Stressed out? Anxious? Need some relief? Why not take a paws?

Vanier Library will host two dog therapy sessions at Vanier Library

Just in time for end-of-semester blues a bunch of puppies are coming to play with you. On Thursday April 10 and April 14, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. you are invited to spend some time with Blue Ribbon Therapy Dogs.

Therapy dogs will be at the Vanier Library on April 10 & 14.

According to, pet therapy benefits people both mentally and physically as well as helping children with reading and physical therapy.

Mental and physical advantages of pet therapy include: lower blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health, the release of endorphins which has a calming effect, diminished physical pain, lifting of mood and lessening of depression, decreased feelings of isolation and alienation, reduced boredom and lowered anxiety.

In February, Audrey Giles and her dog, Tundra, starting seeing students at Ottawa U and the program has become very popular.Several universities including McGill, Carleton University and Dalhousie, have held dog therapy sessions and Ottawa University has incorporated pet therapy into their counselling and coaching services.

“Just petting a dog will decrease your blood pressure and relieve anxiety. You can be affectionate with them and they’ll be affectionate back. They love attention,” Giles told The Toronto Star on March 9.

For more information, visit the Facebook event.

Student Life

More than just the ‘chimp lady’

Famous for her work with chimpanzees, Dr. Goodall came to Concordia to spread a message of hope

“Oooo whoooo oo who oo who oo who oo who oo who oooo whooo oo who oo who oo 

Photo by Keith Race


“That’s me, Jane, in chimpanzee,” explained Dr. Jane Goodall.

Slight of stature but bright of countenance, all eyes were on Dr. Goodall as she made her way to the stage accompanied by raucous applause and an audience that stood up from their seats to honour the world renowned primatologist and environmentalist.

Dr. Goodall brought a stuffed cow and monkey with her to the stage, which she placed on the table next to the podium before launching into her introduction which included a greeting in chimpanzee-speak.

Dr. Goodall had been invited to speak by Concordia University, the Concordia Alumni Association and the CSU. Her lecture, entitled “Sowing the Seeds of Hope,” was part of her current 8-week tour which will next take her to the United States and then on to Europe.

There are a lot of accomplishments under Dr. Goodall’s belt. She pioneered the study of chimpanzee behaviour,  has written over 25 books, received numerous awards, started the Jane Goodall Institute, the Roots & Shoots program, and spearheaded a multitude of conservation and environmental campaigns. Her success is acclaimed worldwide and she is highly respected as an expert in the field of primatology, anthropology and ethology. Furthermore, she is a UN Messenger of Peace and was made a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2004.

How does she account for all this achievement? She credits her mother:

“I put a great deal of credit [to] my mother because she was an extraordinary mother. When I was born I seemed to have an innate love of animals. I don’t know where it came from, I just had it. And she always supported this.”

As proof of her mother’s hand in her accomplishments, Dr. Goodall captivated the audience with stories of her mother’s acceptance of Dr. Goodall’s curiosity and desire for knowledge.

“I was 18 months — I don’t remember this of course — but I was 18 months when she came to my room and found that I’d taken a whole handful of wriggling earthworms to bed with me. She said ‘Jane it looked like you were trying to work out how they walked without legs.’ And instead of getting mad at me, you know, ‘throw these dirty things out the window’ she said, ‘Jane they need the earth they’ll die here. And together we took them back into the garden.’ ”

Her mother also accompanied her during her first six month sojourn in Tanzania where she made the discovery that would launch her career and change the way scientists thought about animals.

But Dr. Goodall didn’t come all the way to Montreal to talk about her mother or give a biography of her life. She had come to talk about the fate of our planet: why we should be concerned and why we should also be hopeful.

Dr. Goodall is not a preacher. Although she advocates fiercely for animal rights, conservation, vegetarianism and environmental consideration, she does not stand on a soapbox and exhort. Rather, Dr. Goodall uses calm logic, reasoning and emotional sensibility to demonstrate the reasons for why we need to take an active stance in rehabilitating the earth, in stopping deforestation, the spreading of the desert, the rising levels of C02 in the atmosphere, the shrinking water supplies, the loss of biodiversity and species extinction.

