Categories
News

Took nine credits in a semester? It’s possible to adjust your Concordia tax receipts

Students who took nine credits are actually considered full-time on their Concordia tax receipts — this issue affects less than five students each year, who need to maintain their part-time status

Tax season is upon us, and Concordia students can now obtain their tax receipts for 2020.

While many students know that nine credits per semester constitutes part-time academic status at Concordia, students may not know that it is actually considered full-time taxation status, according to the university.

As tax receipts were released to Concordia students for the 2020 taxation year, some may have noticed that their nine-credit semester is listed as “full-time” taxation status.

Certain students may find that it is beneficial to maintain part-time status for taxation purposes on an individual basis.

Not to worry — the Student Accounts department is available to directly resolve any issues that may arise. Students may reach out directly to the department and ask for an adjustment of their tax receipt to reflect “part-time,” should they need.

Concordia spokesperson Vannina Maestracci released a statement to The Concordian that the difference in taxation and academic status for nine-credit students in a semester is “to the benefit” of “an overwhelming majority of students.”

Maestracci said there are “some rare instances” where the full-time taxation status does not benefit students, but they are minimal: “Only two such cases this year,” and “a maximum of three cases a year.”

“These rare cases — this year and in previous years — have been addressed directly with students: when they do not wish to be designated as a full-time student when taking nine credits on their federal tuition tax receipt, their designation on the tuition tax receipt is changed to part-time and the form re-submitted,” said Maestracci.

Additionally, Concordia emphasizes that “This only concerns the federal tuition tax receipt, not the provincial one and that designation or status for tax purposes differ from the academic status of a student in a university.”

When in doubt, contact Student Accounts should you have any questions about your taxation status.

 

Photo collage by Kit Mergaert

Categories
News

Anti-Asian hate crimes spike in Canada

Following a mass shooting in Atlanta that targeted Asian businesses, Canada reckons with its own anti-Asian racism problem

Spikes in anti-Asian hate crimes have been reported all around the world, including here in Canada. Anti-Asian racism has been present throughout the nation’s history, and this year, the Asian community reports racial violence is becoming increasingly aggressive, especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A recent study outlined that over 1,150 incidents of anti-Asian racism were reported in Canada between March 2020 and February 2021. According to a report published by The Chinese Canadian National Council’s Toronto chapter (CCNCTO) and Fight COVID Racism, Vancouver has experienced up to a 700 per cent increase in anti-Asian hate crimes. 

In Montreal, there were 30 hate crimes reported between March and December of 2020, up from just six reported in 2019. Last May, a man of Korean descent was stabbed in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

In September, two victims of Asian descent were killed in a double hit-and-run in Brossard. A 30-year-old man has since been arrested and charged with second degree murder.

Police insisted the hit-and-runs were not hate crimes, but failed to explain why. Both victims were of East Asian descent; Huiping Ding, 45, was Chinese, and Gérard Chong Soon Yuen, 50, was Korean.

This year on March 11, a man of Korean descent was walking in the Plateau when he was attacked with pepper spray in broad daylight. Initially, police were not investigating the incident as a hate crime, although the victim considered the incident to be one. However, following media coverage, the hate crimes squad was brought in to investigate. The victim, a man identified as Nicolas, detailed that while he was carrying “the latest iPhone, the latest Apple Watch, the latest iPad and MacBook Pro,” but his attackers made no effort to rob him.

Days later on March 16, breaking news of a mass shooting in Georgia reported eight dead, six of whom were Asian women. A 21-year-old white gunman targeted three separate Asian-owned spas in Acworth and Atlanta. The shootings sparked outrage among Asian communities across the U.S., with protests held in Atlanta and New York the same weekend.

In the wake of that tragedy, Montreal community leaders organized a march against anti-Asian racism on March 21. Organizers led thousands of supporters on a three kilometre march from Cabot Square to Chinatown, stopping at Quebec Premier François Legault’s office on Sherbrooke Street. Activists demanded acknowledgement of the sharp rise in anti-Asian sentiment within Quebec. Premier Legault continues to deny the existence of systemic racism in the province.

