I am writing to you to express my concern about your comments regarding the lack of Concordia student participation in the 21st annual Concordia Shuffle (“Concordia bursary fundraiser marches on despite minimal student presence” Sept. 28).
Thinking that current students should or would ask their friends and family to donate to Concordia fundraising activities is wrongheaded. Many of us have tapped into our family and friends to help fund our tuition fees and poverty-level lifestyle during our education. Wanting students to show up to indicate their support for Concordia’s fundraising efforts for student bursaries is also wrongheaded. Perhaps the next time you should ask students to raise funds using strategies that suit their particular life circumstances (like a dance party fundraiser).You have publicly linked student bursaries to the debate on increased tuition fees. I sense a low-level spin happening with your comments. I ask you to please avoid the advice of your public relations gurus. Their puppet-playing hands will lead to a (more) disaffected student body and (more) scornful student leaders. Concordia University is too valuable a community resource. Concordia students compete to be involved in these projects. Maybe you can learn something from these community-building initiatives that would be beneficial to increase student participation in the “Open to Question’ and Concordia Shuffle. Instead, maybe it is time for an “agora” on Concordia funding, where you bring back Peter Marcuse (who commented on how increased tuition fees extend social injustice) and invite John Molson MBA faculty and anybody who wants to participate in an intensive, demanding and transparent visioning and accounting process
to come up with viable funding options. This think tank could be creatively linked to presentations like Patrick Kelley’s planned “Financing of Quebec universities,” where the focus would be innovative solutions rather than information- sharing and commiseration on the sad state of university funding.
I was recently at the GSA BBQ at Loyola where students were discussing the proposed tuition fee increases and the general confusion that Concordia’s communication strategy has hatched. Students understand that you, professionally, are in a difficult position, having to balance the interests of so many different and often disagreeing parties. Yet, there was a feeling that you must toe the party line that fee increases lead to more bursaries that will allow more low-income students to gain access to university. Similar to the Reagan trickle-down theory, the party line fails to impress or convince. Plainly, it ain’t working for ya. With just over two years on the job, you can still change strategies to build a more inclusive and socially just university. If you don’t, you will surely continue erasing students’ trust in the university administration.
Geography, planning and environment