“We’re destroying the planet. Fewer people understand the tremendous harm that’s being done as the middle classes grow around the world, in the developing countries, which of course is a good thing, less poverty, but it turns out very often as people get more money they feel the need to eat more meat and to eat more meat amongst all these billions of people means raising billions and billions of animals to feed them. And people want cheap meat. So the conditions in these intensive farms are truly horrendous but even if you don’t care about animal suffering, and some people apparently don’t, but even if you don’t care, huge areas of forest are cut down every year to grow the grain and graze the cattle for all these billions of different kinds of animals that we’re eating. As the animals are fed slightly richer food than they normally would have to make them grow quicker the process of digestion is producing more and more methane gas. That’s what you get from the process of digestion in people, I don’t know a polite way of saying it but you all know exactly what I mean.”

And thus we came to what Dr. Goodall described as her “greatest reason for hope,” the Roots & Shoots program.

The Roots & Shoots program is a youth-oriented initiative that began with 12 students on the verandah of Dr. Goodall’s house in Tanzania. The students were concerned with the problems they saw in the world around them and wanted Dr. Goodall to fix them. Instead, Dr. Goodall suggested that they get together the other students who felt as they did and work as a group to improve things on an environmental, human, and animal level.

Dr. Goodall expressed that she believes the damage to the earth can be reversed but it’s up to the people of this world to make that happen, specifically youth. That’s why the Roots & Shoots program is her “greatest reason for hope,” she sees the youth of this earth as the answer to preserving our planet.

“It’s my greatest reason for hope I think, Roots & Shoots, because everywhere I go on this endless circuit around the planet there are young people with shining eyes wanting to tell Dr. Jane what they’ve been doing to make this a better world. And its a group of young people around the world that share our philosophy, a group of young people that understand yes we need money to live but when we start living for money in and of itself that’s when it goes wrong. To make a lot of money, there’s nothing wrong with that if you use it for the right purpose, to make the world a better place.”

The Roots & Shoots program is now in 136 countries, including Canada. In fact, representatives from the Vanguard Intercultural High School Roots & Shoots group, were at the lecture and presented Dr. Goodall with a booklet that cited all the ways she had inspired them.

They were not the only youth in the audience. During the Q&A, bright-eyed children as young as eight stood in line to speak to Dr. Goodall. They were inquisitive and eager and Dr. Goodall clearly meant a lot to them as a role model, and if any proof is needed to show Dr. Goodall’s message is getting through to the younger generations, this was it.


Music in the News – March 18, 2014

Lady Gaga gets gagged on

At a recent performance, Lady Gaga was vomited on and then humped by performance artist Millie Brown, reports Rolling Stone. Gaga told Rolling Stone that this was art and “therefore worth it.” She compared the performance to the ideas of Martin Luther King and Andy Warhol, stating that, “Sometimes things that are really strange can save the world.” She clarified, however that she did not mean that vomit was going to change the world but that it was about respecting people as artists.


Celebrity moms to hawk healthcare

 Mothers of celebrities like Jonah Hill, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine and Jennifer Lopez are being featured in a video that promotes enrollment in the Affordable Care Act, reports Rolling Stone. The video, entitled #YourMomCares, shows the mothers of these celebrities telling stories about their children and encouraging people to sign up so as not to give their own mothers “a nervous breakdown.” At the end of the video, Michelle Obama appears and states, “We nag because we love you.”

Sorry girls, Justin’s jewels will be censored

A judge ruled on Tuesday that videos of Justin Bieber in police custody that show him partially naked will be released, however his genitalia will be blacked out. According to The Globe and Mail the videos include clips of him giving a urine sample at a Miami jail in January. In compliance with Florida’s broad public records law, once evidence, including photographs and videos are given to the defence, they become public record. Nonetheless, the judge ruled that Bieber had the right to a certain amount of dignity. Three clips will be released immediately and the others will be held until technicians finish blocking out Bieber’s naughty bits.