Speeches made by leaders of Montreal’s Asian community outlined Canada and Quebec’s own colonial and historically racist treatment of Asians. Cathy Wong, councillor of the Peter-McGill district, spoke passionately of the racist history that the Asian community has endured.

“We march in remembrance of our history, as racism against Asians did not begin yesterday. It was not born from the pandemic. We march in remembrance of our history because our history is coloured by racist laws that excluded the Chinese — targeting our great grandparents, despite building railroads in exchange for dreams of a new life,” Wong said to the crowd in French.

Among the speakers was part-time Concordia professor Jinyoung Kim, who identifies as Korean-Canadian. Four of the six Asian women who were killed in Atlanta were of Korean descent.

“[It became] an immediate reality for me and for my friends, my parents, and everyone I know with Asian bodies in North America,” she said, before describing the threat of violence against Asians in the last year. “It’s been a year of fighting for justice, and it feels like nothing has gotten better.”

“I feel deeply the traumas that my BIPOC students go through,” Kim said, speaking of her Studio Arts students at Concordia. “I have heard stories from my students.”

The Atlanta shootings have sparked conversations about the fetishization of Asian women, with many activists citing the gendered violence and racism that Asian women face. In a press conference held shortly after the shootings, law enforcement officials said that the gunman confessed to the shootings, but denied racial motivations behind the attacks. Instead, the shooter saw Asian women as “temptations that he had to eliminate,” that he had a “sex addiction,” and that it was a “bad day.”

Following the Atlanta shootings, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement saying, “While we have made progress toward a more just and equal society, more still needs to be done, and the Government of Canada remains committed to this work.”

On March 22, New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh introduced the Anti-Asian Hate motion, which passed in the House of Commons. The motion called for the federal government to “properly fund” hate crime units across Canada, and make efforts to “identify best practices in countering this trend.”

But Singh echoed the sentiments of many, tweeting in response, “Justin Trudeau needs to do more than offer words, he needs to act,” in order to combat anti-Asian violence.  

 

Photographs by Christine Beaudoin

Women’s History Month is off to a terrifying start

The month began with the death of Sarah Everard, followed by a mass shooting and reports of femicide in Canada

As little girls, we were warned against straying from the confines of our gendered boundaries, because if we did, we would surely be punished for our curiosities — that transgressions of any kind would inevitably result in deadly consequences. What nobody prepares girls for is that the same boundaries we are told to operate within serve as challenges for boys and men. That we don’t have to earn gendered violence against us; it may happen anyway. In a month intended to celebrate women, Women’s History Month is off to a terrifying start.

The history of International Women’s Day (IWD) dates back to the early 1900s. Its cultural significance was strengthened by the participation of the United Nations in 1975, includes movements supporting women’s rights in countries all over the world, and has now expanded into a month-long celebration. While Canada celebrates IWD on March 8 along with the rest of the world, Canada’s Women’s History Month is observed in October. However, popular recognition and commercialization of IWD has coloured the way that women are celebrated globally. But despite these admirable goals, this Women’s History Month has been marred with terror.

On the night of March 3, 33-year-old Sarah Everard left her friend’s home in South London, heading on a 50 minute walk home. Sarah left at 9 p.m., well before what girls are told is the cutoff for their unspoken curfew. We learn that she was on the phone with her partner, Josh Lowth, for 15 minutes before it was cut short. She was dressed for an evening walk, wearing a rain jacket, pants, knitted hat and a face mask. When the Metropolitan Police raised concerns over Everard’s whereabouts on March 6, women understood the danger Sarah may have been in, silently praying for news that she made it home that night.

Everard did everything right — she was dressed in a way that would satisfy the “but what was she wearing?” crowd; she was walking home early enough for the “but was she out too late” crowd; and she was careful enough to walk on a main road while on the phone with her partner for the “but was she reckless” crowd. Everard was last seen on a CCTV camera alone at around 9:30 p.m. that night. When remains were found on the evening of March 10 in a wooded area 56 miles away from where she was last seen, we prayed harder. The body discovered was confirmed to be Everard on the morning of March 12.

