This semester, the events at the university have been an intense experience for any first year student. What started with a demonstration on Sept. 9, preventing former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu from speaking, grew into a moratorium banning all activities that deal with the Middle East in the lobby and Mezzanine in the Hall Building. The conflict has now grown to the point where it is impossible to walk through the building without seeing or hearing some form of student protest.
By now, newspapers all over North America have taken their shots at Concordia University and the stories surrounding the demonstrations and moratorium. With all of this negative press, it is very likely that people outside the Concordia community will have a bad impression of the university. However, educational institutions, specifically ours, should not only be defined by a loud minority and their actions, but by what the university is primarily founded; education and freedom of speech.
From any perspective, the demonstrations and moratorium just look bad. “Our name is out there, and not in a very favorable light,” says Dennis Murphy, executive director of university communications. “It is not only the events, but how they are being reported,” he says. Its reputation will very likely suffer when there are those, having little connection to the school, reading about Concordia for the first time.
The negative attention also distracts from the fact that Concordia is an academic institution and this inevitably overshadows its main reason for existence.
“I think it’s a bad impression,” says Alicia Ross, a fourth year geology student. “Concordia is not being portrayed as an educational centre, but as grounds for demonstrations.”
Some students feel that the university’s negative impression will carry over into the workplace when it is time to find a job with a Concordia diploma. What happens when prospective employers see Concordia on the resum