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News

Montrealers are gathering to denounce the exploitation of minors on pornography platforms 

monthly demonstrations continue raising awareness while demanding change

A group of Montrealers have been gathering monthly in front of MindGeek’s headquarters, the parent company responsible for many explicit websites such as Pornhub. The group recently joined outside of MindGeek’s building to denounce the company’s affiliation with the exploitation of minors on the site. 

The monthly demonstrations began in 2020 when organizer Rafaela Diaz-Byers Lee heard about MindGeek’s involvement in exploiting pornographic material of minors on Pornhub, including videos of rape and spy cam footage. Several investigations have shown Pornhub’s involvement in child abuse is deeply catalogued. 

Arrêter ExploitationHub is a Quebec-focused, non-religious, non-partisan campaign against MindGeek. 

“I wanted to mobilize a team here in Montreal because it was happening in our own city,” said Diaz-Byers Lee. 

As a master’s student studying creative arts therapy at Concordia, Diaz-Byers Lee was shocked to find out that the co-owner of MindGeek was a Concordia alumnus. 

“I wanted to just get people out there, the only thing I knew how to do is just to stand on the side of the road and educate people and raise awareness,” added Diaz-Byers Lee. 

Among the demonstrators was Arnold Viersen, a Member of Parliament for the Peace River—Westlock, Alberta riding. Viersen joined to show his support and ongoing work for the cause. 

Viersen has been actively working with the government on this issue. In 2016, he moved a motion in the House of Commons to request an investigation on the impacts of pornography on Canadian society. Through this process, he also learned about MindGeek’s involvement. 

“We’ve been pushing on the government to do something about this. So one side is like trying to keep porn out of the hands of kids. But the other side is to keep kids out of porn,” said Viersen. 

Viersen recently introduced Bill C-270, Stopping Internet Sexual Exploitation Act (SISE), a law that would require those making or distributing pornographic material for commercial purposes to verify the age and consent of each person appearing in the video. 

“So that’s kind of why I’m here today, is to just raise awareness about the horrific actions of this company and their impacts on people’s lives,” said Viersen. 

Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, was also present in solidarity.

On her end, Miville-Dechêne has been working on Bill S-210, an Act to restrict young persons’ online access to sexually explicit material.

This bill would recognize the portrayal and exposure of porn to kids as a criminal act, an initiative already adopted by France. In 2020, the French Parliament unanimously agreed to pass a law requiring age verification on pornographic websites to prevent access by children under 18. 

Miville-Dechêne is emphasizing the idea of age verification to access these pornography platforms. She explains that these websites are very accessible to children. 

“We know that a lot of kids have been on these platforms for hours and hours and days, especially during the pandemic,” she said. 

“What is shown, according to scientific research, we can make links now between kids watching porn, a lot of porn, and different harms, like becoming more aggressive in sexual relationship having a distorted view of sexual relationships,” Miville-Dechêne said. 

A ranking lists Pornhub as the 12th-most-visited website in the world. Though statistics for 2020 are unavailable, 2019 statistics show that this platform attracted 42 billion visits that year, or an average of 115 million visits per day. 

“We want to preserve the innocence of children, they have to learn about sexual relationships in another way. So yes, I want sexual education for our kids and our teens. But I don’t want porn to be sexual education. And this is what it has become,” said Miville-Dechêne.

The demonstrations will continue to denounce the harmful impacts of the platforms. The next protest will be on Dec. 17.

Categories
Briefs News

Canada removes interest on federal student loan payments 

Employment and Social Development Canada announced updates to help students repay their loans

On Nov. 1, Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion announced changes to the Canada Student Financial Assistance (CSFA) Program’s Repayment Assistance Plan to support young Canadians in better starting their careers. The changes are as follows: 

The zero-payment income threshold for Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans will increase from $25,000  to $40,000. 

Payment is not expected until borrowers are earning an annual income of at least $40,000. 

The threshold will vary based on household size. 

