Categories
Arts

PHOTOS: Comic Khaaaaaaaan!

Montreal Comiccon set up shop in Palais des congrès on Friday for three full days of pure uninhibited geeking out.

Now in its 6th edition, the convention featured it’s usual nerd-gasmy array of vendors and artists selling comic books, signed prints, vintage action figures, steampunk jewellery, obscure variations of “Keep Calm and…” t-shirts, sonic screwdrivers and plushie-versions of every Pokémon in the greater Johto region.

Saturday tickets sold out online, resulting in line-ups at the box office that trailed outside onto Viger Ave. Most seemed to make the wait bearable by befriending their neighbours and turning the winding queues into walk-by photo ops for the zombies and Master Chiefs shuffling along with them.

While the eternal Kirk vs. Picard debate rages on in excruciatingly detailed lists on Star Trek fan forums, both former Starfleet Commanders (played of course by William Shatner and Sir Patrick Stewart) headlined as this year’s guests of honour.

And the fans, as always, made the event worth attending with their awesome costumes and genuine enthusiasm towards their shared subculture.

*Want credit for your awesome costume? Leave your name and who you cosplayed as in the comments and we’ll add your info to the photo caption!

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Concordia Student Union News

CSU exec Morgan Pudwell not a registered student

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At the April 11 Concordia Student Union council meeting, the resignation of former VP advocacy and outreach, Morgan Pudwell, was addressed. Council went into closed session for the reading of a statement issued by Pudwell, who was not present at the meeting.

President Lex Gill said  when asked about Pudwell’s student status, that she could not discuss academic or health issues of her former colleague but that “[Pudwell] is working to resolve the situation.”

The issue was not discussed more at council following the closed session, in part because Pudwell was in transit and unable to attend the meeting.

According to an email sent to councillors from CSU chairperson Nick Cuillerier,  the Dean of Students office confirmed that Pudwell and Arts and Science councillor Amero Muiny are not registered as students at the university.

At the Wednesday meeting, it was stated by Cuillerier that Muiny would be submitting an official resignation to council in the near future.

CSU council mandated an investigation into the status of its executive, council and judicial board members at a council meeting in March. Pudwell walked out of the last regular CSU council meeting  after former CSU councillor Tomer Shavit accused her of not being a registered student. Pudwell stated illness as her reason for leaving.

With only six weeks left in her term, Pudwell informed her fellow CSU executives  in a formal letter sent on Tuesday that her last day in office will be April 17. The news of her resignation surfaced mid-day Wednesday.

According to Pudwell, she is no longer able to maintain her position because she has been dealing with health concerns.

During the last two weeks of her term, Pudwell wrote in her letter that she would “tie up loose ends with on-going projects and produce documentation for the incoming executive.”

This is not the first time Pudwell has stepped down from student politics at Concordia. In March 2011, Pudwell publicly resigned from her VP position in the 2010-2011 CSU executive citing personal reasons.

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Student Life

Concordia’s new neighbour is a greasy goldmine

Smoke’s Poutinerie’s first Montreal location is owned by two Concordia graduates. Photo by Alyssa Tremblay

Smoke’s Poutinerie has opened its first Montreal restaurant, setting up shop on Bishop Street just a jaywalk away from the Hall building.

Owners and Concordia grads Kathy Davey and Robert Sciascia say they couldn’t be happier with their location.

“We want to be involved with you guys—a student-friendly place,” says Davey.

Both Sciascia and Davey attended the university around the same time, but never met while they were there. Sciascia, an engineering graduate, calls this a “unique opportunity” for his family.

“This is the first time I’ve ever owned a restaurant,” he said.

The tiny shop offers 23 different types of poutine to-go packed into cardboard take-out boxes. The menu ranges from the tried-and-true classic cheese curds and gravy to adventurous flavour combos like curry chicken or nacho veggie.

Smoke’s founder Ryan Smolkin started peddling the Québécois comfort food to Torontonians in 2008 and has since opened over 20 poutineries across Canada. He emphasized that his franchise was about “giving back to those who support the business,” and said he is hopeful that Smoke’s will become an instant campus favourite.

