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Blais drops major bombshell

by Archives February 27, 2002

Governors on the Board of Governors (BoG) got more than they bargained for during last Wednesday’s meeting, when Interim President, Patrice Blais, dropped the bombshell that the CSU will be suing Concordia University.
According to Blais, the CSU filed the lawsuit on Feb. 12 in the afternoon as a result of an announcement made by Rector Frederick Lowy on Jan. 25. Lowy announced that Concordia University would withhold all funds from the CSU until it could deal with an executive of the CSU that the university would deem legitimate. It also stated that all discussions and negotiations with the current representatives of the CSU would be suspended.
The CSU had previously warned administration to revoke their decisions by Jan. 31 or legal action would be taken against them. The university refused to unfreeze the funds.
Consequently, the CSU’s legal firm filed the lawsuit on behalf of Blais, who said the student union is extremely serious about getting the funds. “It’s not a pressure tactic it’s a real thing. They give us our money or we’re going to get it in court.”
Vice-Chairman of BoG, John Parisella, immediately made the university’s position clear. He expressed desire for the matter to be resolved without having to go through the legal process. “I always believe there is room to solve a problem before going before a judge. If there is good faith on both sides, we can find a solution.”
Blais agreed that resolving the matter outside of court was a possibility. “If they want to fight over there [in court], they can go fight over there. If they want to settle it in a friendly way, we’ll listen to their offer.” But he added that not just any proposal would do. “They need to completely withdraw what they did.”
Legal costs of the procedure are very high. According to Blais, going to court can easily cost $10,000. That does not include an appeal or other unforeseen expenses. Still, he said, the outcome would be worth it. “At least we’re going to get the money. They’re holding around $200, 000.”
Meanwhile, administration expressed its own concerns of the legal costs. “Money is scarce in the university community and we all know that. Students, administration, and the board gain from a win-win situation,” Parisella said.
But the CSU will not be worried if the two parties don’t come to an agreement outside of court. They feel certain that going before a judge will ensure victory. “We wouldn’t bring it to court if we wouldn’t be very confident of winning,” Blais said.

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