The cap on monthly affordable payments will be lowered from 20 per cent to 10 per cent of a borrower’s household income.

Monthly affordable payments will be reduced to ensure that nobody “has to pay more than they can reasonably afford.”

These changes are expected to affect approximately 180,000 students each year. However, these updates will not be implemented in Quebec, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut since they do not participate in the CSFA Program. However, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia will also introduce the same changes to their Repayment Assistance Plans.

Photo by Lily Cowper

Categories
News

New poll suggests young Quebecers support voting system reform

Young adults are ready to see a change in the current voting system, poll suggests

Following Coalition Avenir Québec’s (CAQ) victory in the provincial election, Léger conducted a survey for the Journal de Montréal asking 1,040 Quebecers aged 18 and over if they were in favour of reforming the current voting system. The data was collected from Oct. 2 to 7.

First-past-the-post (FPTP) is the current voting system, defined as a “winner-takes-all” system where the candidate with the most votes wins. Even if they don’t receive more than 50 per cent of the votes, they become the Member of Parliament for that riding and gain a seat in the House of Commons. Fair Vote Canada, a group in favour of electoral reform, describes the FPTP voting system as “distorted.”

“It [FPTP] fosters stability in general because it tends to generate majority governments rather than minority or coalition governments, as opposed to say, proportional representation,” said Dr. Daniel Béland, director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. 

“At the same time, there are a lot of votes that are lost, because you vote in your riding for a candidate. And if the candidate loses your vote doesn’t have much of an impact,” Béland said. 

Guy Lachapelle, political science professor at Concordia, Legault failed to deliver on his 2018 campaign promise to implement voting reform. 

“And this argument that he didn’t have the time to implement it, I think I don’t buy it because he had created a committee right when he was elected and he signed the agreement,” said Lachapelle.  

Legault also previously stated the issue of electoral reform was a matter concerning “a few intellectuals” and not the majority of Quebecers. However, Léger’s study revealed 53 per cent of Quebecers want the current electoral system to be reviewed due to the current misrepresentation as highlighted by Béland. 

Results also show that 59 per cent of the respondents aged from 18 to 34 are in favour of electoral reform. 

Mina Collin, a journalism and political science student at Concordia, shared her disappointment with the recent elections. 

“What we’ve seen with the elections that just passed on Oct. 3 is that the system that we have is not representative especially,” said Collin. 

The recent provincial elections enforce the idea of a “seat penalty” in the House of Commons whereby the popular vote doesn’t represent the number of seats elected.  

The study also indicates the current electoral system causes a discrepancy between the percentage of votes that a political party obtains across Quebec and the number of seats it has. 

“They had a majority of popular votes than for example the Liberal Party, but it’s the Liberal party that has more seats in the Assembly.” 

 The survey also shows that 59 per cent of voters aged 18-34 favour electoral reform. 

Noah Martin, a political science student at Concordia, explained his theory for the low voter turnout of 66 per cent during this election. 

“As a poli-sci student I will still vote, but if there were [a different] system where people’s voices can be heard and represented better, then I would think people would be more likely to vote,” suggested Martin. 

Though, as the study suggests the majority of Quebecers wish for electoral reform, change is unlikely to happen in the next few years. 

“I don’t think change will happen in Quebec, anytime soon, because the current government doesn’t want change to take place, because the system works for them. They got barely 40 per cent of the vote, and they got more than 70 per cent of the seats,” said Bélanger. 

“It’s not going to happen as long as the CAQ is in power with the majority government,” he added.

Graphic by James Fay

Categories
News

Social norms and undergraduate drinking: new Concordia study

 New research will analyze the drinking culture among young adults

Drinking in college has become part of the university experience. Many students view alcohol consumption at parties as a rite of passage. 

“Drinking culture around the University is crazy. Students often go drinking, I think most of them do it to forget about the stressors coming from the University,” said Mirella Corso, a first-year finance student at JMSB. 