Smoke’s Poutinerie, which opened Monday, April 2, is located at 2019 Bishop St. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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News

PSSA president apologizes for ‘calling off’ strike

Screenshot from online petition at http://impeachpierluc.com
Political Science Students Association President Pier-Luc Therrien Péloquin has apologized for declaring that the PSSA will not be going on strike, contrary to the results of a general assembly vote held last week.

The PSSA president came under fire for an email sent to political science students the morning of March 6 stating that the PSSA strike mandate was cancelled, one day before it was set to take effect. Péloquin retracted the statement at around 9 p.m. that same day on the PSSA’s Facebook group page, calling the cancellation a “mistake” and maintaining that the PSSA will in fact be respecting the vote.

“I made a stupid human mistake,” said Péloquin in an interview. He said he misread the original newsletter and titled it wrong before sending it to the entire political science student body. Péloquin said that the error was his own and in no way reflected the rest of his executive.

Political science undergraduates voted to go on strike at a general assembly held March 1. A total of 70 political science students attended the assembly, with 59 voting to go on strike, 14 opposing a strike and one abstention. The same day saw philosophy and fine arts undergraduates vote to join the over 100,000 students currently striking throughout the province against rising tuition fees in Quebec.

According to PSSA bylaws, 2.5 per cent of political science students is needed to make quorum and make the vote binding, a requirement that was met at last week’s general assembly. Péloquin said that while the results of the PSSA’s general assembly were legitimate, many were concerned by the overall low turnout (70 out of a student population of 1,600) and lack of student awareness about the vote due to its timing after reading week. A second PSSA general assembly will be held on March 14 to decide whether to extend the strike mandate.

“These last few days have brought a lot more awareness,” said Péloquin, referring to the heated reaction to his original comments, including an online petition started by political science student Nadim Kobeissi calling for Péloquin’s impeachment.

“I don’t want someone with that much disrespect for the democratic process to be heading, out of all the student associations at Concordia, the faculty of political science,” said Kobeissi. “I think making that decision unilaterally without consulting the student body is still against his mandate [as PSSA president].”

Dissatisfied with Péloquin’s apology, Kobeissi said that the decision to hold another general assembly is just another way of manipulating the results of the first vote. He plans on bringing his petition to CSU council and formally beginning the impeachment process if 100 people sign.

With over a dozen signatures as of Tuesday night, the petition demands for Péloquin’s immediate resignation, accusing him of undemocratically trying to cancel a legal vote due to “a conflict of interest” regarding Péloquin’s alleged anti-strike stance regarding provincial tuition fee hikes.

Péloquin responded to these allegations in an interview, maintaining that his opinions had nothing to do with his mistaken comments.

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News

Tuition protesters hit the books

CSU is organizing a sleep-in in the downtown campus library to protest and inform students about tuition hikes before the March 7 vote. Photo by Navneet Pall
Armed with sleeping bags, students protesting tuition increases woke up to day two of their occupation of Concordia’s downtown library this morning.

Roughly 40 people have set up camp in the J.W. McConnell Library Building to take part in the week-long event organized by the Concordia Student Union. Students plan on staying overnight in the building’s first floor atrium until Friday. By day, the CSU is using the space to hold workshops geared towards social activism.

“We pay to have our library open for 24 hours so we might as well take advantage of that,” said CSU VP external and event organizer Chad Walcott.

He said that the sleep-in was purposely timed to coincide with midterms to attract interest for their cause from the increased number of students circulating through the library.

The sleep-in doubles as an information campaign about university tuition hikes leading up to next week’s strike vote. On March 7, Concordia undergrads will vote on whether to join the more than 55,000 other post-secondary students already on unlimited strike in Quebec.

While the daytime activities are open to everyone, a Concordia ID card is required to sign up and spend the night. The university is accommodating the sleep-in, posting a press release alerting people to the protest on the Concordia Now website.

The university contacted the CSU about the sleep-in last week, according to Walcott. He said the occupation would have happened with or without the administration’s permission.