Arcade Fire frontman weighs in on Quebec politics

Win Butler, frontman for the band Arcade Fire, told CBC News that given his experience with France, secularism is not a good option for the province to pursue. “I’ve spent a lot of time in France, and I don’t think that France is necessarily [the country] I would model my charter of anything after, because they have some major race problems and some major conflict there,” Butler told CBC. Pauline Marois has often cited the France model as inspiration for the creation of her secular charter. Despite Butler’s wariness of the avenue Quebec is possibly headed down, he is optimistic about Quebec’s future and has no plans to live anywhere else anytime soon.


‘An avenue for productive political discussions’

The first Concordia Student Congress was held last week wherein representatives from student associations and faculties gathered with representatives from the CSU to discuss issues related to being an undergraduate student at Concordia.

“We had a pretty good turn out. I was pretty happy. We had I think over 20 associations or student groups from all four faculties,” said Gene Morrow, VP academic and advocacy, who was a primary facilitator of the event. “Everybody was really able to have very frank and constructive discussions about the challenges of being`an undergraduate student at Concordia.”

Antonin Picou, president of the Engineering and Computer Science Association, felt that this was a positive initiative in bringing to light issues that all faculties and associations face.

“It was really productive, we brought up a lot of points that were valid to all faculties and initiated discussions and got to have a feel for how they reacted to them and it was reassuring to know that we’re not the only ones that were having these problems,” he said.

During the March 6 meeting, the student congress adopted several proposals directed at the university administration. The proposals collectively asked the university to address their concerns regarding “student involvement in university governance,” “student evaluation of professors mid-semester,” “budgetary cuts to the academic sector,” the “intellectual property policy,” “co-operative education programs,” and “student space.”

The proposition regarding student involvement in university governance, asked that in order for students to be able to participate meaningfully in the governing of the university, that the administration guarantee that departments notify departmental student associations about the date, time and location of departmental council meetings, as well as send out minutes from previous meetings and “the agenda for the one being called.” As well they asked that “every department at the university should have at least one (1) Student association representative sitting on its departmental council. Student representatives should be allowed full speaking, voting, and moving privileges as full members of the council.” Furthermore, they require that member associations have the opportunity to speak with respective department chairs so that they might discuss “improving student representation on department councils.”

The proposals also spoke to what they felt student groups could do to address some of their concerns.

The congress is asking that student groups petition their “respective faculty councils or their professors” for informal mid-semester evaluations of professors, “in addition to the one included at the end of the semester.”

They are also calling on student representatives to talk to their faculty councils about the space needs of their members.

Additionally, as the congress was made up of faculty associations and the CSU, they collectively resolved to work with the dean of students in order “to develop and provide training to student leaders in the areas of respectful conduct, identifying troublesome situations and positive intervention thereon, and crowd management, with the goal of ensuring that deleterious actions or situations do not occur.”

Morrow was pleased with how the event turned out and has plans to put together a full briefing on the experience in the hopes that it will be re-initiated by his successor.

“I think we demonstrated that this could be an avenue for productive political discussions to occur. We had representatives from all four faculties and everybody was able to bring an important perspective to the process.”


Student Life

Maria Peluso: a force to be reckoned with

How do you tell a story like Maria’s?

On the one hand, you might start with her birthday, but then you’d have to clarify: do you mean the date of her birth or the date on her birth certificate?

Maria Peluso was born on January 22, in a small town in Italy. On the day of her birth a great snowstorm raged and Maria’s mother was trapped inside her home.

At that time, a child’s birthday was recorded as the day they were registered with the town administration. It was eight days before the storm let up and her mother was able to make it to the village. Thus, although she came into this world on the 22nd, her birth certificate and legal documents state her birthday on January 31.

On the other hand, you could begin with when Maria first came to Concordia University.

Photo by Keith Race

After finishing her undergraduate degree in political science at York University in 1975, Maria came to Concordia.

In 1980, she completed a graduate diploma in community politics and the law and in 1986, a Master’s in public policy and public administration.