“I think people use this as a coping mechanism which obviously is not ideal but understandable considering how stressful it is to be a student in this generation,” Corso added. 

Social Norms and Undergraduate Drinking is a study conducted by Dr. Roisin M. O’Connor and the Young Adult and Alcohol Research Laboratory at Concordia that will examine the link between injunctive norms and alcohol consumption among university students. 

Injunctive social norms are behaviours that one is expected to follow and expects others to follow in a given social situation. The goal of Dr. O’Connor’s study is to analyze how people perceive drinking.

Dr. O’Connor’s goal in conducting the study is to better understand and answer the following question: “Why do so many students misuse alcohol?” 

“I am interested in predictors of alcohol use problems, and alcohol use disorder and I’m very interested in kind of transitional periods throughout late adolescence into and through emerging adulthood,” said Dr. O’Connor.

 According to data collected from the 2017 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS), 78.2 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and over reported drinking alcohol at least once in the last year. The CTADS also reports the prevalence of past-year drinking in 2017 among young adults of legal drinking age (18-24 years) was 82.3 per cent, and 79.4 per cent for adults age 25 or older.

The Social Norms and Undergraduate Drinking study is a longitudinal study, meaning it will involve repeated observations over a given period of time. Involving repeated observations over a given period of time, the first phase will gather data from eight to ten online surveys from first-year students and will investigate drinking perception and behaviours. 

The study will follow students throughout their undergraduate degree and track their drinking patterns, their norms, their injunctive norms, their perceptions and how these factors will change throughout their time at university. 

“How do these perceptions align with changes in our drinking behaviour? And who are the people that know when they shift out of university, also are shifting out, maturing out of potential heavy drinking,” said Dr. O’Connor. 

The second phase is the longitudinal study, where Dr. O’Connor and the team will evaluate how students’ perceptions and social norms will predict alcohol use. 

“We’re always looking to how our research can inform interventions or prevention programs. So when we learn about what puts people at risk, then it helps us better target our interventions and our prevention programs,” said Dr. O’Connor. 

Among the graduate students working with Dr. O’Connor is Charlotte Corran, a PhD student in the clinical psychology program.

Corran’s dissertation focuses on the relationship between anxiety and alcohol consumption. Her research will study anxiety sensitivity in drinking, the fear of experiencing anxious symptoms, and the fear that it will lead to negative consequences. 

Corran will analyze how young adults experiencing anxiety sensitivity are prone to lean towards risky drinking due to peer pressure. 

“I was particularly interested in this study, kind of for that social aspect and we know that young adults are [in] a period in development where we care a lot about what our friends and peers think. So I figured it was probably having an impact on drinking,” said Corran. 

Categories
News

New poll suggests young Quebecers support voting system reform

Young adults are ready to see a change in the current voting system, poll suggests

Following Coalition Avenir Québec’s (CAQ) victory in the provincial election, Léger conducted a survey for the Journal de Montréal asking 1,040 Quebecers aged 18 and over if they were in favour of reforming the current voting system. The data was collected from Oct. 2 to 7.

First-past-the-post (FPTP) is the current voting system, defined as a “winner-takes-all” system where the candidate with the most votes wins. Even if they don’t receive more than 50 per cent of the votes, they become the Member of Parliament for that riding and gain a seat in the House of Commons. Fair Vote Canada, a group in favour of electoral reform, describes the FPTP voting system as “distorted.”

“It [FPTP] fosters stability in general because it tends to generate majority governments rather than minority or coalition governments, as opposed to say, proportional representation,” said Dr. Daniel Béland, director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. 

“At the same time, there are a lot of votes that are lost, because you vote in your riding for a candidate. And if the candidate loses your vote doesn’t have much of an impact,” Béland said. 

Guy Lachapelle, political science professor at Concordia, Legault failed to deliver on his 2018 campaign promise to implement voting reform. 

“And this argument that he didn’t have the time to implement it, I think I don’t buy it because he had created a committee right when he was elected and he signed the agreement,” said Lachapelle.  