University spokesperson Chris Mota said their goal is to allow the sleep-in to take place as “safely and unobtrusively as possible.” Occupiers will have access to electricity and security will be present both during the day and overnight. Mota said that should any trouble arise, student leaders will be contacted to deal with the situation directly.

Walcott maintains that the protesters are “all adults who can govern themselves accordingly” and that people will respect the fact that they are in a library. Occupiers held a general assembly on Monday to set up ground rules for the following days.

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News

#Occupy McGill

Unlike the picket signs and loudly-chanted slogans that accompany most protests, the majority of the dialogue on the student occupation at McGill took place online.

Under the Twitter handle “@6partylive,” the dozen or so students who occupied McGill’s James Administration building tweeted their demands to the university, updated the world on their food situation and set up interviews with major Montreal media outlets.

Clashes between those for and against the occupation were numerous on Twitter, accessible to the world via the hashtags “#6party” and “#occupymcgill.”

“I decided to use Twitter because it is a relatively safe space in which to remain anonymous,” wrote one individual who tweets under the handle of @OccupyMcGill. Going by the name “James McGill,” he composed over 500 tweets last week rebuking the occupiers and replying to those supporting the sit-in online.

“My opposition to the methods and motivations of the protesters is based firmly on principle. The group of protesters are behaving in an ineffective and extremely childish manner,” he told The Concordian last week.

Concordia undergraduate senator and Mob Squad member Gene Morrow replied to many of @OccupyMcGill’s tweets, describing the volume and frequency of @OccupyMcGill’s tweets as “just weird.”

“He was tweeting one after another by himself regardless whether or not anyone else was tweeting, just repeating the same messages over and over again,” said Morrow. @OccupyMcGill maintained, both in interview and on Twitter, that he was one person tweeting of his own volition.

Debate crossed over to Facebook in the form of an event called “The James 6th Floor occupiers do NOT represent me.” With over 2,000 people listed as “attending,” the event claimed to represent McGill’s “silent majority.”

Beni Fisch and Diego Laguna, two of the event’s creators, said in an interview that they were amazed by the response and rewarded to discover that others felt the same way they did about the occupation.

“This is not against their message, it’s against their tactics,” said Fisch, stating that the CKUT/QPIRG referendum question is not their focus. Instead, the event came as a result of their ongoing frustration with the political discourse at McGill, which he and Laguna say has been monopolized by a radical minority. According to the event’s page, the aim is to create “positive change at McGill without the use of confrontational tactics.”

“It’s not slacktivism,” said Laguna, addressing those who have criticized the Facebook event as an empty gesture. Laguna and Fisch say the group is the beginning of a much larger mobilization that plans on taking action sometime within the next week.

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News

Concordia sexual assault centre project stalling

A campaign calling for the creation of a sexual assault crisis centre at Concordia is trying to raise student awareness about sexual violence, something they perceive to be an under-reported and neglected issue at the university.

The initiative stems from the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy, but the goal is to get the university to provide both the space and funding for a sexual assault centre on campus. The campaign hopes to see better services, better sensitivity training for service providers and security personnel, and a 24-hour crisis hotline.

Programming and campaigns coordinator Bianca Mugyenyi at the 2110 Centre said the goal is to make the crisis centre an institutionalized part of the university while still promoting student involvement.

“We think it’s within their mandate and responsibility to students to ensure that something as basic as that exists,” said Mugyenyi.

According to an annual report from Concordia’s Office of rights and responsibilities, nine cases of sexual harassment were filed in the 2010-2011 academic year. However, Mugyenyi said that these numbers can be misleading and appear too low given Concordia’s large population. A survey on sexual violence at Canadian universities conducted in March 2011 by the University of Alberta found that sexual assault centres in seven universities across Canada, including McGill, reported seeing between 90 to 300 clients per year.

“It’s under-reported here which means that people aren’t getting the help that they need,” said Mugyenyi.

The campaign also aims to improve Concordia’s existing policies that deal with sexual violence. Currently, sexual assault is addressed in the code of rights and responsibilities under sexual harassment. According to documents compiled by the 2110 Centre Sexual Assault Centre campaign, sexual assault needs to have its own separate policy.

