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Letters to the Editor

by Archives November 20, 2007

Dear Editor,
The Concordia Student Union (CSU) council of representatives is, in theory, the governing authority of our student union meant to hold the executives responsible to their constituents. In practice, it has become a rubber stamp, where those supposedly being held to account use every trick in the book (and some that aren’t) to stifle any dissent.
At the October meeting, students were denied their very right to speak to a council of their representatives. The chair simply refused to recognize “guests” (CSU members) on the speaker’s list in blatant violation of the union by-laws.
When outraged students demanded their right to speak, Chadi Marouf and Ethan Cox were threatened with security and police action. The chair later acknowledged that all students do have the right to speak, but proceeded to not actually recognize them on the speaker’s list. That pattern has continued into this month’s meeting, resulting more yelling matches with those who apparently have no way of being heard other than to scream at the top of their lungs.
Issues of importance to the student body and the functioning of the union have been repeatedly blocked from consideration. Last month, with a student-initiated General Assembly looming, council refused to allow a motion regarding its promotion to be discussed, focusing on more pressing issues such as who should prepare baked goods for the next council meeting. Bewildered councilors have been given five minutes to decode a four-page legalese resolution that may hand control of millions of dollars to two executives.
The bizarre case of Steven Rosenshein and David Kogut (in which they were found guilty of electoral fraud by a judicial board ruling that was supposedly overturned by an emergency council meeting to which some councilors weren’t invited and no one can find the minutes for) has been tabled, ruled out of order or otherwise postponed at every meeting to date. While they continue to sit on council, two outspoken critics of this executive, Jason Gondziolla and Fady Abdullah, were removed on the sole authority of the chair’s questionable interpretation of the bylaws.
This cannot continue. Our executives and councilors are elected to represent us. They must be willing to listen to our concerns, otherwise they have no business calling themselves a student union.
If you want to see how your union functions and maybe even try to raise your concerns about issues affecting the student body, your council of representatives meets on the second Wednesday evening of each month in room H-762.
According to the by-laws, every undergraduate can attend and has full speaking rights.

Alexander Winterhalt,
VP exeternal,
NDP Concordia.

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Dear Editor,
Concordia students will be asked November 27-28-29 several referendum questions in the Concordia Student Union Elections & Referendum. One in particular is worthy of support. It is about the Concordian, an independent student-run newspaper on campus.
The Concordian has historical value to our university. It’s 25 years old this year and has been providing Concordia students with necessary information on and off-campus.
I have been amazed with the dedication and professionalism the students who volunteer with the paper exhibit.
In my interactions with the writers I have witnessed their curiosity to learn about issues affecting Concordia students and write critically and fairly about it. They seek to inform the reader and encourage them to learn more themselves.
The newspaper has been operating with the same budget for 15 years, a fee of $0.10 cents per credit, which is significantly lower than the other student-run newspaper, the Link, at $0.19 per credit.
This has caused the paper to reach a critical point. Printing costs ,as one can imagine have significantly increased, causing the paper to cut down on articles.
Color photographs, which are a staple in most newspapers, are simply not an option.
Writers have been forced to pitch in personally to attend away games if they wish to cover them.
All these cuts are astonishing if one thinks about how it limits the Concordian from providing a worthy service to students, that is, covering the events that shape our university.
I strongly believe in media plurality and believe Concordia benefits from more independent student media.
On November 27-28-29 I will be voting for increasing the Concordian fee levy by $0.09 and encourage you to vote ‘Yes’ as well. Let’s promote a diversity of opinion on campus and continue The Concordian’s great work!

Mohamed Shuriye
CSU President 2005-2006

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Dear Editor,
In my opinion, The Concordian and The Link, are, and have been equally substantial, equally read, and are equally equivalent sources of news, newsworthy.
Conception: be it that one reviews his tuition cost breakdown (or rather ones parents), realizes that he funds both Concordia newspapers, even if he/she/it doesn’t read either.
The Link (which is my choice of news-worthy-material) receives $0.19 per credit from student, while its cohort The Concordian receives $0.10 per credit. a circumcision of almost 100% when compared.
The Link and The Concordian have both been alive for over 25 years in (seeming) unison, the two are published weekly, and neither is ever without something really cool on the cover.
Forewarning aside what could the 25 year old Concordian be with $0.09 extra cents per credit (besides of course, being on par with The Link).
Why don’t both papers receive equal funding to produce an equally good paper?
Apparently, we can help make The Concordian better by voting for a $0.09 raise in their grant, November 27th, 28th, and 29th.
Go easy people.