Following the completion of her studies, Maria’s professional career began by teaching at Concordia as well as several other institutions.

However, Maria’s contribution to Concordia goes far beyond the classroom. From 1994 until this past October, Maria was president of the part-time faculty association (CUPFA). Although Maria also sat on many committees at Concordia, it is how she carried out her role as CUPFA president that has left a lasting impact on members of the Concordia community.

“Maria Peluso could be considered much like a de facto Provost of part-time faculty. In this role she has contributed so much, not only to the association’s faculty members in all the faculties but also to an academic mission, her students, staff, and the university as a community. She has brought indefatigable energy and effort to so many university initiatives over the years, such as the annual charitable campaigns, services to students and the like,” wrote Lorraine Oades, vice-president of professional development at CUPFA.

Members of CUPFA agreed with Lorraine, “She is extremely proud of her members and her membership in the union and she’s somebody who really wants to do her best both for students and for her union members at Concordia,” said Kathleen Perry, former associate dean in the faculty of fine arts.

“She really is the person who takes everyone to heart. [A] great advocate for anything part-time teachers needed,” said Father John Walsh, a former professor at Concordia.

Marcel Danis, a former vice-president of the university, describes Maria as a fierce campaigner for her members’ rights. In his role as vice-president, Marcel sat across from Maria at the negotiation table.

“She’s probably the toughest labour leader that we’ve had in the university. She’s extremely determined and never lets go. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, if she has an issue that she wants to get and she really believes in, she’s really tough,” he said.

Maria credits her fighting determination and resolve to having grown up as an immigrant, poor, and on welfare. In particular, she cites the actions of her parents.

Her mother worked as a seamstress until she was fired for trying to start a union. Maria, eight years old at the time, helped her mother to find a new job.

Her father was not an activist by birth but simply believed in doing the right thing. While working at a steel mill in Ontario, Maria’s father was bothered by the soot that fell from the smoke stacks and onto the workers’ cars. The workers at the mill were required to park their cars underneath the stacks and Mr. Peluso was concerned about the damage the soot was doing to the cars, the environment, and to the workers. Mr. Peluso brought his grievance to the company’s attention and as a result, the company put pollution control methods into place which kept the soot off the cars and out of their lungs.

Maria has not only shown care and support for members of the Concordia faculty but for the students as well. She played a large role in the creation of two scholarships for women students at Concordia, the Judith Litwack Scholarship, and the Visible Minority Women’s Scholarship, and later the CUPFA Endowment Scholarship. As well, she was a staunch supporter of last year’s student strike, despite the diversity of interests.

Her leadership was a win-win for the university and for the students during the protest.

On the one hand, Maria supported her teachers who were trying to do their jobs, but she also supported the rights of those who wanted the freedom to protest. Additionally, she also supported those students who didn’t want their classes disrupted.

Her respect for diversity and freedom, a feature noted by all of her friends and colleague, was likely the source of this conflict.

In the greater Montreal community, Maria has acted as a mentor and guide for women in business. She was president of the Montreal Business and Professional Women’s Club from 1986-1989 and continues to serve on its board of directors. In addition, she is remembered by former employee, Ruth Pelletier, as being instrumental in her success in rejoining the workforce.

“I had been out of the workforce for some time … so she took me under her wing and really taught me the ropes … she mentored me very, very well. From that I ended up sitting on boards of many different not for profit organizations. I was in media, CJAD radio, CFCF radio, I finally ended up being executive director of Alliance Quebec,” said Pelletier.

Alexander Antonopoulos, a professor at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, describes Maria as a “Concordia University feminist powerhouse.”

“Maria never shied away from engaging in a way that was not always ‘safe’. She was comfortable in discomfort and that’s the kind of thing that those who are doing feminism today have to become better and better at because feminism is not necessarily what media crack it up to be ..] And so, from that perspective, she wasn’t really being a man in a man’s world, she was bringing her feminism into political action as a way of interfacing with power.”

