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Letters to the Editor

by admin October 20, 2009

Letters to the Editor

by admin October 20, 2009

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by admin October 13, 2009

Letters to the Editor

by admin October 7, 2009

International Day of Climate Action

October 24th is the International Day of Climate Action, and while the rest of the planet is getting ready, it is time we unite to represent our town. According to 350.org, the levels of CO2 are currently way above sustainable levels, at 390 ppm (parts per million). However, if we unite, we can bring these levels down to 350 ppm, what scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The United Nations is working on a global climate treaty, which is supposed to be completed in December of 2009 at a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. This October, we are asking the Concordia community to get involved by joining us to save our planet and have our voices heard.
How? Here are some of the events related to the CSU’s “Fight Off Climate Change” Campaign
“Bike for Clean Air”
On October 20th leave your cars at home and join students, faculty and staff as we all bike our way to Concordia.
Free Peoples Potato Lunch at the Reggies Terrace at 2:00pm
10:00am to 5:00pm (All Concordia)
“Municipal elections Debate”
7:00pm to 8:00pm (Sev Theater, LB building)
Tuesday October 20th
Screening “The Age of Stupid”
Why didn’t we stop climate change while we had the chance?
8:00pm to 10:30pm (H-110)
Thursday October 22nd
We hope to see you at some of these events!

– John Kyras- VP Sustainability and Projects (CSU)

“350 Concordia Bikes to Mount Royal, “Jamdown” and “350 Montreal”

2:00pm to 5:00pm (H-Building, Mount-Royal and City Hall)
The Concordia Student Unions is looking to Recruit 350 people to bike Montréal on October 24th. The Bike ride will go to historic and environmental sites across the city and will conclude at Montreal’s City Hall, where we will join the International Call for Action on Climate Change for 3:50pm sharp.
Contact: campaigncoordinator@csu.qc.ca
Jamdown 350 Montréal is looking to recruit 350 volunteers to play at City Hall on October 24th. Ideas and networks you possess can help us further the cause. If you know how to play a portable instrument and would like to be part of the event &- please let us know! If not &- you can help us in a many other ways, so don’t be shy!
If you are interested to know about any of events, how you can help or need more information, please email us at:
Contact: jamdown350mtl@gmail.com
Hope to see you all there!

– Alejandro Lobo-Guerrero (CSU Campaigns Coordinator)

Townhall Meetings- How you can help improve the Concordia Experience!

Your student union will be hosting three General Information Session Meetings with the next weeks, on both campuses!
The purpose of these meetings is to engage the student body in a few topics of discussion, namely in response to the result from a survey we sent to you in September.
For these meetings the topics of discussion will cover student input for more Library Services, a Student Centre, Recreational Facilities as well as the possibilities of Sponsoring Student Refugee.
October 20th 11:30-14:00 “Friends of the Library Room” Third floor of the Webster Library (SGW).
October 27th 11:30-14:00 “Friends of the Library Room” Third floor of the Webster Library (SGW).
November 3rd 14:30-16:00 “The Hive”(SC-205)Above the Cafeteria (LOY).
We hope to host more “Townhall” Meetings throughout the year. Come and Participate in Democracy in Action!

For more information, contact Helen Downie VP Academic & Policy Reform academic@csu.qc.ca

– Helen Downie

International Day of Climate Action

October 24th is the International Day of Climate Action, and while the rest of the planet is getting ready, it is time we unite to represent our town. According to 350.org, the levels of CO2 are currently way above sustainable levels, at 390 ppm (parts per million). However, if we unite, we can bring these levels down to 350 ppm, what scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The United Nations is working on a global climate treaty, which is supposed to be completed in December of 2009 at a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. This October, we are asking the Concordia community to get involved by joining us to save our planet and have our voices heard.
How? Here are some of the events related to the CSU’s “Fight Off Climate Change” Campaign
“Bike for Clean Air”
On October 20th leave your cars at home and join students, faculty and staff as we all bike our way to Concordia.
Free Peoples Potato Lunch at the Reggies Terrace at 2:00pm
10:00am to 5:00pm (All Concordia)
“Municipal elections Debate”
7:00pm to 8:00pm (Sev Theater, LB building)
Tuesday October 20th
Screening “The Age of Stupid”
Why didn’t we stop climate change while we had the chance?
8:00pm to 10:30pm (H-110)
Thursday October 22nd
We hope to see you at some of these events!

