Editorial: Accountability is worth fighting for

After a slew of missteps, Concordia has finally done something proactive to address the problems within the Concordia China Student Recruitment Partner Program. It shouldn’t be news to anyone who reads the papers or listens to the water cooler talk that allegations of mistreatment were flooding in from international students against CCSRPP director and head of Orchard Consultants Ltd., Peter Low.

If indeed this name is not familiar by now, we’ll summarize by telling you that Low was accused of misrepresenting services at Concordia and improperly transferring and managing student funds. While these claims remain informal and unsubstantiated, we’re pretty sure it’s safe to say these issues stem from more than a simple miscommunication as the university would have us believe.

In announcing this week that Concordia will be ending its relationship with Orchard Consultants Ltd. and seeking proposals from new recruitment agencies, the sky ahead begins to look a little clearer. It seems obvious to us that a company who is accused of taking advantage of vulnerable students coming to study in Canada is not one which this university, or any for that matter, should be associated with. Perhaps it took Concordia a while to come to this conclusion, but they did come to it and that is what’s important.

While part of us wishes Orchard would be investigated for their alleged crimes and left out to dry by the higher ups, we are faced with the sad reality that this is not likely to occur.

Then again, is it really enough that Low, if he is in fact guilty of the things we’ve heard, get out of this one scott free? Yes, his company will lose the business of Concordia and it may suffer financially for it, but what of his personal situation? Will he be made to apologize or repent in any way for the damage and hurt that the students coming forward feel he has caused them? Probably not.

So what can we do about it? Who will lead the charge to bring justice where there is none? Key members of the Concordia Student Union executive have made a point of taking these concerns seriously and doing their best to follow-up, but the organization as a whole is nowhere near the level of strength and competence needed to chase the answers. The university administration is not offering any more explanation about Orchard or Low and the man himself isn’t about to come forward and confess.

For the time being it looks as though the smoke has cleared and Concordia’s recruitment problems are on the mend. The only questions that remain are: how do we ensure that this type of violation doesn’t happen again? Who will hold the responsible parties accountable? How do we as concerned citizens keep students safe when no one seems to be willing to drop everything to pursue the truth?


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