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Remember, remember the student centre

by The Concordian September 6, 2011
Concordia desperately needs a student centre. Or so Concordia students have been told by successive executives of the CSU. They thought students needed one so badly that they proposed students be charged $2 per credit a few years back for a grand student edifice that is not even close to being on the horizon.
Unless of course one counts the Faubourg Ste-Catherine, which is not that good of an idea to begin with. The dungeon-like building on Concordia’s downtown campus is currently up for grabs, with the university needing a decision from the CSU by the end of this month. Will the CSU take it and use it to develop its long sought-after student centre? Who knows; the CSU has yet to say anything official, and the clock is ticking.
Let us remember that this is the same executive that ran on the promise of public consultation of the student body when it came to student space. That has yet to actually happen, and there is very little time between now and the end of the month to start getting student feedback.
But that kind of dialogue is not very necessary where the Faubourg is concerned. Students have already made it crystal clear that they are not interested in anything related to that less-than-flattering locale.
That message was made particularly evident last November when students overwhelmingly rejected a $2,50 increase to the student centre fee-levy. It’s no secret that one of the main reasons behind the No vote was that students did not appreciate the previous CSU executive’s secretive nature when it came to the location of the student centre, although it was widely known that the Faubourg was the front-runner.
The current CSU executive is more than aware of this disinterest in the Faubourg among the student population. VP clubs and student space Gonzo Nieto was even one of the more notable voices in the unofficial Vote No campaign that sprung up during last November’s referendum. So now that Nieto and his fellow execs are in a position of power, why hesitate in pronouncing the “No” they once pushed so strongly?
The answer of course, or at least part of it, lies with the fact that the CSU really has no other idea where to put a student centre. They have admitted as much, and the university administration has already indicated that with the current $2 per credit fee-levy in place, there really is no other option that the university can consider at this point.
The CSU has yet to really reveal its thinking on the Faubourg decision. But in the meantime, it’s important to remember that the union has close to $7 million sitting in a bank account, funds stemming from a fee-levy that has yet to be put to good use. This of course provokes a more fundamental question: is a student centre even necessary? It is a question that would be worth asking a few more times to the student body.
While the CSU remains on the fence about the Faubourg or any student centre alternative, students will continue to pay $2 per credit for something that may not see the light of day for another five years, if ever. Considering that money is crucial where students are concerned, it is time that the CSU reveal its thought process regarding a potential student centre, or just come clean and admit that they really have no idea what to do.

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