– John Kyras- VP Sustainability and Projects (CSU)

“350 Concordia Bikes to Mount Royal, “Jamdown” and “350 Montreal”

2:00pm to 5:00pm (H-Building, Mount-Royal and City Hall)
The Concordia Student Unions is looking to Recruit 350 people to bike Montréal on October 24th. The Bike ride will go to historic and environmental sites across the city and will conclude at Montreal’s City Hall, where we will join the International Call for Action on Climate Change for 3:50pm sharp.
Contact: campaigncoordinator@csu.qc.ca
Jamdown 350 Montréal is looking to recruit 350 volunteers to play at City Hall on October 24th. Ideas and networks you possess can help us further the cause. If you know how to play a portable instrument and would like to be part of the event &- please let us know! If not &- you can help us in a many other ways, so don’t be shy!
If you are interested to know about any of events, how you can help or need more information, please email us at:
Contact: jamdown350mtl@gmail.com
Hope to see you all there!

– Alejandro Lobo-Guerrero (CSU Campaigns Coordinator)

Townhall Meetings- How you can help improve the Concordia Experience!

Your student union will be hosting three General Information Session Meetings with the next weeks, on both campuses!
The purpose of these meetings is to engage the student body in a few topics of discussion, namely in response to the result from a survey we sent to you in September.
For these meetings the topics of discussion will cover student input for more Library Services, a Student Centre, Recreational Facilities as well as the possibilities of Sponsoring Student Refugee.
October 20th 11:30-14:00 “Friends of the Library Room” Third floor of the Webster Library (SGW).
October 27th 11:30-14:00 “Friends of the Library Room” Third floor of the Webster Library (SGW).
November 3rd 14:30-16:00 “The Hive”(SC-205)Above the Cafeteria (LOY).
We hope to host more “Townhall” Meetings throughout the year. Come and Participate in Democracy in Action!

For more information, contact Helen Downie VP Academic & Policy Reform academic@csu.qc.ca

– Helen Downie

re: Tuition increases improve access (Sept. 29)

Editors of The Concordian, please get your facts and arguments straight. Your editorial piece, “Tuition Increases Improve Access” tried to make the case that higher tuition improves access by claiming that Harvard graduates had a debt between $18,000 and $20,000 US, compared to $25,000 in Canada. This apple-and-orange comparison doesn’t take into account the demographic of Harvard, an ivy-league university accessible mostly for the rich. To compare nation-wide statistics with ivy-league statistics requires a leap of the imagination.
Do tuition increases improve access? Numerous studies decisively show that tuition increase does not improve access, especially for those in the lower income bracket. In 2007, the Quebec Ministry of Education projected a 10 per cent decrease in enrolment due to the $500 tuition increase they implemented. A study by the Canada Millennium Scholarship in 2004 cites evidence from both Canada and the United States that increasing tuition fees had a negative impact on the participation of students from low-income families.
Do tuition increases improve quality? By looking at the history of education in Quebec we can see that when tuition fees have risen, the government decreases its funding of the education system, meaning that there are not necessarily more funds to improve the quality of the education system. The quality of our education suffers because the government does not see education as a priority and a right.
We all agree there has been chronic underfunding in our education system and someone has to pay for it. The claim that the government has no money and that we have to choose between paying it ourselves or cutting from the health care system is nothing but political blackmail. There is another source of funds we can tap into: How about the $50-billion tax cut for the richest corporations that our government gave away last year? How about the $75-billion bailout which was handed out discreetly to banks?
In a period where the praised free market has plunged the world economy into the biggest crisis, with trillions of dollars of tax payers’ money spent to bail out financial institutions and with millions of jobs lost, someone who still believes and passionately advocates free market as a way to regulate an important sector of the society like education, must be blind to their surroundings. Education must not be governed by profit; it should be planned democratically to meet the needs of humanity as a whole.

