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Opinions

An ode to student media

As my time with The Concordian comes to a close, I can’t help but think back on the journey that got me here.

In the corner of my kitchen, on the wall next to my fridge, hangs a white board that I use to keep track of my chores and deadlines. But over this last semester, I have been using that white board to countdown the days until my mandate with The Concordian ends.

If you have ever worked for a student newspaper or a campus radio station, you’ve probably heard the joke that student media is a gaping black hole that consumes all of those who cross its path. Everyone who I know  has worked for a student paper has admitted getting overwhelmed by the seemingly unending demands of the profession. As someone who has been at the centre of this black hole for the past two years, the prospect of stepping out comes as a much needed relief.

But as that countdown on my whiteboard gets smaller and smaller and I think back on what I’m leaving behind, the sense of satisfaction has slowly started to fade away.

I started writing for The Concordian in September 2020, back when I was still an English literature major and was beginning to consider pursuing a career in journalism. I still remember the night my first article, an opinion piece about the 2020 American presidential elections, was published. That article encapsulated so many firsts: my first byline, my first brush with controversy, my first missed deadline, and the first time I felt like a real journalist. 

Nearly every journalist I know started off with contributing to student media. For those of us coming from outside the tightly interconnected journalism world, student media is an important avenue to establish our presence in this daunting media landscape.

The Concordian has opened more doors for me than my lackluster GPA ever could. It was my portfolio with The Concordian that got me into the journalism department. Being on masthead has, directly and indirectly, provided me with some of the best experiences of my life, such as attending NASH 85 and the Thessaloniki International Summer Media Academy. I owe so much to this paper that I don’t think I could ever repay it, even in over a hundred years.

And yet for all the good this has brought me, any picture I paint would be incomplete without  acknowledging the bad. The stress from this job has taken a tremendous toll on my mental health and strained many important relationships. At this point, my trash folder contains more resignation letters than I could possibly count. The only thing that kept me from walking away has been the amazing support of my team. I sometimes wonder if I could go back in time knowing what I know now, both the good and the bad, would I still have gone on this journey?

As the Managing Editor, I followed in the footsteps of many great student journalists before me. Over the last year, I’ve had to grapple with so many questions: Where is my place in all of this? How will I be remembered? Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much? Am I doing a good job?

I don’t know the answers to any of these questions. I have made more mistakes than I can possibly count. But it’s comforting to know that I’m just a small link in a much larger chain, a tradition far greater than myself. I know that my memory will quickly fade compared to the accomplishments of the greats who have come before me and the promise of those who will come after. In the face of overwhelming adversity, I was able to preserve and hand off the torch to the next generation. 

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to savour this journey. I would tell myself that the stakes aren’t as high as you think they are, the mistakes you will make along the way are to be learned from, and that you can do this work without getting sucked into that black hole because once it’s over, you have to be ready to move on. And yet, I’ve dedicated so much of myself to this paper that it’s hard to picture what my life might look like without it. 

Scientists aren’t quite sure what lies beyond a black hole, and neither am I. As I approach the threshold, I can’t help but stand back in awe of all the beautiful memories that encompass me. 

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Opinions

An open letter to Jean-François Roberge, Quebec’s minister of the French language

Tuition hikes for out-of-province students like me will not solve the decline of the French language.

My name is Lucas-Matthew Marsh.

I am the Managing Editor of the Concordian, News Director for CJLO radio, and one of the  English-speaking out-of-province students that would be affected by the Quebec government’s decision to increase tuition rates. Had this policy been implemented a semester earlier, I would not have been able to complete my undergraduate degree due to financial constraints.

When I immigrated to Quebec in the fall of 2018, I did so with the intention of staying in the province after I graduated. I remember the night of my first snowfall in Montreal. I walked down Joseph St. and looked into the warmly lit townhouses. I fantasised about buying one of those houses and the future that awaited me here.