In these documents, the campaign finds fault with the wording of Concordia’s policies, claiming that they “[repeat] victim-blaming rhetoric and [appear] to discourage students from reporting/filing formal complaints.” They also write that the policies are, overall, ambiguous and not easy to find via Concordia’s website.

“Without clear policy, people who are looking for help can’t access it,” said Mugyenyi.

Inconsistent information regarding how to deal with sexual assault on campus can be found on over 15-year-old sheets of paper with emergency contact numbers posted in the women’s washrooms in the Hall building.

One of the emergency numbers is listed as Concordia’s “Sexual Harassment Office,” an office that was discontinued sometime in the mid-1990s and replaced with the Office of rights and responsibilities. When called, the number, as well as every other number on the list, is out of service.

When asked about the posters in the women’s washrooms, Concordia’s advisor on rights and responsibilities, Louise Shiller, said she was not aware they existed and plans to have the information updated immediately.

The sexual assault centre campaign brought their demands to the Concordia Student Union council in October, where council passed a motion granting the campaign their endorsement.

CSU councillor Irmak Bahar supports the campaign and explained in an interview that a sexual assault centre would make it easier for students to get help.

“It’s important when it comes to sexual assault that we have something more accessible,” said Bahar. She acknowledged that Concordia’s health services provide emergency contraceptives and STI testing, as well as counselling and support for victims of sexual violence, but noted that their office hours are limited from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.

“Health services do what they can,” said Bahar, “but sexual assault doesn’t have a schedule.”

Open meetings are held three times a month by campaign organizers to discuss the centre and find support. An online petition calling for support is also available and as of Monday, had just over 200 signatures.

“It’s shameful that Concordia hasn’t taken this initiative yet, and I’d like to see that change,” said Anna Frey, a first-year studying communications and sexual studies, who signed the petition.

Those lobbying for a sexual assault centre are also trying to raise awareness by organizing educational workshops on sexual violence, distributing flyers around the school about consent and putting together a zine aimed toward survivors of sexual assault.

Mugyenyi said the campaign has applied for funding from Concordia’s sustainable action fund and should know within the coming weeks whether their request has been accepted.

Categories
News

Concordia hosts international game jam

Five complete strangers sit together on the 11th floor of the EV building making small talk.

Introducing themselves as 3D artists, designers and programmers, they try to get to know each other as fast as possible. Over the next 48 hours, they’ll be creating entire video games together in the Global Game Jam, a two-day event which took place across the world last weekend.

A game jam challenges amateurs and professionals alike to design and build fully functional video games in a short period of time. With over 11,000 jammers in 48 participating countries, the International Game Developers Association’s (IGDA) Global Game Jam is the largest event of its kind. The MTL Game Jam saw well over 100 participants frantically designing and coding a total of 21 different games across three downtown sites.

“It’s like a giant excuse to make games,” said Stéphanie Bouchard, a computation arts student, co-organizer of Concordia’s game jam site, and a member of IGDA Concordia.

Sagar Patel founded IGDA Concordia in September. He decided to bring the Global Game Jam to the university after attending and thoroughly enjoying a similar event the year before.

The Global Game Jam’s rules are consistent from country to country: at 5 p.m. on Jan. 27, each site was shown a presentation featuring keynote speeches from IGDA’s executive director Gordon Bellamy and gaming industry giants including The Sims game designer Will Wright. Organizers then revealed the theme meant to guide jammers in their game designs.

Last year’s theme was extinction. This year, jammers were presented with the image of an ouroboros, a symbol of infinity represented by a snake swallowing its own tail in a circle.

The finished products varied in design, creativity and difficulty. “Git outta mah van yo’ stoopid snake!” is simple but insanely addictive. The goal of this game is to roll a snake down a hill. The tricky bit is trying to maintain momentum by shrinking and jumping the circular serpent at just the right moments.

Another creation, “Snakes on a Train,” is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: players control a Samuel L. Jackson-esque character in this side-scrolling game, dodging a large amount of snakes on a passenger train.