Legault also previously stated the issue of electoral reform was a matter concerning “a few intellectuals” and not the majority of Quebecers. However, Léger’s study revealed 53 per cent of Quebecers want the current electoral system to be reviewed due to the current misrepresentation as highlighted by Béland. 

Results also show that 59 per cent of the respondents aged from 18 to 34 are in favour of electoral reform. 

Mina Collin, a journalism and political science student at Concordia, shared her disappointment with the recent elections. 

“What we’ve seen with the elections that just passed on Oct. 3 is that the system that we have is not representative especially,” said Collin. 

The recent provincial elections enforce the idea of a “seat penalty” in the House of Commons whereby the popular vote doesn’t represent the number of seats elected.  

The study also indicates the current electoral system causes a discrepancy between the percentage of votes that a political party obtains across Quebec and the number of seats it has. 

“They had a majority of popular votes than for example the Liberal Party, but it’s the Liberal party that has more seats in the Assembly.” 

 The survey also shows that 59 per cent of voters aged 18-34 favour electoral reform. 

Noah Martin, a political science student at Concordia, explained his theory for the low voter turnout of 66 per cent during this election. 

“As a poli-sci student I will still vote, but if there were [a different] system where people’s voices can be heard and represented better, then I would think people would be more likely to vote,” suggested Martin. 

Though, as the study suggests the majority of Quebecers wish for electoral reform, change is unlikely to happen in the next few years. 

“I don’t think change will happen in Quebec, anytime soon, because the current government doesn’t want change to take place, because the system works for them. They got barely 40 per cent of the vote, and they got more than 70 per cent of the seats,” said Bélanger. 

“It’s not going to happen as long as the CAQ is in power with the majority government,” he added.

Categories
News

CSU, GSA and TRAC withdraw from Concordia’s Standing Committee on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence

Three student organizations — the Concordia Student Union (CSU), the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA), and the Teaching and Research Assistants at Concordia (TRAC) union — announced their withdrawal from the University’s Policy Advisory Committee on sexual violence on Oct.5. 

During their press conference outside of the Hall building, student representatives announced their decision to no longer participate in Concordia’s Standing Committee on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence due to ignored demands and mishandled complaints. 

The committee is made up of students, staff, and faculty with the goal of raising awareness to prevent and respond to incidents of sexual violence on campus.

Alan Shepard, President of Concordia between 2012-19, announced the establishment of the task force on sexual misconduct and sexual violence in Jan. 2018, following several harassment allegations within the University’s Creative Writing program. 

Since then, student representatives like Vice President of TRAC Becca Wilgosh have shared their disappointment in the lack of transparency and resources for students. 

“We’ve talked a couple of times about how complainants’ survivors in the University don’t even receive the results of their case, especially when that case is regarding faculty,” said Wilgosh. 

“And the University is more concerned with their reputation, especially when it comes to faculty than actually giving justice to students,” she added. 

Margot Berner, a past student representative in the standing committee, read the statement at last week’s press conference, describing Concordia’s policy processes as ‘hostile to students.’ 

Berner also explained that the required non-disclosure agreements to participate in the committee prove a lack of transparency towards student organizations. 

“Non-disclosure agreements work directly against our mandates of transparency, accountability, and accessibility to information,” read the statement. 

Another reason that was provided for the collective withdrawal was the lack of student representation. Only four of the 15 committee members are students, representing only slightly less than a third of the active student body. Berner also highlighted that the final authority on the sexual violence policy remains at the discretion of the Board of Governors. 

“With most decisions taken behind closed doors or through coercive consensus, the student representative positions in actuality remain simply observational rather than representative,” Berner added. 

During his speech, Nelson Graves, a TRAC delegate for the philosophy department, claimed the department has a history of sexual violence. 

Graves recalls an instance wherein two teaching assistants (TAs) were recently assigned to one individual who has allegedly perpetuated sexual violence amongst his female TAs. 