Six years later, this announcement has only solidified my decision to leave the province after I graduate in the spring of 2024, to start fresh where life doesn’t have to be so unnecessarily difficult.

When it comes to preserving the French language, I am probably the most sympathetic anglophone there is. Time and time again, I have defended this province to my so-called Quebec-bashing friends and family. However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to do so when legislation such as this makes it explicitly clear that I am no longer welcome here.

For as long as I have lived in Montreal, it’s been a hallmark of your administration to play on longstanding language divides for political gain. The CAQ has avoided full scale sovereignist rhetoric while making life for its anglophone and non French-speaking citizens as difficult as possible. I am tired of having to work twice as hard to get my foot in the door when my limited French skills would be an incredible asset anywhere else.

During my undergraduate degree, I have worked as a meat clerk, call centre agent, jeweller’s assistant and barback. At each of these positions, within a month I learned enough French to sufficiently communicate with my clientele. I am among the thousands of other English-speaking out of province students in Montreal that are a vital fabric of this province’s economy. If you push us out, you will miss out on some of the most hardworking and determined workforce in the country. 

Imposing financial constraints on hardworking students such as myself will not solve the decline of the French language in the province. The only impact that these policies will have is discouraging a large number of young people from studying in the province. It also forces those who are already here to spend their invaluable time doing low paying menial labour—time that would better be spent studying, working internships, contributing to the province’s artistic community and most importantly, learning the French language.

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Sports

Inside Concordia’s Dojo

A brief look at the Samurai of Concordia.

On a crisp fall evening, Concordia students and alumni alike slowly filter into Le Gym on Concordia’s Loyola Campus. As they enter, they take off their shoes, bow in respect, lace up their Bōgu, then engage in a tradition that spans across the centuries and continents.

This September marked the beginning of the season for Concordia’s Shidokan Kendo and Iaido Club. The modern Japanese Martial Arts have been steadily growing in popularity in Canada since the late seventies. 

Sensei Santoso Hanitijo has been teaching martial arts at Concordia for nearly three decades. Originally graduating from Concordia with a degree in finance, sensei Hanitijo returned to his alma mater a decade later to co-found the Shidokan Kendo and Iaido Club.

Ceremonial sparring masks lined up at the end of practice, each mask is unique to the student’s personality.

“After I joined the kendo club, we [co-founders of the club] met,” he said. “He was a judo instructor who tried to promote Iado at Concordia. So that’s why we talked and were brought into the Kendo club.”

Practice times are divided between Kendo, which involves two opponents armed with bamboo sparring swords engaging in sparring matches, and Iaido, the act of practicing form and balance with a blunted katana. 

Both martial arts can trace their origins back to the Kenjutsu school, the fighting technique that was practiced by Samurai of the Edo period. However, the modern practice of Kendo and Iaido grew in popularity during the early 1950’s, when restrictions on traditional martial arts in Japan were lifted following the end of the American occupation. 

Shidokan culture then spread to Montreal in the 1970’s, with Japanese immigrants such as Sensei Funamoto bringing the sport with them.

“He was one of the Sensei’s that started Kendo in Quebec,” said Sensei Hanitijo. “I [was] the next generation. I’ve been his student and since then, we carry on and spread.”

Sensei Hanitijo said the club has been able to persist and grow over the years due to their dedicated group of practitioners.“Fortunately, I think my students over the years have been very devoted to making this happen,” he said. “Of course, most of them started coming to Concordia as a student.”

While the club remains open to people outside of the university, the majority of the club’s practitioners are Concordia alumni, such as Evleen Hanitiju. Like Senesi Hanitijo, Hanitiju started practising kendo in 2009 while she was an undergrad student at Concordia, seeing both the physical and emotional benefits that the sport has to offer.

Two students engaging in a sparring match called katas.

“It’s great for not only the physical aspect but also the spiritual aspect as well,” said Hanitiju. “And it’s just a wonderful community. It’s more like a family, rather than just a club.”