Stephen White
Major in Psychology

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Dear Editor,
As a university student who feels that post-secondary education is an important investment in the future of both individuals and of our society at large, I am disillusioned at the recent tuition increases in Quebec. Long has this province (rightfully) assigned education a greater priority than have other provinces in Canada, and long has the student movement here fought for that priority.
It is now time for us to, once again, take up that fight.
That tuition rates here are lower than many other areas of this country is no reason to stand complacent while the Quebec government tries to increase how much we pay for university. Quite the contrary; much of the reason education is cheaper here than elsewhere, is as a result of effective student activism. I feel an important obligation to continue this fight for myself and for future generations of Quebec students.
The recent increases represent a critical step backwards in how we as a society understand education. Accessible education is crucial, not only in our own personal development, but in the development of a strong and competitive economy. Especially today, where a skilled workforce is the backbone of any functioning economy, our emphasis should be on training and educating young people so that we can excel globally.
For those reasons, it is imperative that we, as students, stand up and protest against tuition increases next Thursday November 22nd. There is a major march being planned for that day by the Concordia Student Union, in conjunction with other student groups.
I attended the march last Thursday, and was inspired by the number of students who were willing to take this issue to the streets and loudly vocalize their opinions on this very important matter.
I am equally excited to attend this march, and I implore all students to come out and let their voices be heard.
1pm at Mackay and de Maisonneuve. I hope to see you there.

Gregory Johannson
VP Internal Affairs,
Political Science
Students’ Association

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Dear Editor,
I am writing as an executive of the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA), the student organization representing the 16,000 Arts and Science Students at Concordia.
I would like to express my full support for the reinstatement of a provincial tuition freeze in Quebec, and to encourage everyone to attend the demonstration on November 22nd, 2007.
As students, I have always felt that we must organize ourselves to defend our financial interests.
If our voice is not heard by the government as well as the society we live in, not only will tuition keep rising but government funding towards secondary education will continue its downward trend.
As past experience has shown, if we unite and organize ourselves together we will challenge and force the government to review its current position.
Patrick Reynaud
Vice President Finance
Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA)

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Dear Editor,
The response to my opinion piece that was published in the previous issue was not only condescending and disrespectful, but it had no basis whatsoever. Whoever wrote the response did not mention a single piece of evidence that justifies his comparison of Cuba with China.
His assumption seems to be that the ruling parties in both countries are called “Communist”, so the two countries must have similar systems.
If that was the case, then perhaps we should argue that all countries with ruling parties that have radical-sounding names have the same political and economic model.
The problem is that today, radical Leftist politics is dubbed as “evil”, hence preventing any real understanding of it among the general populace, and neglecting the not so “evil” revolutionaries, who neither took over aggressively, nor massacred millions in the name of their revolution.
Now the question is, has the Cuban Revolution been misrepresented in the mainstream media, or is it truly a dictatorship with no human rights?
I have provided data the argues for the former, but I am more than happy to see a real rebuttal.
Further, the claim that I implied that Amnesty International is a terrorist organization confused me. I support the human rights organization, but I simply do not agree with its stance on Cuba.
Could it be that it does not see anything wrong with being a journalist under the pay of a foreign government?
Does it consider that as part of freedom of expression?
As I said before, I don’t, which could be why we differ in this case.
I have looked into the history or several so-called “dissidents” who have been prosecuted in Cuba, and all of them appeared to have, one way or another, connections with the US government.
My stance on Cuba has drastically changed multiple times in the last couple of years, but an attempt to persuade me that it is a dictatorship requires more than mockery.

Sincerely,
Abdullah Alhomoud

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