issues and look out for the interests of fine arts students – who, after all, are their members, too.
Re: the Judicial Board
and School Politics
To date, I’ve refrained from being vocal on all matters concerning Concordia and the CSU because frankly, I never really gave two f—-. When running in the CSU elections last year I talked a lot of s—-, even though most of the time I had no idea what I was saying. In reality, all I really wanted to do was throw a ton of parties and events where people of all faculties could participate, network, and feel comfortable, as if they had a place in every building, hall, and classroom in this institution. However, now that I have a better understanding about what’s going on, here’s what I have to say:
First, let me say that from a student’s perspective, the CSU has shown me a great time this year; granted, a number of the ideas they’ve run with so far seem all too familiar to those I proposed when I applied for orientation director last summer, but let’s just chalk that up to coincidence. However, what the affiliated Unity councilors are proposing with the judicial board, our last independent governing body (not unlike Steve Rosenshein), is truly outlandish. By forcing an annual vote, the JB will likely fall victim to the power struggles that we have seen over the past year. Keeping a seat could prove more important than resolving pertinent “political” issues. This, along with allowing council to overturn their decisions, will essentially transform the JB into a non-entity, existing solely to fill the void of a once functioning student government.
Now that I’m ranting, the whole council of representatives has gone to s—. The divide between Unity and Go resembles that of Canadian politics. It’s gotten to the point where Go opposes Unity for no reason other than because they’re the opposition, and vice versa. S—, half of the time they can’t even agree on the agenda for the council meeting; I’m surprised they get anything done. Not to say that there’s no talent there, because there certainly is, but the groupthink that exudes from the council of representatives’ orifices, to quote Ron Burgundy: “stings the nostrils. I’m gonna be honest with you, [it] smells like pure gasoline.”
Anyway, looking at the Unity Party – though I think they’ve done a fine job this year – they’ve failed to see that the point of student politics shouldn’t be about retaining power, but about helping all students, which unfortunately requires cooperating with the opposition.