Additionally, Graves spoke about another situation in which an international student felt humiliated by the lack of awareness from the University about the sexual misconduct allegations.

“We’re working with TRAC Union to better expand our campaign, and we are interested to see how the University responds to this larger campaign,” concluded Graves.

Payton Mitchell, communications coordinator for the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA), was also present at the press conference. 

“Concordia’s sloppy process and refusal to approach problems with a student-centred and solution-oriented mindset have hindered accessibility to fully support our own membership,” said Mitchell. 

The CSU, GRA, TRAC and ASFA have no plans to return to the standing committee in the foreseeable future unless major changes regarding transparency are implemented. 

The three organizations will work closely together to raise awareness and support students who are mistreated. 

“We actually believe that we would do a better job of leading, beginning the discussions about what the sexual violence response should be in the University because we don’t have these institutional restraints that the University faces,” said Wilgosh.

Categories
News

Concordia’s Iranian community demands better support from the University 

Fora Fereydoumi at the Freedom for Iran rally. HANNAH TIONGSON/The Concordian

The Iranian Student Association of Concordia University is calling out the University for lack of support amid protests in Iran

Last month, Iran’s morality police arrested 22-year-old Mahsa Amini for not wearing a hijab. Amini died several days later while in custody, and many Iranians believe she was killed due to police violence. Her death triggered worldwide protests denouncing the Iranian regime. 

As demonstrations continue to take place in Montreal, many Montrealers are helping organize and raise awareness. The Iranian Student Association of Concordia University (ISACU) is proactively spreading the word but demands more support from the University. 

ISACU is a cultural club at Concordia, part of the International and Ethnic Associations Council (IEAC). Shayan Asgharian, president of the club, shared his frustration and disappointment with the lack of funding. 

“We’re a cultural club. We barely get the funding for doing things like this. So everything we’re doing right now is almost out of pocket,” Asgharian explained. 

“The IEAC has been more than slow in returning our money. We’ve made banners for protests, we’ve made posters, everything you can think of, and they’ve been horrible at returning our money,” he added. 

Asgharian explained the lack of funding is worrisome for international students with limited access to money due to the current strikes in Iran. Since the death of Amini, Iranians have been striking every day and leaving their jobs, making it difficult for Iranian parents to support their children abroad financially. 

A solution proposed by Asgharian is to divide tuition fees into segments for international students. Asgharian brought this up to Concordia’s Dean of Students Andrew Woodall in an email but was not acknowledged. 

“Many students have had no contact with their family members, and [for] over a week due to the government’s shutting down the country’s internet. The shutting down of the country’s internet has also caused all international students to lose access to their banks in Iran,” Asgharian wrote.

“Therefore, paying tuition for them has become extremely hard. I was wondering if it would be possible to extend the date of the tuition deadline and even maybe divide the tuition into segments for students to be able to pay their tuition off easier,” he added. 

Another request was better mental health support.

“We’ve all been really distraught […] by the current events in Iran. It feels like watching a genocide happening live in your country. There is no word to describe it,” said Daria Almasi, a member of ISACU. 

Fora Fereydoumi, another member of ISACU, emphasized the need for better mental health support, specifically for Iranian students. 

Earlier last week, the International Student Office (ISO) sent a letter to students of Iranian nationality to offer support and resources. A notice of support for Iranian students, faculty and staff was posted on Carrefour and the Student Hub. 

“We appreciate the accommodation that the University offered to Iranian students in Concordia, but most of them are always open to all students. There is not something extra for Iranians,” said Fereydoumi. 

Aboozar Beheshti, another member of ISACU, suggested that psychological services be provided in Farsi, the spoken language in Iran, to encourage Iranian students to communicate and express their thoughts. 

Beheshti also asked the University to support the Iranian community the same way they supported the Ukrainian community. 

“The Ukraine [war] did not [happen too long ago]. You know, it was just a few months ago. We can take it as an example of how the University tried to [raise] awareness and how the University tried to reach people to offer support,” said Beheshti. 

