Home Opinions Having a whale of a time for student rights

Having a whale of a time for student rights

by The Concordian February 15, 2011
Having a whale of a time for student rights

Nobody really expected for today’s Special General Meeting to pull in the necessary number of students to make the meeting’s agenda valid. Mainstream media most likely doubted students would make it, as well. Even we doubted it was possible.

And yet, despite the rain, slush and overall cold greyness of the day, students rallied to bring in numbers that crept just a tad above the required quorum of around 795 students. The total, measured at 897 as this goes to print, is no clear victory, but it did the trick.

All in all, the day was a success. We’re sure that someone high up in the university administration and the government took notice; whether they’ll let this event influence their decisions any further remains to be seen.

But beyond the almost 900 students who showed up is another glaring figure: what happened to the almost 29,000 to 30,000 or so students who were eligible for the CSU’s SGM but did not make it out? If you were not there, what happened to you?

Students are angry, annoyed, anxious and pissed off about a lot of things: homework, unfair teachers, not getting a date on Valentine’s Day. But what ranks highly in many Concordia students’ minds are the following two issues: how does a mysterious Board of Governors run the university and allow high-ranking administrators to walk away with huge sums of money, while the government continues to threaten to raise the price of tuition with the agreement of university leaders?

You can bet these questions have been percolating in nearly everyone’s minds over the last few weeks and months. But how many people actually got up and did something about it? While a small group of students rallied with their banner down Guy Street in the cold after the successful SGM came to a close, students inside the warm glass confines on the MB building looked down on them. One student muttered to another over their books on the third floor, “Don’t these people have midterms to write?”

Yeah, those kids in the streets definitely do have midterms to write. They’re students just like you are, but they’re taking time out of their busy schedules to actually do something. If you were that student in the MB building, or in the Hall building, or whatever building, why didn’t you drop what you were doing to join in?

Now, who will actually act on these hangups remains to be seen. But hopefully, with this rally setting a good example and tone for the half of the winter semester remaining, more students will be tempted to throw in their hats and rally. This is not the end of the student movement for the semester. Students will be out at the upcoming BoG meeting, the upcoming senate meeting and the eventual rally as the provincial budget is announced in March. There are Open to Question sessions you can head to if you care about the university’s academic plan. And there are always opportunities like CSU council meetings where you can come out and make your voice heard.

No matter the outcome of the tuition hikes, or the Board of Governors’ ongoing drama, go out and try to do something. Because almost nothing will look worse to the tyrannical BoG and the relentless government than seeing a minority of students parade down a cold street while the majority sit tight indoors with their books.


Last week, the Concordian published an opinions piece by writer Kelsey Pudloski that criticized students campaigning for office on the Arts and Sciences Federation of Associations executive. The story was picked up by websites Jezebel, Yahoo, Gawker and even a weekly student newspaper at Yale. We’re not proud to say, though, that the attention to the story was overwhelmingly negative. You hear that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but readers and commenters were largely against Pudloski’s story. The main criticism was that, because Pudlowski criticized two female candidates and not any male ones, the story was sexist and biased.

At this paper, we strive to publish opinions with which not everyone may agree. That’s why we run pro and con columns that present both sides of the debate on prostitution and allowing bottled water. It’s partly why we advocated for tuition increases for programs like MBAs. Earlier this month, an opinions piece supported Wal-Mart supercentres. But rarely do we hear from people on topics as vehemently as the voices we heard last week.

While the vast majority of the editorial staff disagreed with Pudloski’s opinion piece, we respect her argument that candidates sometimes do not do enough beyond putting up posters to grab uninterested voters’ interest. But the story was flawed; the terms of her argument were not appropriate, and we did not do our job as editors by not vetoing references to “sparkly crowns and sashes” and “beauty pageants” which obviously unfairly target the female candidates in the ASFA race. For this, we apologize to our readers and the candidates.

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