At Concordia, the big reveal was followed by two hours of brainstorming before grouping them up. “That way you get people who are passionate about what they’re going to be making over the next 48 hours,” explained Patel.

By 3 p.m. on Sunday, the finished games needed to be uploaded and made available online on the Global Game Jam website. Judges critiqued the games at all three MTL Game Jam sites, giving feedback to the teams and selecting one submission per site to be featured at Demo Night, an IGDA Montreal event showcasing local work-in-progress games. Rather than formal awards, prizes donated by sponsors were raffled off.

Bouchard said game jams are about passion rather than competition, giving people who love gaming but aren’t working in the industry the opportunity to create, learn and network.

“It’s an intrinsic motivation,” she explained. “People do this because they want to, because it gives them a sense of reward.”
Concordia’s Technoculture, Art and Games research centre (TAG), also collaborated in organizing the event, said Patel.
“Games are the culture of our time,” said Lynn Hughes, associate director and co-founder of TAG. “You can’t have an arts school that pretends they’re not there.”

All of the games from the 2012 MTL Game Jam can be downloaded for free at http://globalgamejam.org/og/games/17755/list.

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News

City in brief

Fire (!) at the metro

A small electrical fire at Guy-Concordia metro caused the Société de transport de Montréal to temporarily shut down the Green and Orange metro lines in the middle of rush hour last Wednesday evening. Commuters were asked through the STM’s intercom to leave the metro station around 6 p.m., closing the downtown-serving Green line from Frontenac to Angrignon and the Orange line between Berri and Snowdon. Smoke was seen blowing into Guy metro, which remained closed until 7 p.m., according to The Gazette. Many frustrated metro users took to Twitter, some complaining that the STM’s Twitter account @stminfo took too long to report the disruption, others worrying that the delay would make them miss the Habs v. Washington hockey game at the Bell Centre.

CUTV vs. SOPA

CUTV took down their website on Wednesday in solidarity with other online groups protesting the U.S. government’s anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA. In an interview with OpenFile Montreal, CUTV’S web and distribution coordinator Fahim Moussi explained that the station decided to protest the legislation because CUTV relies on the Internet as their main way of sharing content and videos with the public. The two bills, which the US House of Representatives and Senate voted to shelve indefinitely last Friday, proposed heavy fines and jail sentences for anyone uploading copyrighted material to the Internet. Big-name websites who took part in the one-day blackout included Wikipedia, Reddit, Twitpic and the much-loved I Can Has Cheezburger blog.

Pencil, notebooks and mould

Students and staff at Vanier College went back to school with some hesitation last week after a routine inspection in November discovered mould in the college’s air ducts The mould was found growing inside the ventilation system of the N building, which houses several departments including Vanier’s animal health program. A letter sent out on Dec.13 alerted students and staff to the problem, giving people suffering from respiratory problems the option to change classrooms or offices, CTV Montreal reported. Vanier’s administration said the mould is currently isolated to just the N building and within acceptable limits. They plan on tearing out and replacing the building’s 25-year-old ventilation ducts this summer.

Faulty lamppost kills dog

Damaged electrical wiring is being blamed after a dog was electrocuted to death by a lamppost in Outremont. Kelly Downs was walking her dog Lily along the sidewalk on Côte-Ste-Catherine last Tuesday, the usual route they take on their walks, when Lily suddenly fell over and began to seize, reported CBC Montreal. Downs’ neighbour claimed that his dog had received a similar but non-fatal shock while passing the same lamppost on the street earlier that evening. The borough of Outremont responded to the incident, saying that the lamppost’s wiring has since been fixed.

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News

ConU in brief

Board of Governors meetings to remain unfilmed

Concordia’s Board of Governors has voted not to further accommodate people interested in sitting in on a BoG meeting.

The board rejected a series of motions aimed at accommodating a wider audience at their meetings last Thursday, as per the suggestion of their executive committee. The motions called for open sessions of the board’s monthly meetings to be broadcasted, a set-aside time for an open question period every meeting and an emphasis on only resorting to closed session when absolutely necessary.