Regardless of their current busy schedules, Asgharian, Almasi, Fereydoumi, and Beheshti all attended the Freedom Rally for Iran last Saturday, Oct. 1, in front of McGill University. 

Saman Abolfathi is marching at the Freedom for Iran rally. HANNAH TIONGSON/The Concordian

Saman Abolfathi, a fourth-year psychology student, participated in the demonstration and raised similar concerns that members of ISACU did. 

“I believe Concordia should have an official statement about what’s going on in Iran. Why [are] Concordia administrators and directors silent about it?” Abolfathi asked. 

For international students like Abolfathi, exams and assignments are the least of their worries. 

“I’m trying to help the organization of this protest, and every time I tried to contact my professors about it, they didn’t care that much, or maybe they did care, but they were like, ‘I cannot do anything for you,’ ” Abolfathi explained. 

Protestors at the Freedom of Iran rally. HANNAH TIONGSON/The Concordian

While Concordia tries its best to support Iranian students and raise awareness, Montrealers were united as thousands gathered and marched for the Freedom Rally for Iran. 

Among the many different women who delivered speeches was Alia Hassan-Cournol, elected official of the City of Montreal and associate councillor of Mayor Valérie Plante. Hassan-Cournol was present to share a word on behalf of Plante. 

“We’re proud to see you fight for women’s rights, for freedom. So keep on doing that. Montreal is behind you guys,” said Hassan-Cournol. 

Categories
News

Quebec elections: CAQ wins a majority government

Graphic by Carleen Loney

The votes are in. Coalition Avenir Québec will remain in power until 2026

François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) has been elected for a second mandate as the Quebec premier with a majority government and will remain in power until 2026. 

The CAQ won 41 per cent of the vote and 90 seats in the National Assembly, the most seats any party has ever won in Quebec since 1989. This marked an increase of 16 seats since the 2018 elections. 

“We had a clear message. Quebecers sent a powerful message. Quebecers told us: let’s continue!” shouted Legault during his victory speech. 

The voter turnout was also slightly lower than in 2018. 66.07 per cent of Quebecers voted this year, compared to 66.45 per cent in 2018. 

Here’s what you need to know about the CAQ’s promises for its second mandate: 

Immigration: 

  • Reduce the annual threshold of immigrants from 70,000 to 50,000 for the next four years
  • Invest  $130 million to make it easier for immigrants to have their professional skills acquired abroad recognized

Education: 

  • Additional $2 billion over four years to renovate and update schools, besides
  • Investment of $348 million in vocational training to help address the labour shortage

Climate change: 

  • Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5 per cent below 1990 levels 
  • Wants to reach carbon neutrality by 2050

Health care:

  • Open two private clinics in underserviced areas of Montreal’s east end and Quebec city
  • Investment of $400 million to train and recruit 660 more physicians and 5,000 other health professionals

Cost of living: 

  • $600 will be given to Quebecers making less than $50,000 annually
  • $400 to those earning between $50,000 and $100,000
  • Annual allowance up to $2,000 to people aged 70 and up
Categories
Podcasts

Concordia For Dummies: The Provincial Elections

Welcome to The Podcast. Cedric Gallant will produce and host this podcast alongside our Section Editors every week. The shows will rotate weekly to cover topics from each section of our newspaper!

This week’s show, Concordia for Dummies, was produced by Cedric Gallant, Gabriel Guindi, alongside our News Editors, Hannah Tiongson, Lucas Marsh, and Staff Writer Mareike Glorieux-Stryckman. Tune in for future episodes of Concordia for Dummies, where we explore topics on students minds throughout the school year.

In this episode:

Cedric Gallant covers this week’s headlines and shares interviews with First Nations leaders around Montreal reflecting on Truth and Reconciliation Day (Sept. 30).