This community is based on principles of respect and persistence, Hanitiju said, which is the reason she keeps coming back after all these years. 

“From the moment you enter into the dojo, you start with respect, not only just for your peers but also for yourself,” Hanitiju said.“And then when you are fighting even if you come across a defeat, you just have to have a respectful mindset”.

Sensei Hanitijo overseeing the training of new kendo students.


The Shidokan Club meets every Thursday evening and Saturday morning at Le Gym on Concordia Loyola Campus. Concordia students can register for classes through the club page or can find further information on the club’s website.

ALL PHOTOS BY LUCAS MARSH

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News

Concordia’s Indian international students forgotten in India-Canada Crisis

As diplomatic tensions rise, the largest demographic of international students in Canada are caught in the crosshairs

The recent rift between India and Canada has brought uncertainty and chaos for both Indian international students at Concordia and the university’s Sikh community.

On Sept. 18, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Indian government of involvement in the assassination of Canadian citizen and Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Since then, diplomatic relations between the two countries have rapidly deteriorated, and India has halted visa applications for Canadian nationals in retaliation. 

Angad Singh Malhotra, president of Concordia’s Sikh Student Association (SSA), said that over the last two weeks, a number of students have reached out to the SSA for help and advice regarding the situation.

“Yesterday somebody was telling me about how their parents got their visa refused because of the issues that are going on,” said Malhotra. “And they fear that a lot of them who are engaged with the community, if they are vocal, will get the refusal to go back to India.”

These concerns come as Indian government officials and media outlets portray Canada as a breeding ground for the Khalistani movement, which strives to establish a sovereign state for the Sikh population in northern India. While militant factions within the Khalistani movement exist in South Asia, the overwhelming majority of Khalistani activists adhere to non-violent principles.

For Sikh Canadians, like Singh, a Concordia graduate who asked his firstname not to be disclosed, the effects of these allegations are having deep reaching impacts into their personal lives. Following Trudeau’s announcement, Singh said he’s getting calls from his family back in India concerned about his well-being, owing to the spread of misinformation by the Indian media.

“They tell me that [based on] what Indian news channels show us, you guys are in deep trouble,” he said. “The Canadian government is kicking out all Indians or the Canadian government is kicking out all Sikhs.” 

According to Julian Spencer-Churchill, associate professor in Concordia’s political science department, the proliferation of fake news stems from the consolidation of Indian media under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These developments stem from a rise in the far right Hindu nationalism in the country over the last decade.

Indian students comprise over 40 per cent of international students studying in Canada, making the group the largest demographic of international students in the country. Nevertheless, the group suffers a lack of representation in both countries, according to Spencer-Churchill. 

“Indian international students in Canada are victims here,” said Spencer-Churchill. 

Concordia has made no formal announcement regarding the ongoing India-Canada crisis. As far as Malhotra knows, no one from the university’s administration has reached out to the SSA.

Spencer-Churchill recommended that the Indian and Sikh students lobby Concordia’s administration to allow for special accommodations, such as being able to attend classes remotely, until visa restrictions are lifted. However, he predicts that any visa complications that Indian international students are facing will be short-lived, due to the economic impact that these policies will have on educational institutions.

“The universities want money,” he said. “These people [Indian international students] are bringing their own money in many cases, […] and where they’re not like PhD students, industry is going to probably sponsor them. So there’s no advantage for Canada to keep the system stuck.”

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Opinions

A Summer of Climate Catastrophes has forever changed my Position on Climate Change

A tale of two climate crises and how the effects of climate change differs across the world.

The first time I experienced temperatures above forty degrees Celsius was in July while I was representing Concordia at the Thessaloniki International Media Summer Academy in Greece. The second was two weeks ago after a heatwave in Montreal and parts of Quebec caused the city to experience record-high temperatures.