Although Maria stepped down as president of CUPFA this past fall she has not slowed down in the least. Maria is currently serving on Concordia’s board of governors as the part-time faculty member representative and continues to pursue other projects around campus and throughout Montreal.

A tireless crusader, Maria will no doubt continue to fight, advocate and work on the behalf of women, members of the Concordia community and humankind as a whole.



Sometimes observed and sometimes not: regulations for smoking on campus

Photo by Nathalie Laflamme

President Alan Shepard is not looking to forcibly enforce Quebec’s Tobacco Act, despite the risk of second-hand smoke and the violation of the Tobacco Act’s regulations.

“All institutions struggle with the issue, it’s not just Concordia,” said Shepard. “It would be for all public and probably private institutions as well.”

Concordia University is subject to the Quebec Tobacco Act under Chapter 2, Paragraph 3, Section 2 and 2.2, which states that “smoking is prohibited outdoors within a nine-metre radius from any door leading to a place referred to in paragraph 1,3,4, or 6 of section 2.”

The university has placed cigarette butt receptacles outside the radius, however, faculty, students and staff often smoke within the radius.

“On a voluntary basis, you ask people to respect the rules and in my experience most people do,” said Shepard. “Our security officers, if they do see people smoking inside the magic ring, do ask people to stop or to move.”

Even when smokers stand outside the nine-metre radius, individuals are still subjected to the smoke as they navigate their way to the entrances. On the downtown campus, in particular, sidewalk space is limited and this provides very little options for people to access Concordia’s buildings without coming into contact with smokers.

“Research shows that second-hand smoke is damaging to health. So if a person is exposed to second-hand smoke because they have to cut through a waft of smoke to get into the building, then that does have a negative effect on their health,” explained Gabriella Szabo, Concordia’s health promotion specialist.

Shepard recognizes that second-hand smoke on campus is an issue but doesn’t feel there’s anything more the university can do about it,

“It’s a reality of modern life that there’s second-hand smoke out there. I don’t like breathing it anymore than you do but would that mean that I should have police officers standing in the bus line? No, I don’t think so. I think peer pressure works better than compliance officers.”

According to Szabo, the nine-metre radius serves not only as a barrier for protecting the health of non-smokers but also acts as a deterrent for smokers.

“It just creates this little extra barrier, this little inconvenience where people, the smoker, recognizes more and more that this cigarette isn’t doing anything for me,” she said. “Now I even have to move nine-metres away instead of standing where I used to stand.”

Although cigarette butt receptacles on campus are placed outside the nine-metre radius, the benches beside said receptacles, in particular the benches in front of the Hall building, are not. Therefore smokers who want to use those benches are in violation of the law.

Shepard is also not worried by the mess smokers leave when they neglect to use the proper receptacles.”

“I think our teams do a pretty awesome job of keeping this place clean. I’ve worked at several universities and both inside and out, the teams who do maintenance and the cleanup do a great job.”

For the moment, Shepard is satisfied that security is doing its job and hopes that members of the Concordia community will voluntarily comply with the rules.

“We’re not going to get into the business of issuing fines or citations,” he said. “I don’t know that that would actually provide the kind of deterrence you want. What I would really like is voluntary compliance and I think we mostly get that.”



“Nobody likes to wait”

Beginning in metro stations across Montreal and culminating in front of the Régie du logement building on Réné Levesque, protesters on Feb. 19 set up mock waiting rooms as a challenge to the current wait times tenants are subjected to when bringing a case before the rental board.

Press photo

According to the Régie du logement Quebec’s annual report, (2012-2013), tenants wait nearly two years to have their cases heard, while landlords have their cases heard within 1.2 to 1.4 months.

“We see that there is a systematic prioritization of landlord needs and concerns at the rental board to the detriment of tenants,” said Fred Burrill, a representative for the POPIR-Comité Logement, one of the organizers of the protest.

The protesters are advocating for the rental board to hear cases within three months, that cases be prioritized on a first-come-first-served basis and that emergency cases, such as those affecting the health and safety of tenants, be heard within 72 hours.

