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Letters to the Editor

by Archives March 31, 2009

Dear editor,

I am writing to express disgust at a Facebook message circulated by the Vision slate that made clearly anti-Semitic statements against Jewish students running in the election. At the risk of stating the obvious, Concordians should unequivocally condemn all acts of anti-Semitism and bigotry.
Any act of discrimination should not be tolerated by the Concordia community, and makes me hesitant to vote for a team that could lead Concordia back to the days when Jewish students feared attending class, due to a viciously anti-Semitic student union that went so far as to take away Hillel’s club status, as was done in 2002.
I call upon the Vision party to make a commitment to battling bigotry on this campus, in order to better ensure that intolerance and hate have no place at Concordia.

– Leora Kimmel
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Dear editor,

Like many of my peers, I have found myself in a crisis of the privileged in these gloomy times. In order to succeed in university, we the students are increasingly forced toward our computers, whether it be online readings, databases or e-Journals. Even our term papers require us to toil away for hours in the pale glare of computer screens. Often I ponder over the age of the typewriter, musty books and notes with pen and paper. Were those the glory days?
But how can I reconcile my dislike of the electronic era with the knowledge of the fact that the worlds forests are disappearing? It would be naive to suggest a return to the paper age.
So here I am, sometimes wondering if I am alone in my torment, as I sit in the lecture hall, barely able to see past the rows and rows of blinding flashing computer screens, being told to “check it on Moodle,” whilst at the same time being aware of the importance of conservation.
But while the rest of the university is joining the future, the student newspapers, The Link and The Concordian seem stuck in the past. Week after week I notice more and more the stacks of leftover papers on both campuses, and not once in a while but every single week.
I am not suggesting they abolish printed papers, I understand their importance. And it’s refreshing to actually read from paper; it’s a nice change from the awful screen we so often find ourselves gazing at.
Nostalgia aside, waste is waste. The staff at these two papers can throw their numbers at me, but I shall not be moved. I know what I see, and I see stacks of unused papers.
Can The Link and Concordian please consider reducing the amount of papers they print each week? Try it out. Perhaps if less are printed, not only will paper be saved, but there might even be a new found demand for those that are printed, as less is more.

– Max Kelly
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Dear editor,

This week’s CSU elections were further proof that student politics at Concordia are just a big joke. As expected, this year’s campaign turned dirty amidst accusations of illegal phone calls, ballot box stuffing, and even Facebook hacking. All this for what? For a new group of incompetent individuals to take over the CSU, thanks to the vote of their friends; because Concordia student elections are nothing more than a popularity contest. Most students don’t even care to vote, and those who do are voting for the slate with most posters, prettiest pictures, funniest Youtube videos, and the most Facebook friends.
The result? We end up with an executive most of us didn’t vote for and about which we know very little about. These people suddenly find themselves handling a budget of almost $2 million, thanks to the $1.85 we pay per credit. We basically give the CSU a blank cheque without even being sure what they’re going to do with it.
And of course, we then read in the student papers about funds mishandling, missing money, and thousands of dollars spent in legal fees. Yet despite all the trouble CSU executives get into, they seldom suffer any consequences. Remember the recent petition to bring down the current executive? The CSU basically said “hell no, we won’t go” and dismissed it.
I am tired of giving groups of students so much power in order for them to advance their own personal agendas while claiming they are acting on behalf of the entire student body, giving the responsibility of representing a 300,000 member student body and a $2 million budget might not be a very good idea.
We need complete CSU reform. But while the question of CSU reform has been raised before, including by one of the less popular slates this year, little has changed in the way student politics work at Concordia. If students really want a better government, they need to begin to be more aware of the problems.
Until then no matter who wins in this year’s elections we will probably continue to hear about mismanaged funds, missing money, and legal battles. Because that’s what happens when we let kids play politics.

– Jose Manuel Alvarez
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Dear editor,

I have refrained on commenting upon the past CSU executive because I felt my personal issues with them should not be part of the campaign.
Now that the campaign is over, these are some basic suggestions for consideration by the winners. Firstly, there should be a minimum of two formal audits, during the school year, of all finances. Secondly, all the executive members should have regular office hours for students to see them, to discuss issues. Thirdly, when famous speakers are invited and paid huge sums of money it should be mandatory their speeches to the students be taped. And of course a student campaigning for any municipal, provincial or federal office should be invited to the debates. And lastly regarding the opinion piece “Concordia doesn’t need another Ralph Nader” (March 24), I had one of the greatest privileges and honours of my life to meet and talk with Nader when he came to Concordia. He along with Pierre Trudeau are two of the finest human beings anyone could ever hope to encounter.

David Sommer Rovins
Independent student
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Dear editor,

An article on page 17 of The Concordian called ” Concordia Doesn’t Need Another Ralph Nader” by Jonathan Quinn includes two misleading statements that wrongfully damage the reputation of the CSU Executive.
The second paragraph states that: “Change is the party of the CSU establishment. I don’t need to remind anyone that this year has seen one scandal after another as our student union violated every rule or law that got in their way, covered up missing money and even defied a legally binding recall petition.”
First and foremost, I do understand that this is an opinion piece, but the CSU Executive had never stated that we support or endorse any of the slates running in this election. There have been candidates that ran with us that are currently running with Change and Vision, but we have made it a point not to affiliate or help anyone running from day one.
More importantly, the statement claiming that we concealed missing money is incorrect. The current CSU Executives are actually the ones who disclosed the financial situation to the student money when the audits and investigation provided enough information to create somewhat of a coherent picture. This is probably one of the most transparent acts seen at the CSU in years, and to be accused of concealing this information when we were the ones who had the guts to disclose the deficit is unfair.
The second issue is about the Executive defying a legally binding recall petition. I would like to remind Mr. Quinn what both the CSU Council Chair and the Judicial Board found the petition to be misleading and threw it out on that basis. The Executive had nothing to do with those decisions and shouldn’t be blamed for them. If the JB found the petition not to be misleading and completely valid, the Executive would have had no choice but to campaign to be re-elected in a by-election.

– Elie Chivi, CSU VP communications

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