When I look back on this past summer, it seems that every significant experience that I had was somehow underscored by climate catastrophes. Whether it was going to the park while Montreal had the worst air quality in the world or exploring the CJ building as it flooded, it’s a stark reminder that the climate crisis is a part of our new reality.

Before this summer, my views on climate change could be summarised by the phrase “optimistic ignorance.” Don’t get me wrong, I knew that climate change was a major challenge facing humanity and would require tremendous social action to combat its worst of its ramifications. And yet, I still believed that the dire warnings of climate scientists espoused of dead zones and societal collapse would not come to pass.

The cognitive dissonance required to hold these two positions simultaneously could only come through my privilege and background. Experiencing the effects of climate change in two vastly different countries has provided me with a unique understanding of how our collective understanding of the climate crisis reflects our circumstances. 

In Quebec, the public’s response to record high temperatures was to demand for the provincial government to service all public schools with air conditioning. Meanwhile, in Greece, I watched as the people were forced to adapt their lifestyles to deal with the heat. Businesses and social services would close during the highest heat of the midday sun.

The most startling example of this occurred when I was in Athens during the peak of July’s heatwave. As I walked down the street, my self-centred concerns, anxieties, and frustrations regarding the temperatures were quickly humbled when I came across a refugee struggling to find shade in the city. Beside her was a young girl, barely over the age of 10, wearing a pitch black robe lying in the middle of the street, too weak to sit up. 

It was the first interaction I had with displaced peoples. It’s a scene that still haunts me to this day, a reality that most of us in the Global North will be sheltered from. A reality that has permanently altered my relationship to the climate crisis.

Despite my newfound perception of the climate crisis, I refuse to partake in climate nihilism, or the mindset that nothing can or will be done to address the current crisis. It’s infuriating to witness those in the Global North, who enjoy the advantages of our modern world while being shielded from the repercussions of their actions, readily accepting defeat.

It’s up to us to engage in the hard work that is needed to bring social and infrastructure reform to mitigate the worst effects of the climate crisis and embrace the sacrifices to our personal lives that will come with said changes. At the very least, we owe it to those who are the most affected to not give up.

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News

Students moving nightmares

Concordia students talk about the challenges they face finding housing

In 1973, the Liberal Party of Quebec declared July 1 as the province’s unofficial moving date. Since that decision nearly half a century ago, March 31 has become the deadline for tenants to notify their landlords if they intend to terminate their lease.

The period between the beginning of April and the end of July can be particularly challenging for university students, especially those from outside of Montreal. 

Sierra McDonald is a first-year political science student at Concordia University. She said she had difficulties trying to find an apartment before starting school. 

“I’m from the Northwest Territories, and that’s pretty far away from Montreal,” said McDonald. “I found it really difficult having to find apartments online that fit my budget.”

According to Adia Giddings, an assistant for Concordia’s Housing and Job Resource Centre (HOJO)  out-of-province students like McDonald are in a vulnerable position when searching for housing because they often cannot visit apartments in person.

“Specifically international students who are trying to sign a lease from another country and can’t visit the apartment, they enter into the lease and then they look at the apartment, and it is not what it looks like in the pictures,” she said.

 A common issue thatGiddings deals with relate to students struggling to find leases outside of the standard lease duration of one year. 

Dana Hachwa, a second-year journalism student at Concordia, said she has noticed that  the vast amount of short-term accommodations on advertised Facebook Marketplace are for “apartment swaps.” 

Hachwa believes the practice is exploitative in nature and blocks students like her from entering the housing market.

“You see a nice apartment in a great area. It’s big, it’s affordable. The person’s looking to transfer their lease, but it’s only a swap. So if you’re not giving them something in return, you can’t have the apartment,”

said Hachwa.

Another scam that students should be on the lookout for, Giddings warned, is promotional deals or limited time offers that include discounts on rent. 