“Nobody likes to wait. Tenants are in situations of real urgency that have significant impact on their quality of life and the rental board is supposed to be an impartial tribunal and not what it currently is, a clearinghouse for evictions,” said Burrill.

Students are no exception.

“We do see often that students, especially students from Concordia and McGill, have a hard time defending their rights and don’t necessarily know about the existence of the rental board to begin with. As a relatively transitory population by the time they get their hearing, which may be two to three years, they may no longer live in Montreal,” said Burrill.

Approximately 150 people participated in Wednesday’s protest. Protesters managed to block traffic on René Levesque for half-an-hour, said Burrill.

The protest was organized by the POPIR-Comité Logement, Le Regroupement des comités logement et associations de locataires du Québec (RCLALQ) and Project Genesis.

In addition to this protest, a five-minute documentary has been prepared through the collaboration of a number of tenant committees and organizations.The documentary aims to portray the kind of issues tenants are facing and is set to be released in the coming months.

Concordia Student Union News

CSU in conflict over finalizing plans for Java U space

A special council meeting was convened on Jan. 15 with three points on the agenda, the most prominent being the discussion of plans for utilizing the Java U space.

In the CSU byelections, held in November of last year, the student body voted that following the cessation of the CSU’s contract with Java U, that the space be used for a co-operative café or restaurant.

On Jan. 8, in order to effect the referendum, council passed a motion requiring CUSACorp to allow their lease with Java U to expire and to pursue options for erecting a co-operative run business in the space.

The CSU is mandated to uphold the desires of students as expressed in a referendum and consequently CUSACorp, the division of the CSU responsible for managing external revenue streams, was tasked with coming up with a plan for the eventual vacant space.

At the special council meeting, CUSAcorp presented council with two options for creating a co-café, both of which involved soliciting business proposals from students.

In the first option, CUSACorp proposed holding a “Collaborative Co-op Competition.” This competition would be structured much like a case competition wherein students who have an idea for a co-op would present their business proposal to judges from different faculties.

The second option, entitled “Collaborative Direct Implementation,” would involve the collaboration of CUSACorp, the Referendum Oversight Committee and interested parties in creating and running a co-op café.

During closed session, council voted to pursue the second option. Unfortunately, that was all the progress that was made. Further progress was halted due to disagreements over the wording of the motion that would direct CUSACorp in implementing the “Collaborative Direct Implementation” plan.

Concordia Student Union News

Standing committee positions filled at CSU meeting

The Concordia Student Union (CSU) convened for its second-to-last meeting of 2013 on Nov. 27 in which they filled empty standing committee spots and discussed new substantive and informational business.

There are eight standing committees as part of the CSU’s governing structure: Clubs and Space Committee,Appointments Committee,Policy Committee,Finance Committee, Events Committee, External and Campaigns Committee,Sustainability Committee and Loyola Committee.

With the exception of of the academic caucus, the committees are each composed of four members of Council, a member of the Executive who is either the President or designated by the by-laws and a student-at large who is appointed by the Council.

According to the CSU document, Description of University Bodies & CSU Standing Committees, “The purpose of these committees is to extend the running of the Union out beyond the executive, and to bring Councillors and students at large into the planning and agenda-setting stages of the Union’s activities. Executives are there to execute the mandates of Council, and by extension of Concordia’s undergraduate students. Committees play a vital role in helping to shape the portfolios of each executive more completely.”

On Nov. 27, newly elected councillors, Michael Richardson and Gabriel Velasco were appointed to the Policy committee. They will join councillors Wendy Kraus-Heitmann, Reena Patel, Melanie Hotchkiss and VP Academic and Advocacy Gene Morrow. Councillor Charles Bourassa was appointed to two committees: External and Campaigns Committee and Events Committee.  Justin Caruso was also appointed to two committees: Events Committee and Loyola Committee. Nikos Pidiktakis will join the External Campaigns Committee, Virginia law joins the Appointments Committee, Maylen Cytryn and Kyle Arseneau join the Clubs and Space Committee and Patricia Martone joins the Loyola Committee.