To date, a 48-year-old police officer has been taken into custody in connection with Everard’s murder. When thousands of women gathered on March 13 in South London for a vigil in her honour, peaceful observers were met with violence from police. As footage of arrests circulated, public outrage prompted London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, to declare the force from police “unacceptable,” and that they were “neither appropriate or proportionate.”

On social media, women began to share their experiences of sexual assault, only to be met with resistance from the “not all men” crowd. The widespread refusal to acknowledge mens’ complicity of gendered violence surprised no one, yet women continued to perform emotionally laborious tasks in defending their right to safety. Little did we know, Everard’s murder was just the beginning of the grim weeks to follow.

On March 9, Texas lawmaker Bryan Slaton introduced a bill that would allow the death penalty for those who would have abortions. HB 3326 would allow anyone having or performing abortions to be charged with homicide, a crime punishable by death under Texas law.

On March 16, a 21-year-old white gunman opened fire at three separate Asian-owned businesses in Georgia, killing eight people. Seven of the victims were women, six of whom were Asian women. The mass shooting occurs after spikes in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Asian Canadians since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Canada, a report by the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability found that one woman or girl is killed every 2.5 days in Canada. #CallItFemicide reports that 90 per cent of cases of an identified killer are male, with more than half of them being the partners of their victims.

Women’s History Month has yet to conclude — but thus far, it has served as a stark reminder that violence against women continues to eclipse the celebration of their societal and cultural contributions. Author and activist bell hooks said, “What we do is more important than what we say or what we say we believe.” If Canadians and Americans believe at last, that women deserve the right to feel safe in their own bodies, then much has left to be done.

 

Photo collage by Kit Mergaert

Categories
Student Life

Canada’s costly new mandatory quarantine unfairly punishes international students

Canada’s latest travel restrictions will incur exorbitant costs for those with student visas

Following a slew of winter vacationers to the Caribbean and Mexico, new regulations for passengers entering Canada have been enforced in an effort to discourage non-essential travel.

In effect since Jan. 30, the new restrictions include a suspension of flights to some sunny destinations enforced through April 30, as well mandatory COVID PCR testing at airports for returning travellers. But most notably, mandatory three-day quarantines at government-approved hotels, with packages that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says could cost upwards of $2,000 per returning passenger, have been the subject of complaint.

Among the chatter from Canadian vacationers who have expressed disdain for the new regulations, international students have begun to voice concerns about the financial and logistical impacts these travel restrictions will bear on their plans to return to Canada.

In multiple public posts to Concordia University’s subreddit, international students wonder whether those with student visas may be exempt. One user commented, “[$2,000] equals the tuition of a whole semester for a Quebec resident at Concordia. If they would [implement] this, why [issue] new study permits to international students?”

Currently, Concordia’s website lists international student tuition fees as ranging between $21,720 to $28,995 for one academic year. Given that Canadian citizens were responsible for the majority of non-essential travel that inspired these restrictions, legitimate concerns are being raised over the inequities in its effects on international students.

Conversely, since Canadian universities such as Concordia stand to profit broadly from international tuition fees (specifically nearly $6 billion in annual revenue for Canadian universities and nearly $22 billion in expanded economic contributions), candid discussions around the equitable handling of returning international students must be had.

In another Reddit post, one anonymous student remarked, “Concordia has definitely failed us, especially international students as they said last year that we could all go home and that they would adjust consequently…” Concordia and universities across Canada did, in fact, reassure international students flexibility as they collectively navigated distance learning in the pandemic.

However, the latest Canadian travel measures do not exempt international students from the $2,000 mandatory quarantine, which is evidence of universities’ negligence in advocating for their international students.

It is important to note that international students are not asking to break public health guidelines. Rather, given that international students are ineligible for emergency financial support like the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) or the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the costly mandatory quarantines exacerbate the already exorbitant costs they face. One anonymous student remarked, “That’s crazy. That’s the equivalent of four months of my rent.” Currently, robust measures to provide equitable travel guidelines for international students are still needed.

Concordia’s international students information page touts Montreal as the “best student city in North America.” With Canada’s failure to consider the unfair impacts on returning international students, Concordia’s claim that Montreal is an “affordable, student-friendly city” appears to leave out international students amidst a global pandemic.