“Big landlords will advertise a month free of rent or a little bit off every month that you live in the apartment for your first year,” said Giddings. “Those fields are especially worrisome because a lot of them have clauses that are considered punitive by the tribunal.” 

Giddings explained that many of these deals include provisions that allow landlords to negate on these terms if the tenant attempts to conduct a lease transfer or pay rent late.
Students looking for more information about their renting rights can go to HOJO’s website or visit their offices at the Henry F. Hall building, room number 224.

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News

Results of the ASFA general elections

ASFA elections receive the highest voter turnout rates in the last decade

This past ASFA election saw the highest student engagement in the last decade, with a voter turnout rate of 14.8 per cent. Angelica Antonakopoulos, the academic coordinator for ASFA’s upcoming executive team, believes that the increased student engagement was fueled by transitioning into in-person instructions and the initiatives of those running.

“ASFA came out of the gate screaming right on social media,” said Antonakopoulos. “They also had a couple of really informative graphics, explaining what you were voting for. […] So I feel like that may have enticed students, because sometimes if you get ballots for something that you don’t understand, you kind of have a tendency to cast that aside.”

The results show that the executive team will be dominated by the new student slate Supportive Foundations. Supportive Foundations will be replacing the Radical Care student slate. Antonakopoulos said students can expect simplicity, transparency, and accountability from the new slate.

“If anyone has had a little bit of interaction with ASFA, as a structure, it’s complicated,”  said Antonakopoulos. “We’re really going to sit down now and try to find ways that we can educate freshmen and other students from the get go at the beginning of the academic year and try to explain to them, this is your member association, these executives are your direct representation.”

Supportive Foundations also hopes to reinstate the scientific academic journal, and to reopen the Loyola office to make the executive team more accessible to the student body. 

Antonakopoulos says students can expect a calmer year relative to the last ASFA slate Radical Care.

“We don’t feel the need to do a school-wide strike,” said Antonakopoulos.

“Radical Care really seemed to have a big focus on mental health. They kind of came in at a bit of a tumultuous time because they had to focus on the full heat transition into in-person school.”

Students also voted in favour of a fee levy increase for the Hive Free Lunch program. The fee levy will be used to implement a new breakfast program starting next semester.
Click here for a complete breakdown of the election results.

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News

Concordia inches forward with the promises of the president’s task force on anti-Black racism

Four months after its announcement, the first recommendations outlined in the task forces final report are starting to reach fruition

On Feb. 6, Concordia’s President and Vice Chancellor Graham Carr unveiled a temporary plaque to commemorate the 53rd anniversary of the 1969 Black student protests. The plaque, which will be replaced with a permanent plaque in the coming months, stands as a reminder of the events that lead to the protests and the presence of anti-Black racism at the University. 

Angélique Willkie, former head of the President’s Task Force on Anti-Black Racism, said it was important for the university to commemorate the significance of the 1969 Black student protests ahead of the upcoming anniversary. 

Willkie elaborated on the added importance of marking the site of the Sir George Williams protests with a physical representation of the event.

“And subsequently, it remains the location of the largest student protest for anti-Black racism in Canada,” said Willkie. 

The event was the first of many initiatives that the University intends to implement in hopes to combat anti-Black systemic racism within the institution. In late October, President Carr pledged his support for the 88 recommendations included in the final report of the President’s task force on anti-Black racism. Concordia’s official apology is primarily in relation to the mismanagement of Sir George Williams University’s former administration throughout the 1969 Black student protests

In addition to the commemorative plaque, the University also launched a website detailing the experiences of those who lived through the events of 1969. Willkie also stated that the University is pursuing its plans to create a new program for Black and African diaspora studies in the Canadian context, as well as founding a Black Student Centre.

Willkie says that since the anti-Black task force disbanded in the fall of 2022, she is no longer responsible for the implementation of the task force’s recommendations. However, Willkie insisted that the university intends to actively pursue all of the recommendations outlined in their final report. 