However, many board members expressed concerns that the increased publicity of their meetings would result in governors feeling camera shy and hesitant to talk openly. Graduate student representative

Erik Chevrier presented the four motions at the Nov. 17 board meeting in an effort to “increase transparency.” His proposal became the subject of heavy debate, with the members discussing the motions for nearly a full hour. Of the four, a motion asking for meeting rooms to accommodate a minimum of 50 seats for non-board members was voted down immediately, but the remaining three were sent to the board’s executive committee for further review.

ASFA breaks rules to allow affiliations in upcoming elections

In an effort to make campaigning easier, candidates interested in running in the upcoming Arts and Science Federation of Associations elections will now be able to affiliate with one another.

At a meeting held last Thursday, ASFA voted to make a change to Annex A, the document used to govern their elections, to give individually-running candidates the right to support each other’s platforms. In order to make the change, ASFA also had to vote to temporarily lift Article 93 of Annex A, a rule which prohibits amendments to Annex A within a thirty days “of the nomination period for the annual general election.”

The decision to change the rule was not unanimous, some student association reps worrying that the new rule would return ASFA elections to the bullying and team-versus-team antagonizing that darkened previous elections.

Now amended, the old rule, which forbade any sort of co-operation or party-forming between candidates, came as a response to ASFA’s 2010 general elections which were marked by animosity and sabotaging between slates, as well as multiple contestations. ASFA’s elections are tentatively set for Feb. 15,16 and 17.

Categories
Sports

Stingers Buzz

Women’s basketball

Concordia 70 UQAM 53

A third-quarter explosion was enough to propel the Stingers women past an overmatched UQAM team for the second time in a row. After beating the Citadins by 25 points in their last game, the Stingers moved to 5-0 with a 70-53 victory at Loyola campus on Saturday night.
Concordia took an eight-point lead into halftime before blowing the game wide open in the third quarter. The Stingers went on a 9-0 run midway through the quarter and put the game out of reach.
Concordia dominated UQAM in every statistical aspect of the game. The Stingers forced more turnovers and grabbed more rebounds, which were keys to the 17 point victory. On the offensive glass Concordia out-rebounded the Citadins 17-8, mirroring the teams’ last meeting, where the Stingers were much more successful at creating second-chance opportunities.
Stingers guard Kaylah Barrett continued her spectacular play, leading the team with 26 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, for her first double-double of the season. Barrett’s play so far this season is the main reason the Stingers are perfect this far into January for the first time in a decade.
It remains to be seen how long it will take for the rest of the country to notice the Stingers; as of Monday night, they were still not ranked in the CIS top 10, despite their perfect start.

Men’s hockey

Queen’s 9 Concordia 2
Concordia 6 RMC 1

It was a weekend for extremes for the men’s hockey team: extreme blow-outs, extreme weather and extreme fatigue.
The stressful and prolonged trip through the Friday night snow storm to get to Kingston to face the Queen’s Gaels must have had an affect on the team’s performance. The Stingers ended up trailing 4-0 after the first period, and goalie Nicholas Champion was pulled after the second period, having given up seven goals on 19 shots.
The Stingers arrived back in Montreal around 3 a.m. Saturday morning, only to play an afternoon game against the RMC Paladins at 2 p.m.
The Stingers, clearly fatigued, were still able to jump out to a 2-0 lead just two minutes into the game on goals from George Lovatsis and Olivier Jannard. Concordia dominated in the second period, out-shooting the Paladins 16-8 and stretching the score to 5-1.
With just nine seconds remaining, and the game out of reach, Concordia’s Adam Strumas lined up RMC’s Eric Lalonde for a hip-check as Lalonde was streaking down the wing. Lalonde felt like Strumas went too low on the hit, got up and proceeded to viciously cross-check Strumas, igniting some late game fisticuffs.
“Our guy lined him up with a clean hit that [Lalonde] obviously thought was dirty,” said coach Kevin Figsby. “But that’s still no reason to get up and start cross-checking someone in the face.”
Goalie Peter Karvouniaris stopped 39 of 40 shots, getting his fourth win of the season.
Concordia faces off against UQTR next Wednesday night at home at 8:30 p.m.

