The past, the present and the press

Concordia’s first official mascot, “The Stinger”. Archive photo by Jonas Papaurelis.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of The Concordian newspaper. In those 35 years, the student-run newspaper has undergone major shifts—just like any form of media. We believe that at any point in time, the media reflects the values of the society it thrives in. They say history is written by the victors (read: oppressors?), and what is the press but a first draft of the history books. With this in mind, we can appreciate that the voices highlighted in a newspaper in 1983 were much different from those that find space in a newspaper today. But that isn’t to say both newspapers, at both moments in time, weren’t important.

A university is home to diverse voices and ideas, and therefore, should support a platform where all of these unique perspectives can be heard. While a student newspaper doesn’t necessarily give every person a voice, it certainly helps recognize our collective ideas as we elevate even the voices pushed to the margins. We at The Concordian are proud to use our tools and platform to shed light on important issues that make up Concordia University.

A look through our archives shows that even in the year 1990, the idea of women walking home at night and their safety was a concern. Even though, with the recent #MeToo movement, it might seem like this is a conversation we’re only beginning to have, it’s safe to say this issue has been present for years—centuries, actually. Other stories in past issues of The Concordian emphasized gun control laws in Canada and the mistreatment of marginalized groups by law enforcement.

In 2018, these issues are still at the forefront of our minds. The news constantly reiterates these concerns, and rightfully so. But it’s both troubling and refreshing to learn that these same issues were being highlighted in our newspaper three decades ago. Troubling because these problems are still so ever-present; refreshing because we’re glad these stories were given a platform in our newspaper.

That’s not to say The Concordian has always been a place for pieces that empower voices and highlight necessary topics. Just like other media throughout the ages, its content is a reflection of the time and place in which it exists. It is undeniable that the voices and stories of many have long been silenced—and are still being ignored—by the bulk of mainstream news and entertainment outlets. Since minority experiences were (and are) often seen as inferior to those of the social majority, news outlets reacted accordingly. The sentiment of “give the people what they want” was solidified in our history.

Here at The Concordian, we do not deny our part in perpetuating harmful narratives in past years. However, as much as we work to adapt to changing social norms and values, we also aim to maintain ideals of inclusivity, respect and honour. Every week, we work to produce content that is representative of what matters to students at Concordia. As we begin this new year, we’d like to thank our fellow students for supporting our endeavours, and for allowing us to tell your stories. We love hearing from you, so please do not hesitate to reach out. Our hope is that somewhere amongst our pages, you find something you can identify with.

Concordia’s first official mascot, “The Stinger”. Archive photo by Jonas Papaurelis.

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