 

Feature graphic by @the.beta.lab

Categories
Arts

Minari and the immortalization of one family’s American Dream

The 2021 Golden Globes Winner for Best Foreign Language Film is about a Korean-American family in rural Arkansas

“She’s the reason I made this film,” said Lee Isaac Chung as he held his daughter in his arms.

It was an opening line to an acceptance speech for a bittersweet victory.

Minari (2020) is a semi-autobiographical film written and directed by Denver-born director Lee Isaac Chung. It tells the story of a Korean American family’s relocation from California to rural Arkansas in the 1980s, where its patriarch is determined to start a farm. Despite its universally relatable storyline, debates over the film’s eligibility to compete amongst other American films persist.

Minari’s Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film has stirred up a complex, painful awareness of rejection and alienation for Asians across America and Canada, like myself. 

Minari was written, directed, filmed and produced in America; it tells the story of an American family in the midwest, and stars a predominantly American cast — yet its win for Best Foreign Language Film has punctuated the chasm between what is offered to American families of colour, and what is demanded of them.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) rejected Minari’s bid for Best Picture because the film is predominantly in Korean. However, as film journalists have highlighted, the HFPA nominated Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds — which also features foreign languages — in the main category of Best Film in the past. The HFPA’s rejection of Minari as an American film is representative of the open rejection of the Asian diaspora and their place in North America.

Minari stars the Yi family — parents Jacob and Monica are chicken sexers from California who have an opportunity to pay off their debts if they can successfully get their small farm started in Arkansas. 

As the family struggles with supporting Jacob’s parents as well as managing the heart condition of their eight-year-old son, David, a decision was made for Monica’s mother to come from South Korea to live with the family.

First and second generation Asian immigrants are all too familiar with the layered complexities of filial piety in the same ways that the Yi family experiences — living in multigenerational homes while navigating their obligations between the generations before and after them.

David complains throughout the film that his grandmother isn’t “like a real grandma.” That she “smells like Korea” and should be baking cookies. Instead, David’s grandmother brings him to a creek deep in the woods near their trailer home, and introduces him to a Korean plant called minari. She tells him that “Minari grow anywhere,” and that “Rich or poor, anyone can enjoy it and be healthy.”

The film’s cultural significance is a universal language of the rooting of our ancestral tapestry — from which every American-born Asian child and grandchild blossom.

Much like David, the young boy in Minari, I grew up with varying degrees of shame and pride for my dual identities as both American and Chinese. As an adult who later immigrated to Canada, learning French and settling into life in Montreal has been a natural extension of my existing immigrant identity. So natural, that when I was interrupted mid-conversation with a friend on the STM to be complimented for my “good English,” I was vilified for calling out this problematic behavior.

Language has been a particularly sore subject for me — I speak English with perfect fluency, and French with a barely detectable accent. But try as I might, everywhere I went, I was reminded that no amount of assimilation would ever be enough.

In the film, Jacob toils away at a piece of cursed land, negotiating his priorities against his dreams throughout the film. It is perverse that this universally relatable story of resilience and perseverance is categorized as foreign. 

What Asian Americans heard was a message we’ve heard throughout our lives — you may speak perfect English, know no home other than the United States, be born and raised on American soil, tend to a piece of the American dream, and still be considered an outsider.

Perhaps narratives like the struggling farmer or western cowboy trespasses into the kind of American identity that immigrants and BIPOC are restricted from. We are only allowed to be Americans with a hyphen — because the full American identity isn’t available to us.

Asians born in rural Quebec and densely populated New York alike live a shared reality — a constant interrogation of both our roots and our allegiances, as if our only choices are one or the other. Perhaps the most revealing nuance for immigrants in North America is the silent understanding that as we commit to a lifelong embrace of our western home, its institutions will continuously fail to embrace us.

Nevertheless, Asians in North America will honour films like Minari for the ways it immortalizes our stories — offering a long overdue perspective of ethnic Americans in an otherwise predominantly white western narrative.

Exit mobile version