For our Concordia for Dummies segment this week, we decided to host a discussion between a few members of our staff, all of whom came to Concordia with different backgrounds, cultures, nationhood, and native languages. Listen in for a roundtable discussion on the various Quebec party platforms as we head into our Provincial Election Day tomorrow, Oct. 2.

Thanks for listening and make sure to tune in next week!

Categories
News Student Life

Student associations prepare to strike for a reading week

Students from different associations are working together to strike in October

Various members of the associations (MAs) held their respective Annual General Meetings (AGM) throughout last week, and voted on whether or not to participate in a week-long student strike for a fall reading week. 

Several student associations involved with the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) will come together on Oct. 3 through 7 to picket classes if the mandate is passed. 

Unlike other Quebec universities such as McGill, Université Laval, and Université de Montréal, Concordia does not have a reading week during the fall semester. In 2021, the University announced its plan to implement 12-week terms and a fall reading week. However, the new academic calendar will only begin in the summer term of 2023.

During the MA retreat last May, ASFA executives took it upon themselves to plan a student strike and shared their plans with other associations. 

Following numerous conversations among the different associations and the ASFA team at the retreat, the Urban Planning Association (UPA) was the first student group to hold an AGM on Aug. 15 and get the mandate to strike. 

According to Torben Laux, president of UPA, ASFA is working closely with different associations to coordinate the strike. 

“At the moment, they’re going to be setting up a little package on how to strike, how to picket. Students will not come to classes. No assignments are allowed to be submitted, and no quizzes are allowed to be handed out,” explained Laux. 

“It’s a lot of work, but I think it’s really exciting, especially after two years of not doing much. I think it will give younger students a really great opportunity to live through a strike. So, I think it will make people feel really empowered,” he added. 

Ashley Torres, mobilization coordinator for ASFA, also expressed her frustration with the University. 

“There’s no point for us to really wait that extra year… due to the pandemic, the past few years have been extremely difficult and challenging for students, especially [regarding] our mental health, and we deserve a long week break for classes,” said Torres. 

Concordia University spokesperson Vannina Maestracci explained in a statement sent to The Concordian, the reason for the delay in implementing the break. 

“Schedules for the full university are usually made a few years in advance, and transitioning from a 13-week to 12-week term is a significant adjustment for programs that have designed their curriculum around a 13-week course, especially programs that are subject to accreditation rules.” 

“Given this, we are now doing the academic planning, training, logistics, and providing support and resources to faculty to ensure a successful transition to 12-week terms as of summer 2023,” read the statement. 

Regardless, student associations have decided to gather and raise their concerns. 

Another group that recently passed a motion to strike on Sept. 9 is the Geography Undergrad Student Society (GUSS), who are working with UPA to spread the word about the upcoming strike by sending out emails and preparing flyers. 

Liv Aspden, president of GUSS, explained that the student strike will take place during the first week of October to mobilize and emphasize better student care. 

“I’m not going to have a week off. We’re going to be striking, and we’re going to be picketing classes… we’re not going to get a break because we’re going to be obviously standing up for what we know is right and what should be happening, and just holding the University accountable for things that haven’t taken place,” said Aspden.

Categories
Music

Civil House’s latest release, “Shivers,” redefines the band’s sound

Civil House is an indie pop band from Montreal made up of three best friends. Dean Dadidis, lead singer/guitarist and Aris Dadidis, the bassist, are brothers both studying at Concordia. At the same time, the drummer, Paul Laventure, is a childhood friend who moved to the U.S to study.

The three formed a band shortly after discovering their passion for music while jamming out every Sunday at church. 

While the group started with a harder sound akin to alternative rock, as seen in their first few songs like “Not Holding on” and “The Moment,” they now have slowly transitioned to a softer pop sound.

Their latest song, “Shivers,” is reflective of the music they’re going to produce. The song was written and produced by Dean, toying with elements of indie pop while adding soft and sparkling guitar notes to highlight the undertones of nostalgia.

“Shivers” is not your typical cliché love song. The song is about seeing someone you love or  used to love. Even though you know you can’t go back, it’s better for you to move on. The unmistakable feeling of love is still there.

