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Messing around with the Mezz’

by Archives September 5, 2006

If you’ve been spending time at the downtown campus recently you may have noticed some student protestors circulating on the second floor mezzanine.

That’s because the Concordia Student Union (CSU) has called students to unite against a plan by Concordia’s Administration to renovate the second floor activity space located next to the Java U and the Computer Store.

It wasn’t until August 22 that the executive committee of the CSU was notified of the project.

“Instead of presenting their plans in good faith, the administration has chosen to spring this eviction on us at the last minute,” said Khaleed Juma, President of the CSU.

Student-run cultural, social, and academic clubs and associations have long relied on the space to promote their mission and goals.

Upon learning of the change of plans for the space, the CSU didn’t waste any time and released a statement calling for students to rally against the administration’s decision.

“The administration is striking at the heart of the Concordia University community by attacking the most important resource for the clubs and associations upon which students rely to express their identities,” quotes the letter printed on the CSU’s website.

Since the CSU began serving students in 1974 it has worked closely with Concordia’s Administration when it comes to the second floor mezzanine. The “mezz” has been used by students and associations as the cultural hub of the downtown campus.

The CSU claims that if the administration is allowed to move forward with its plans students and associations will have to find some other space. Those who have already made plans to use the space this September will be force to cancel and the funds allotted to them will be lost.

“The administration needs to understand that students will not stand by while they rob us of our space,” said Juma. “We intend to fight this every step of the way, using every means at our disposal.”

Chris Mota, the director of media relations for the University, made it clear in a telephone interview that the mezzanine space on the second floor has always been under the administration of the Dean of Students. “It is not only student space,” she said.

“It has been used by staff, organizations and departments for their events and not only for students.”

According to Mota, the CSU has been involved since the decision was taken. “The CSU was advised two years ago,” she said, “when the plan was put into place.”

This project is in response to long-standing requests for additional lounge and meeting space for students.

The area is being fitted with sofas, tables, wireless internet connections and technology kiosks so that students may relax, socialize, surf the web and catch up on their work between classes. A limited number of laptops will be available for the lounge area. In a later phase, there will also be information plasma screens in the area.

The lounge is expected to be open for the beginning of the academic term in September.

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