“So there are many things ongoing, but of course, not everything has the same timeline, either,” said Willkie. “So certain things can be completed relatively quickly, others less quickly.”

Willkie said that she has experienced no pushback from individuals, but rather from institutions as a whole.

 “Institutions have square wheels, and they’re made to reproduce themselves” said Willkie. “So somehow or another in order for the system to work differently it takes a while for the actual procedures to change. In the meantime I kind of go around them,” she added.

Despite this, Willkies said that the cooperation of the University and actors within it should be a point of celebration. 

“When those 88 recommendations were published, none of them came as a surprise to any of the people who were responsible for their implementation,” said Willkie. “They had all been consulted beforehand, every single one without exception. And that’s huge.”

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Concordia Student Union News

Boycott of Concordia’s Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence committee continues

The standing committee responsible for combatting sexual violence on campus remains highly unpopular Amongst the student body

Debates raged at the Concordia Student Union’s (CSU) regular council meeting (RCM) on Jan. 11, over the ongoing boycott of the University’s Standing Committee on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence (SMSV) as student representatives discussed potential solutions to end sexual misconduct on campus. 

The boycott dates back to October 5, 2022, when the CSU, alongside the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) and the Teaching and Research Assistants at Concordia (TRAC) formally withdrew from the SMSV.

The action came after years of criticism from members of the SMSV and from the student body at large over the committee’s lack of transparency and failure to support survivors of sexual assault.

The conversation was sparked after it came to light that multiple candidates had been appointed to the SMSV during an appointments committee meeting last December. This action, if passed, would have ended the CSU’s ongoing boycott of the SMSV.

Fawaz Halloum, general coordinator of the CSU, explained the reason behind the appointments committee’s decision at the RCM on Jan. 11. According to Halloum, the decision was made in response to Lisa White, executive director of the Equity Office at Concordia University and chair of the SMSV, who was threatening to appoint students to the committee without the CSU’s consent.

“I find it very troubling because it takes a lot from our power as a union,”

Said Halloum. 

After consulting with a legal expert, Halloum said he was advised that the best course of action would be to appoint students to the SMSV — either to ensure the CSU maintains a voice on the committee, or to continue the protest by having committee members refuse to show up.

The proposed nomination was met with harsh criticism from many in attendance at last week’s RCM.

TRAC’s bargaining officer Mya Walmsley called the move “disgraceful.” Walmsley believes that the concessions the University’s offered in response to end the dispute was not made with the students body’s best interests, but rather to legitimise the SMSV’s poor track record. 

“Obviously [the administration is] going to try to get you back with honey [rather than vinegar],” said Walmsley. “Promising these sorts of vague and nonspecific concessions is the way to do it.”

Walmsley asserted that, due to the current circumstances, the best course of action would be to further escalate the conflict to press their demands.

“We have the power now, we have the opportunity to talk to Lisa White whenever we want, we just don’t have to do it through the committee [SMSV],” said Walmsley.

“The argument that we gain more power by ending the boycott is absurd. It’s like giving up power will give us more power.”

Said Wamsley.

The CSU’s External Affairs Coordinator Julianna Smith presented a motion which was passed to reject the appointment committee’s nomination to continue the boycott. 

However, CSU counsellor Mohamad Abdallah spoke out against continuing the boycott. He questioned the purpose of an indefinite boycott and argued that the decision was harming students. 

“How is this boycott harming [the administration] more than it is harming us by preventing us from representation? They have already appointed new people on that committee,” said Abdallah.

Abdallah also challenged the idea that those in favour of ending the boycott were, in essence, supporting the current policies that are in place.  

“Our goal is the same at the end of the day, but we are taking different roads to reach the same goal, which is to change these policies regarding sexual violence and sexual harrassment in the University,” said Abdallah.

Nevertheless, Abdallah’s position remained unpopular amongst CSU councillors. The boycott of the SMSV will continue into the foreseeable future.

