They expressed their desire to look into the matter, they collaborated with other campus groups to form a ‘working group’, they reached out to international students and they offered to have all the documents relating to the homestay program translated into Mandarin. These were all proactive moves which indicate that the people running this institution give a damn about the welfare of students.
And then on Nov. 9, a press release was sent out most likely in response to the attention this issue has garnered by national media.
Needless to say, few were impressed with what Concordia had to say about the “miscommunication” between international students and Director of the CCSRPP Peter Low.
There have been reports surfacing about how Low requested money from international students on behalf of Concordia and then did not transfer it directly. At the same time, documents have come to light indicating that Low told students the homestay program, which is independent from Concordia, was mandatory when it is not.
In these homestays, students say they were mistreated and their accommodations were gravely misrepresented. And yet, the press release issued by our university reads: “Peter Low, […] has adhered to the highest standards while helping students from China begin their studies at Concordia.”
Seriously? Is anyone actually going to buy into that? And that’s not all.
“Mr. Low, who directs students to homestay as an option and receives no remuneration from homestay providers, has delivered to the university key correspondence with Concordia students placed in homestays [which suggests] that the complaints reported on by the media are likely the result of miscommunication.”
If this doesn’t make you feel like the administration took a huge step back, then you have not been paying close enough attention. Students may not have been wronged by Concordia University officially, but the CCSRPP represents the Concordia brand and it’s not a stretch that students would put their trust and their dollars into the hands of a man who does legitimately work for the university.
Since Low’s contract is just about up and currently under review, we were hoping Concordia would have the good sense to slash their relationship with Low’s consulting company entirely and start fresh. Instead, we get the impression that they are coming to Low’s defense in the face of widespread media criticism.
So, why can’t he stand up for himself ? As far as we know, Low has made no public comments on the issue and has chosen to hide behind Concordia.
As student press with a knowledge that merely covers the tip of the iceberg on this issue, we want Peter Low and his recruitment company to be fired. If anyone should be left out in the cold here, it should be the parties responsible for misleading and abusing students.
If the university really has students’ best interests at heart, that is the only acceptable option.