-Nadia Hausfather, PhD Humanities, Concordia University
Member of Montreal Students Against Tuition Increase (MSATI)
GSA Arts Director

-Hariyanto Darmawan, McGill University Graduate Student
Member of Montreal Students Against Tuition Increase (MSATI)

I’m no economist, but if I remember my macroeconomics when it comes to elastic demand, like that for education, when prices go up, demand goes down. In the case of a private firm concerned only with profit, elasticity can be the source of increased profits by increasing prices. If I sell widgets at $10 each, and I’m selling 100 a day, I make $1000 a day. If I can increase the price to $100 each, I only need to sell 11 a day to make $1100 and increase my profits by 10 per cent – not bad, and quite tempting if I can get away with it. The cost is that the world will have to get by with fewer widgets.
But in the case of a university, we aren’t dealing with widgets, we’re dealing with people. The reduction in numbers may well be offset by the increase in price – but the cost is not a world with fewer widgets, it is a world with fewer opportunities, and fewer educated people to realize them. Beyond a simplistic pragmatic solution to invented budget problems, the ethos of the calls for increases in tuition is an elitist restriction of education to those who can pay a higher price, and the favouring of training and socialization over actual education.
The logic of the argument to raise tuition, besides being elitist – and shot through with other traditional conservative values like misanthropy, misogyny, and racism – is self-defeating. Society as a whole, meaning everyone, benefits from education, and benefits more from more education, in a wide variety of areas. To argue for less education is like arguing for less health care, or uninspected food, or dirty water (which conservatives also seem to value). Education as a personal benefit is only meaningful when education is a social benefit, it has fatally limited value in a vacuum.
We now have a situation where tuition goes up while standards come down – after all, students need to be retained merely for their capacity to pay, not for their capacity to learn. This should be reversed. Tuition should be eliminated, and our standards raised so that we worry about the red ink on papers, not in ledgers. And if we are so concerned about budgetary shortfalls, perhaps we can cut the fat before the bone.

Robert Sonin
Philosophy

re: Mile-High Clubbing (Oct. 6)

Hello my friends at The Concordian.

For two years, The Concordian has been my favourite Concordian publication. But I suspect there has been some restructuring, or perhaps homecoming 2009 is a little chaotic this year? I want to mention how some things make the paper appear to be rushed into printing, so as to let errors and drafty looking mishaps get in the way of my personal enjoying of your weekly press.
For instance, I believe you’ve had to correct some facts each week now. And on the same page next to the CORRECTION insert (page five), the last article in “The World in Brief”, titled “Mile-High Clubbing”, reads an incomprehensible last sentence:
“Both pilots have been suspended pending
an investigation.be the least happy.
Gallup telephoned over 100,00
American adults for this survey.”
This is exactly how it appears in the paper.
Then, there’s the embarrassingly low-quality blown-up images that pop up here and there. The music section alone (page fifteen) displays two of them: an unappealing and disproportionate CJLO charts, and the Arch Enemy album cover (in Quick Spins).
What about the call for writers for the Life section? It’s unclear and could have used an example to guide submissions.
The Concordian is a great name for a publication, I love it. I love the unobtrusiveness of the advertising. I love the layout. I used to enjoy reading the news columns, they were witty and transpired delicious dark humour. They were also actually news, with broad sources and subjects. Now they feel like a lazy condensation of Montreal’s most basic sources; what they do is add lame to he laziness of the rest of the sections, which feel as if they were written by some unimportant bloggers.