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News

Excessive spending by Space Concordia

A history of excessive spending at Space Concordia

CORRECTION: The article in question was initially taken down for revision purposes relating to generalized language. Details to the alterations are found below.

How much does it cost to build a rocket? That is the question Concordia’s Engineering and Computer Science Association (ECA) has asked Space Concordia (SC), the student association responsible for mismanaged and unorganized financial practices. Official ECA documents and board meeting transcripts provided to The Concordian reveal a history of irresponsible spending by the organization dating back to the 2020-21 academic year.

SC remains the largest student association under ECA jurisdiction, and, as of the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year, has access to the most funds of any committee under the association via a combination of ECA-approved grants, internal transfers, and external sponsorship’s, according to the societies official ECA approved budget. Despite this fact, according to reports SC spending have exceeded their ECA budget in the past, resulting in the ECA being forced to provide SC with thousands of dollars of additional funds to pay off the personal debt incurred by SC members.

Exact figures remain impossible to calculate without the ECA’s financial budgetary statements from the last three years, in which the ECA has yet to file due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

However, a senior member of SC rocketry division, who preferred to stay anonymous, estimates the cumulative costs of the personal debts they have accrued from SC projects over their tenure range into the hundreds of thousands.  

“In the past few years I spent like hundreds of thousands of dollars, and I’ve had to ask for reimbursements of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” they said.

While these price ranges seem high to the average person, the senior member says that these costs are relatively low compared to the operational budgets of most space agencies that are doing the same work, believing the price range is justified. 

“We’ve already broken multiple world records over the past four years on this project,” they said. “It’s going to be the first liquid rocket ever launched from Canadian soil. We’re working with the government to create legislation for rockets in Canada. We’ve created state-of-the-art technology. And because of that, we go through thousands of transactions a year and hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.”

In addition, SC was accused of violating several key ECA bylaws regulating the spending habits of student organization under their jurisdiction. These actions include opening a secondary bank account for SC use, separate from its official ECA-monitored bank account which is in violation of Section D.3.3. of the ECA’s bylaws, and failing to keep accurate and up-to-date documentation of their expenses in accordance to bylaws D.3.5 and D.3.6.

These transgressions culminated in SC being put on extended probation by the ECA’s Board of Directors on Aug. 24, 2021. SC was informed by the ECA that they must comply with several conditions relating to the organization’s financial practices or “face dissolution” of their association, in the follow up letter sent by the ECA. Further steps were taken by the ECA to investigate SC financial practices dating back to the 2018 academic year.

In the same letter dated to Oct. 27, 2021, the ECA confirmed that SC had complied with a majority of the demands of the probation period sufficient to continue their probation.

However, the ECA did note that the organization failed to cease “all activity during the time of [SC’s] probation” and had yet to hand over all expense receipts to the association. At the same time, an anonymous source within the ECA has confirmed that no amount of student funds associated with SC are unaccounted for. The anonymous source made sure to dispel rumors of financial malpractice.

In an email sent to The Concordian, ECA president Sierra Campbell confirmed that SC “successfully met the terms of the BOD [Board of Directors] to end their probation” as of Dec. 3, 2021. Campbell made sure to stress that the violations occurred during a previous mandate and that the current SC leadership have “worked extensively alongside the ECA executive to create clear understanding of internal payment procedures as well as communication to members of the club,” stated the email.

Despite these measures, a financial blacklist was established by the ECA in a board of directors meeting on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022, to address the “Space Concordia Member Issue” the motivation read. The blacklist prevented individuals from having any of their expenses reimbursed through ECA funds.