A new committee, the HR Committee, was also formed during this meeting. The purpose of the HR Committee is to be provide strategic employee direction. The committee is composed of three executives, three council members and the CSU general manager. The three executives are: Melissa Kate Wheeler, President, Katrina Caruso, VP Internal and Gene Morrow, VP Academic and Advocacy. The council members are: Maylen Cyrtryn, Kabir Bindra and Justin Caruso.

The next council meeting will take place on Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. in H-763.


How do you get around? Concordia researchers want to know

How do you get to Concordia? Whether you’re a student, faculty or staff member, Zachary Patterson, assistant professor in Concordia’s department of geography, planning and environment, wants to know. And he’s introduced an app to figure it out.

Photo provided by Concordia University

Christened DataMobile, this app developed by undergraduate software engineering student Robson Razafindramary is designed to collect information about a person’s commute to and from Concordia.

“There’s two parts: when you open the app, there’s a survey and you’re asked about your trip to Concordia, what campus you go to, by what mode you go, how often you go by that mode and if you use an alternate mode, which one you might use,” said Patterson.

This socio-demographic information is anonymous and it’s about the only part of the app that requires user participation. After the user has completed the survey, the app will run in the background, collecting information from the phone’s GPS about the users longitudinal and latitudinal positions, and uploads it when Wi-Fi becomes available.

“We can look at distance, we can get the speed they’re traveling at, we can get the modes, we can get a sense of what their trip itinerary looks like. Do people just go to campus and then go home or do they go many other places?” Patterson explained.

The information collected will be useful in determining travel behaviour and therefore give a better understanding of travel demand.

“Demand creates congestion and emissions and all the things that are bad about transportation. The idea typically in these surveys is [to look at] what the total demand is on the system that you have,” he said.

Patterson and his team are looking to recruit between 1,000 and 2,000 participants to use this app, which is why they’ve made the app to be as “hands-off” as possible. Other than the two minute survey after installation, users are not required to do anything. The app has been designed to not interfere with a user’s regular charging schedule. However, if you are an iOS user, you will have to manually sync the data every so often as Patterson’s team was unable to find a way for iPhone users to have their data sync automatically. It is Patterson’s hope that this app, because there is very little required by the user, will be more popular than its contemporaries.

For example, MIT has been conducting an app-based research project in Singapore and, according to Patterson, as of last year, they had only 75 participants.

“The idea is to get a little bit of information, let it run in the background and hopefully that will increase the participation rate,” he said.

The data retrieved from this app will also be beneficial for students, especially those concerned with sustainability.

“We could give an estimate of the total kilometres traveled on the roads of Montreal, relating to the people at Concordia, and that gives a sense of what our contribution is to congestion or emissions” added Patterson. “If you can use this information to better plan [public] transit, it will mean more people will use transit and fewer people will use their car.”

DataMobile is downloadable from the App Store or Google Play Store.


“Over $13,000 partying like literal rock stars”

In a motion to be presented at Wednesday’s regular council meeting, CSU Councillor Wendy Kraus-Heitmann, is asking that the council write a formal letter to former executives, requesting that they refund the council for the expenses of their May 29 end-of-year party at Newtown restaurant.

Kraus-Heitmann named executives Nadine Attallah, Alexis Suzuki, Andrew Roberts, Simon Pierre Lauzon, Hajar El-Jahidi, Keny Toto, and Stefan Faina, as being those responsible for the overages.

In the budget presented June 12, by VP Finance Scott Carr, it was revealed that the former executive had spent $9,000 on their dinner at Newtown.

The former executive is being accused in the motion of spending $750 on a DJ for 50 people and for only inviting select individuals. Kraus-Heitmann asserts that she can provide two CSU employees to back up this claim.Kraus-Heitman also cites that they spent the money on such things as Belvedere vodka bottle service.

“How do we look our members in the eyes and say “last year’s exec blew over $13,000 partying like literal rock stars at Newtown and we’re not going to bother asking for it back” and not have them flip out on us? How can anyone take us seriously after that when we negotiate a health plan and insist we can only afford X amount when for $9,000 we probably could have added something like coverage for prosthetic limbs and eyes? It’s a matter of credibility,” she writes.