Hire more people and make them work! Some proofreaders would be good.

Looking forward to Issue 6,

Elizabeth Magana
Film Studies undergraduate

re: Tuition increases improve access (Sept. 29)
What dismay and frustration I felt reading the students’ own paper’s editorial calling for an increase in tuition fees. And what a combination of fantasy and far-fetched twists that argument was. What was the point, for example, of comparing student debt in Canada and at Harvard? Harvard students are wealthy to begin with, which most likely explains why they do not need to go into debt. I’d like to take a walk around its campus and see how many blacks or Hispanics from inner cities I can find.
If tuition fees go up, how would that make it any easier for poor students to pay? Scholarships can only help but a minuscule fraction of the students who would otherwise not be able to afford a post-secondary education.
There is as much a financial reason as there is an ideological one for the constant hike in the price of education. On the one hand we have complains about the sad straits of finances, and on the other lavish spending on unnecessary upgrades of equipment, expensive software and other sorts of non-essentials; all as if money was actually not a concern. Finally, this results in a pseudo-defeatist attitude that says: “there is no choice but to make students pay more”.
Eventually, what the issue of tuition fees and accessibility boils down to may not necessarily be the number of enrollment, or the welfare of the students enrolled, but who those students are and how equal the opportunities for post-secondary education will be to every segment of society, every age group, working and or family status.

-Sergio Saveliovsky
Undergrad, history

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Great editorial on tuition fee increases, nice to hear a view that isn’t “stop hikes!”

-Patrick Rizzetto

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re: Students want out of CFS (Sept. 22)
The Canadian Federation of Students has been out of touch with the student movement for decades now. This is epitomized by the fact that the current Chairperson of the organization is denying that petitions are currently underway! The student movement in Canada is on the cusp of shaking itself free of the CFS, and this is a great thing.
The CFS is a malignant tumour on the Canadian student movement. It has tried for years to claim that it is the student movement and that it speaks for students. This is patently false. This is what the CFS is: a group of bureaucrats in Ottawa who graduated from school years ago, and who have no idea of what contemporary issues in the student movement are.
So they dictate the issues they think we should believe in (like Israeli-Palestinian crap, like supporting the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, etc), which are often great, but not truly student issues (just wider social justice issues). But that’s not what’s problematic: the problem is that they are out of touch with students. They have no idea what is stirring in the student movement at any given time, since they are NOT STUDENTS!
So when a compelling case is stirring throughout the Canadian student movement, from coast to coast, they deny it. Case in point. I was hesitant to sign the petition and declare my support overtly, even though I felt this way. But the fact that they have the audacity to sit on their rich asses in nice Ottawa houses and tell us that there is no petition underway makes me angry enough to write this now.

-Valerie Decarre
Political Science

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re: re: Students want out of CFS (Sept. 29)
The idealism put forth by Gregory Johannson last week in his counter-argument to the prevailing belief in the country regarding the CFS (namely, that we should leave the CFS, and that despite repeated attempts to reform the organization, it has proven itself unable to progress and improve its structure and practices) is nice to hear, but not practical.
I consider myself an idealist. I have a disproportionately great amount of hope regarding the future; I believe that where there is a will, there is a way &- in most cases. However in the case of the CFS, individuals and organizations (including myriad student unions) have sought to improve the democratic accountability, financial management, and campaign priorities of the organization for a good decade now. However, in each case it has failed miserably.
The CFS has proven itself highly resistant to change. It has been running the same campaigns for over two decades now (including to “lower tuition’); rather than becoming more democratic, it has made it harder for student unions to decide for themselves. The fact that the national branch of the CFS is denying that a petition drive is currently underway across the country shows how out of touch they are with students.
Thus, although I do commend the hope that Mr. Johannson seeks to inspire, I do not believe it is fitting in this situation. We must drop the CFS now, since any alternative has proven itself to be impossible.

-Phil Ilyestskiya
Psychology