  • The original Deck: “A history of excessive spending puts Space Concordia’s future into question,” was misleading, insinuating that Space Concordia’s future is still in jeopardy. As of Dec. 3, 2021. Space Concordia has passed the probation period.
  • A previous version of this story mentions that SC receives “the most funds out of any committee under the association (ECA).” The ECA provides the most funds annually to the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers).
  • A previous version of this story mentions that SC “consistently exceeded their ECA budget,” the word “consistently” was improperly used.
  • A previous version of this story mentions preamble of a quote from an anonymous member of SC stating that the member “estimates his personal debts accrued by SC project range into the hundreds of thousands.” This has been altered to “estimates the cumulative costs of the personal debts they have accrued from SC projects over their tenure.” This is validated by the following quote from the aforementioned member.
Categories
News

Peter-McGill Community groups struggle to cope with rising rent costs

Surging cost of living drives many out of Concordia’s neighbourhood

Once considered to be the most affordable city in Canada, Montreal’s rent costs continue to rise at a rate that many of the city’s residents, businesses and community groups are struggling to meet. For many, especially those living in the neighbourhood around Concordia’s Sir George Williams campus, it’s a trend that is putting their future in the area into question.

Representatives from over 11 community groups in the Peter-McGill district, which encompasses both Concordia’s Sir George Williams campus and McGills’ downtown campus, convened a neighbourhood assembly at the School Trades Catering And Tourism De Montréal to address the challenges posed by rising costs of living throughout the district. 

“The focus of tonight’s meeting is to draw attention to the issue of space in the downtown neighbourhood,” said Margot Digard, communications officer for the Peter-McGill Community Council. “We’ve seen a lot of organisations leave the neighbourhood because of issues around rent and not being able to afford services.”

According to data collected by the Peter-McGill Community Council, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the neighbourhood came in at around $1,400 a month, with the cost of a two-bedroom going as high as $2,000 per month in some instances. These rates are some of the highest reported rent prices in the city. 

With demand far exceeding the existing supply, affordable rental options for community organisations based in and around the Peter-McGill area continues to diminish and pre-existing centres are put in jeopardy as property costs continue to rise. Christa Smith, coordinator of the youth group Innovation Jeunes, says her organisation was forced out from their original building after she alleged that the property owner instigated a rent increase in an attempt to get the organisation to forfeit their lease. 

“We spent close to ten years on Pierce Street,” said Smith. “Then in 2018, the owner wanted to increase our rent by almost 40 per cent, which we soon realised [meant] that he basically wanted us out.”

While Innovation Jeunes was able to relocate to a nearby Pentecostal church, this outcome remains the exception to the norm. Maryse Chapdelaine, Project Manager of the Peter-McGill community council, explained that many requests by community groups for additional support from established institutions like the Montréal General Hospital and Concordia University are met with indifference.

“Yes, we tried, but Concordia refuses to open any space to the community,” said 

Chapdelaine when asked if the Peter-McGill Community Council had considered leasing out space from the University. In one instance, Chapdelaine recalled how the University refused to open the Grey Nuns courtyard to the public during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We asked them, ‘can you open them now that there are no students,’ and they said no. And then we asked the city, ‘could you ask Concordia to open the garden’ and Concordia said to the city of Montreal, no,” said Chapdelaine. 

While Concordia does permit outside organisations to rent out space on University property, according to Chapdelaine the hourly rate that is charged by the administration tends to fall far beyond the financial means of most community organisations.

Chapdelaine stresses that there is no ‘magic bullet’ solution for the ongoing affordability crisis in Peter-McGill. Any long-lasting solution must include Concordia, if the University wishes to preserve the neighbourhood it calls home.

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Concordia For Dummies: Graham Carr’s Apology Explained

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, alongside our News Editor Lucas Marsh Tune in for future episodes of Concordia for Dummies, where we explore topics on students minds throughout the school year.

Graphic by James Fay

In this episode:

Lucas Marsh gives context on why Concordia’s President Graham Carr apologized for the University’s handling of the 1969 Black Student Protest. In addition to his historical explanation, Lucas interviewed Robert Wilkins, a photographer who was present when the fire broke out in the Hall building.

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