Her main motivation for asking that the former executives reimburse the CSU is because she feels the CSU cannot ask the administration to reign in their expenses and the cost of tuition when there is a large outstanding debt on such an extravagant purchase.

“While I might have found many members of last year’s executive to be less than as competent as I would wish, I don’t think any of them were lacking the intelligence to know that this is not how the Student Life budget should be spent. In addition, we’re students. We’re not high flying corporate CEOs. A party at Reggie’s to get rid of the mountains of beer that are undistributable and unsellable? That’s something normal students should expect.”

Kraus-Heitmann further states that she isn’t concerned with how the former executives will pay back the money, “They can have a cage match between Roberts and Toto on the mezz for all I care.”

The motion is on the agenda for the council meeting, Wednesday, Sept. 18 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in room H-763.







In-brief: Concordia Student Union Meeting

A great deal was accomplished at the CSU meeting held Wednesday June 12. The meeting ran for a record long 10 hours, during which time multiple committee and senate appointments were made, a new chairperson was chosen and the 2013-2014 budget was approved.

This was the second meeting of the newly-elected Executive and Council, and although many were still becoming familiar with policy and procedure, councillors demonstrated a dedication to thoroughness, asking questions and requesting clarification from executives. Chuck Wilson, Engineering and Computer Science Councillor, was active in presenting motions to Council and voicing his opinions. He was by far the most vocal of all councillors.

One of the many issues addressed during this meeting was the policy concerning councillor absence, departures and late arrivals. Wilson made a motion to to insert a new chapter called “Absences” into the Standing regulations, which would contain policies concerning councillor absences. The motion proposed that regulation 48 would state that a representative who is absent from the meeting for more than 60 minutes shall be considered absent. Absences must be approved by a vote of the Council and prior to the meeting regrets must be sent in writing to the Chairperson or requested by a representative. Furthermore, any request for excusal must include applicable supporting documentation and no excuse will be accepted for the reasons of homework, class, tutorial or non-examination academic event, work or vacation.

Council voted in favor of this motion. The only amendment to this motion that was approved was that attendance of midterm examinations is a proper excuse for missing meetings. In keeping with the standing regulations on absence, VP Student Life, Katrina Caruso was fined a $100 deduction from her pay for being absent because she was on vacation, which was part of the standing regulations before Wilson’s motion. The amended regulations as presented here won’t go into effect until five days after the meeting in which they were passed.

The bulk of the meeting was spent in interviewing candidates for chairperson and positions on senate in closed session. When session was opened again it was announced that Shannon Keymaram was appointed as the new chairperson and Terry Wilkings, Cameron Tisshaw, Melissa Lemieux and Jessica Glavina were appointed to Senate. President of the CSU, Melissa Kate Wheeler, will be sitting on the Board of Governors as the undergraduate student representative with Melanie Hotchkiss as the alternate.

In open session, appointments of Students at Large and Councillors to Standing Committees and the appointment of a Councillor to Student Space, Legal Accessibility and Fund Committee, were selected.

VP Finance, Scott Carr, presented a very thorough budget for the CSU’s operation for the upcoming year, projecting a total revenue of $6,634,265 with expenses amounting to $6,631,247, leaving a surplus of $3,018. In his projections for CSU bursaries, Carr prescribed that the CSU was to give out 50 bursaries at a value of $320 each. However, according to Annex A of the CSU Standing Regulations, the CSU is mandated to distribute 30 bursaries at a value of $500 each, which Carr was not aware of at the time. Nonetheless, this does not change the allotted amount of $16, 000.

Carr emphasized that he meant to reign in spending and keep a tighter hold on this year’s budget. Last year’s CSU finished the year in deficit largely due to a mismanagement of funds and poor spending, including the unauthorized spending of $30,000 on ASFA Talks by VP external Simon-Pierre Lauzon and VP finance Keny Toto, and a $9,000 Council party at Newtown restaurant.

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