Student Politics makes sense of ConU

With the Concordia Student Union (CSU) elations just around the corner, Student Politics, a documentary by Sergeo Kirby which looks into the workings of student unions, will be aired at Concordia again.

“With a lot of students feeling apathetic about what their union did [last school year,] said Kirby, “I wanted to look at what a union is for and what we need it for.”

The documentary was first shown before Spring Break to an audience that filled room H-110 of the Hall Building.

As the third documentary made about Concordia, Student Politics hits closer to home with the producer being a student at the university and the CUTV station manager.

Kirby said while Discordia was “more character driven” and was more interested in “how the race (ethnicity, cultural background) card was playing out” at Concordia, his documentary is more about politics. As for Confrontation at Concordia, Kirby said, “I was shocked to see that pretty radical piece.”

Student Politics went beyond the Sept. 9 protest, to the moratorium on Middle East events, other protests and the elections that lead to the victory of Evolution Not Revolution. It gave a voice to the main slates running alongside Evolution and the politics of the time.

“Sept. 9 to me is more just an event,” said Kirby. “It’s more to know how the student union dealt with it; how a union reacts to a major event that divides students.”

At the beginning of the documentary, Kirby explained the idea behind the movie stems from an argument he had with his roommate, who is more interested in schoolwork than in the political environment. Kirby believed “students should continue to be active and involved in politics. We do a great service to society by being involved.”

While Discordia accorded very little airtime to former CSU president Sabine Friesinger, Student Politics gives her a greater chance to give her union’s side of the debate.

“I think that a union is always misunderstood to a certain extent,” said Kirby. He said that there are a vast variety of services that the then CSU offered that most students, including him, weren’t aware of. “Students see them as hell raisers, radicals, politicians,” he said.

Aaron Mat, CSU VP last school year, attended the showing of Student Politics. “It was great,” he said. “It was a good summary of the events that happened that year.” When asked if it represented the CSU accurately, he replied, “I think that’s a hard task.”

At the heart of the documentary is the question of what should a student union be concerned with and how political should it be. “I wanted to open up the idea that a university and union of students can affect broader change,” said Kirby.

“Students don’t necessarily see themselves as having power,” he said, “and they think they’re unworthy of power.”

Kirby believes that students have power and rights. With his documentary, he looked into what role university plays in the expression of those rights.

The president of Clean Slate, Youri Cormier, is shown in the movie arguing, “There’s not a clear distinction between representing students’ interests and being an activist.”

While former political science professor Herminio Teixeira says, “Student rights are best seen through transgressions of the rules and sometimes even of the law.” Kirby believes the university must be a place where people feel comfortable to express things and question things.

A date for the second showing of Student Politics has yet to be set.


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