While first love and first heartbreak can be brutal, the song emphasizes the feeling of being in love and reminiscing the good and old memories. “Shivers” is about remembering and holding on to that exciting, happy, and good feeling of being in love while forgetting about the hurt that follows the breakup. 

The song is not limited to personal experience. Dean explains his goal to reach people through music. 

“When I write something, it reignites an experience through the song, and when someone listens to that, and relates to it, there’s just an invisible connection,” he explained. 

Though not everyone can relate to the experience of being in love, this song is still worth listening to. “Shivers” stuck to me because I felt that “magical feeling” and experienced many emotions while listening to the song.

Moving forward, the band hopes to make more music together. Despite the distance between them, the band is still united. 

“They’ll always be in my life. We might get together and just produce a whole album when we can,” said Dean.  

You can listen to “Shivers” and more of Civil House’s music on their Spotify page.

For more content and information, follow @civilhouse.music on Instagram.

Categories
News

Concordia’s stance on the new proposed bill about academic freedom

Newly proposed Bill 32 will protect academic freedom in classrooms, according to Quebec’s higher education minister

Quebec recently proposed a new bill that will allow any form of speech to be used in an academic context. 

Many university students voiced their concerns and anger following the recent events of professors saying the N-word in classrooms for educational purposes. 

The first incident occurred at the University of Ottawa in 2020 when professor Verushka Lieutenant-Duval was suspended after using the N-word in class. A similar incident happened at Concordia in February 2021, when a Concordia faculty member also used the slur during a lecture. 

During the press conference, Danielle McCann, Quebec’s higher education minister, said these events highlight the importance of protecting academic freedom in classrooms. 

“Censorship has no place in our classrooms. It will never happen, and we must protect faculty from censorship,” said McCann. “Classes are not safe spaces, but spaces for debate,” she added.

Amaria Phillips, a co-founder and president of the Black Student Union, disagrees with Bill 32, and fears future tension in classrooms. 

“We want our classroom to be a safe space. We don’t want to have to worry about whether or not a professor is going to say the N-word and feel triggered by that,” said Phillips. 

McCann clarified that universities will not be required to warn students before any offensive content is being addressed. However, McCann reassures that professors will be able to use all words within an educational context while respecting future guidelines. 

“It is also essential to provide quality training to members of the student community in an environment conducive to learning, discussion and debate,” said McCann. 

Once adopted, this law will clearly define academic freedom in universities and its guidelines, as mentioned in the bill. 

The bill aims to promote and protect the right to university academic freedom and the right of every person to engage without any prejudices or ideological notions. 

The bill requires every educational institution to appoint a person responsible for academic freedom to collaborate and communicate through written reports with McCann. 

In a written statement sent to The Concordian, Concordia states that academic freedom is essential to a functioning university ecosystem, siding on managing academic freedom themselves rather than having any government involvement.

“We prefer not to see a law on academic freedom. We believe that the autonomy of universities is the best guarantee that academic freedom continues to thrive and that the imposition of a law by the government goes against that freedom,” read the statement.

Angélique Willkie, associate professor of Contemporary Dance and co-chair of the Concordia University Task Force on Anti-Black Racism, agrees with McCann and recognizes a university is a place for debate. 

“[The university] It is a place where in order to facilitate knowledge and nurture knowledge and nurture critical thinking, difficult conversations of all kinds need to take place,” said Willkie. 

“It’s not a ticket to just say whatever you like. I think what we are responsible as faculty members, and as an institution, is to provide a learning environment for all students,” Willkie added. 

 Lisa White, the executive director of the Equity Office at Concordia, says conversations about academic freedom and inclusivity are an ongoing dialogue in accordance with the university’s values found in the Code of Rights and Responsibilities

“There are no conflicts between ensuring that academic freedom is respected and valued and part and parcel of the university experience for all for all people,” said White. 

Photo courtesy of Hannah Tiongson

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