Women’s hockey

McGill 4 Concordia 0

The Christmas break and a trip to Japan wasn’t enough to rid the Concordia Stingers hockey team of its losing ways. The team was defeated again by an over powering McGill squad. The score had the potential to get really ugly if it weren’t for the play of Stingers goalie Marie-Pier Rémillard who managed to get Concordia through two periods of hockey only trailing 3-0, despite being outshot 31-7 and giving McGill seven powerplays in the first two periods.
Rémillard would end up making 40 saves in the loss. Charline Labonté made 13 saves to get the shut out in the winning effort. The loss was Concordia’s fifth in a row as they have now sunk to last place in the conference and are out of the playoffs as of now.

Stingers in the CSU?

The Concordia Student Union is considering adding an extra seat on their council just for student athletes.
The idea was proposed by CSU councillor and men’s rugby player Emran Ghasemi as an attempt to boost Stinger representation at the school. Ghasemi explained student athletes are “unfortunately not recognized for the immense amount of effort they put into their work,” citing low student attendance at games and a general lack of awareness and team spirit at Concordia, compared to other universities.
Former Stingers Women’s rugby centre Jackie Tittley also attended the meeting, speaking to councillors about the life of a student athlete at Concordia.
After a half-hour of debate, the CSU voted neither for or against Ghasemi’s motion, but instead decided to refer the idea to their Policy Committee, inviting Swarm members and Stingers players to take part in further committee discussions. While no one disagreed that student athletes deserve recognition, many councillors expressed concerns that adding a Stingers-specific seat at council is not the answer and would only result in other student groups demanding similar representation.

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News

Newly-appointed treasurer driving force in PepsiCo debacle

The end of last semester saw the creation of an Office of the Treasurer within Concordia University’s administration and the appointment of Marc Gauthier, former executive director of finance and business operations, to the position of university treasurer.

Gauthier was heavily criticized by student groups in 2010 for his role in the renewal of the university’s exclusive food and beverage contract with PepsiCo. This resulted in Concordia student Laura Beach filing a mise en demeure, a notice that a legal challenge could be pursued, against Gauthier along with Johanne De Cubellis, associate director of Hospitality Concordia and Michael Di Grappa, former Concordia VP services and current VP administration and finance at McGill.

Co-founder of TAPthirst, an environmental initiative promoting tap water over bottled, Beach cites a lack of student consultation as the motivation behind her legal warning. She had been in talks with Gauthier and De Cubellis about an alternative option to renewing the PepsiCo contract.

“I gained 35 signatures of faculty members from every faculty on campus as well as hundreds of student signatures towards the negotiation of a more sustainable food and beverage contract,” said Beach, who is now an undergraduate representative on the Board of Governors.

She claims she was promised by Gauthier and De Cubellis in a verbal agreement that no negotiations regarding the food and beverage contract would take place until Beach, representing TAPthirst, the university, and a representative from PepsiCo all sat down.

But things ended up taking a different turn, according to Beach.

“In September it became clear that negotiations had taken place already with PepsiCo. Not only that, but they’d already signed an agreement in principle and they were about to sign a contract,” said Beach.

By October, students began to rally against the proposed contract. A protest was held at Norman Bethune Square and students staged a sit-in at the GM building just outside Hospitality Concordia’s offices. The university went through with the deal regardless, signing the exclusive food and beverage contract with PepsiCo on Oct. 29, Di Grappa’s last day at Concordia before leaving for McGill.

While Beach expressed doubts whether the Office of the Treasurer will have any direct effect on students, she remains concerned given her past experiences.

Sustainable Concordia, an opponent of the signing of the PepsiCo contract in 2010, declined to comment.

The Office of the Treasurer itself is a new concept at Concordia that came as a result of a business management decision. The position of university treasurer was created with the aim of “bringing together different financial projects at the university under a single managerial focus,” said university spokesperson Chris Mota.

In addition to Gauthier, Sara Deschamps, Maryse Picard, and Jean-François Baril will be working in the Office of the Treasurer as administrative assistant, administrator of the benefit portfolio, and corporate risk manager, respectively.

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