Student Life

Sexpo69—sex and its world

Educational and erotic—Concordia hosts second sex fair

Forty-eight years ago, Montreal’s Expo 67 welcomed nations from all four corners of the globe to teach its visitors about the world around them. On Feb. 12 and 13, for the second year, Concordia’s Sexpo69 will welcome sexperts from around the city for this highly-anticipated sexposé.

Hosted by ABACUS, AHSCA, BSA, COMS Guild, CUPA, and the JSA in the upper atrium of the SP building at Loyola campus, Sexpo69 will offer a veritable smorgasbord of sexy indulgences for its patrons, from Passion Parties sex toy sales (with demonstrations!), a spanking workshop with a dominatrix, appearances by Ms. Condom, and talks on consent and safe sex organized by Concordia Health Services, Queer Concordia, and the Centre for Gender Advocacy.

“We’re having the Gender Advocacy and Sexual Assault Resource Centre letting everybody know about the resources they have for preventing rape and what consent really is, and providing support for those who have been victims of non-consensual sex,” said Elizabeth Duong, CUPA President. “We’re doing everything from consent to fetishes and a dominatrix.”

If you are into something a little…ahem… harder, Alternative Lifestyles will be setting up a BDSM display, as well as doling out info on other fetishes and fittingly, alternative lifestyles.

On a similar note, Dr. Jim Pfaus, a Concordia professor at the Centre for Studies in Behavioural Neurobiology and his fetish lab students will host a talk on fetishes on Thursday at 1 p.m. Pfaus was recently lauded as the “Bill Nye of sex” by Playboy, for his work with exploring the relationship between sex and your brain. Basically, he can tell you what you (and mostly all ofus) want (what we really really want).

Alongside condoms, vibrators, cock rings, and roses (sold for $1 each for the last few romantics out there) Concordia fine arts students will be displaying nude paintings.

There will also be a raffle for some lucky students to win the gift that keeps on giving—a surprise goody bag from Passion Parties. For the unlucky ones, Passion Parties will still be giving out vouchers for 25 per cent off your next online purchase.

“People don’t need to be afraid to talk about sex,” said Duong. “The people who go to the Sexpo and already know about it already want to be there, it’s the people that are iffy about talking about sex that we’re targeting by having it in a high-traffic area where people will be walking by.”

So come once, twice, or as many times as you can handle from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 12 and 13 at the upper atrium of the SP building at Loyola campus.

Student Life

I woke up like this: ‘raving your way into the day’

Morning Gloryville sober early morning raves will make sure you get up on the right side of the bed

There have been plenty of times when I’ve stumbled home from a night out at 6:30 a.m., watching the sunrise through bleary eyes as I hopped on the first metro of the morning. Never, however—or rather, never until last Thursday—have I woken up at 6:30 a.m. to watch the sunrise through bleary eyes as I hop on the first metro of the morning to go out to a rave. A sober, early morning rave.

Over the last 18 months, Morning Gloryville has started an international “raveolution,” beckoning people of all ages to welcome the morning with dancing, yoga, breakfast, and all-around positive vibes. The raves take place every first Wednesday of the month from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., all around the world, from Bangalore to Barcelona, from Melbourne now to Montreal.

“The purpose of the event is to infuse well-being into cities around the world,” said Justin Smith, co-founder and Glory Agent of Morning Gloryville Montreal. “We just want to awaken our community to be present, not to just live, but to awaken to life with every fibre of their being.”

Last week (held one time only on a Thursday) Montreal’s chapter of Morning Gloryville took her maiden voyage.

“Montreal is really open to new things,” said Smith. “It’s a home of self-expression, it’s creative and open-minded, and I think this is really up that alley.”

Peeling away from the first tricklings of early-morning commuters, my friend and I stepped into the lobby of the Loft Hotel, and into another world. The incessant beeping of snowplows was replaced by soothing, upbeat music, and the smell of coffee—free coffee—felt like a hug to my still half-asleep body. Throngs of people in neon, spandex, onesies and dreadlocks flocked inside the space where, in addition to the free coffee, baked goods and snacks were available for purchase. Multi-coloured streamers were suspended from the ceiling like at a child’s birthday party. Two signs near coat check proclaimed “free hugs.”

Further inside, we followed construction paper posters that promised “more fun this way.” In my early-morning state, I felt like I was following the white rabbit down into Wonderland.

DJs Don Mescal and Sidi Khalil pumped energetic beats into the air as ravers of all ages—from toddlers to senior citizens—waved their arms and spun in circles, jumping and dancing and swaying. Essentially, it was a rave like any other, but the definitive vibe was happy and airy, as opposed to the usual dingy, hazy raves of the nighttime crowd.

“We’re trying to take the word [rave] back. Raving is a four-letter word, where people go to do a lot of drugs. They’re dark and nasty,” said Smith. “Conscious clubbing is kind of a trend that we’re starting. We want to create a safe space where people can let go and be ridiculous and engage in self-expression without the mask of alcohol or drugs.”

That space was definitely created. One woman in a tulle skirt hula-hooped on stilts. Face painting was offered in one corner of the dancefloor, yoga in another. Upstairs, massage therapists gave free massages to eagerly waiting queues of people. At the back, a photo booth was set up with props (flower leis, feather boas, bunny ears etc.) and a professional photographer was ready to immortalize everybody’s “I woke up like this” face.

Rise Kombucha, who sponsored the event, manned a bar of free-flowing drinks, served in mason jars (of course) to quench the thirst of all these early-morning movers and shakers. As I swayed along the dancefloor, I realized how few times I’d actually danced so uninhibitedly, completely sober.

Everybody was there because they wanted to be, and somehow by osmosis I started to feel the undiluted joy and harmonious good vibes that I’d scoffed at as hippy nonsense just a few hours earlier.

All in all, definitely worth getting out of bed for.

Morning Gloryville early morning raves take place every first Wednesday of the month (next time March 11), from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. locations to be announced. Early bird tickets cost $16.62 and increase in price closer to the event.
For more information visit

Student Life

Snaps go from nudes to news

New “Discover” feature taps into the journalism game

On Jan. 27, everybody’s favourite self-destructing photo messaging app, Snapchat, rolled out a brand new interface wherein users can receive news updates from their media outlets of choice.

When you go to the little list icon at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, you will see the familiar list of recent “stories” updates from your friends pop up, as usual. From that menu, find the little purple circle icon on the top right-hand side, which will lead you to the Discover menu.

Choose from CNN, MTV, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, Snapchat, Bleacher Report, Food Network, National Geographic, People, Vice, Fusion, and Yahoo! News. Touch and hold the icon of your choice, and a loop of “teaser” clips of a chosen daily headline will appear on your screen. Swipe down and Snapchat will lead you to the long form piece that goes along with the visual story at hand, complete with photos, links, and any other embedded media that might appear on the news site itself.

Continue swiping right to see more headline stories from that same source, or swipe left until you get back to the home screen.

Stories are curated by the editors of each outlet, not dictated through social media popularity, and are updated every 24 hours, which, Snapchat insists on their site, “puts the narrative first.” This, they urge, is not social media.

So, can the app we once used to send clandestine nudies and ugly photos of our double chins actually transition into a legitimate disseminator of news?

On one hand, it seems the next logical step that an app that most of us check upteen times a day to receive “news” from friends start giving us news of the broader world as well.

On the other hand, as a journalism student, I can’t help but shake my head and wonder what the hell kind of world we live in when your go-to for news is an app that until recently was reserved for compromising selfies.

In any case, it’s comforting to know that I can now consult Cosmo about their newest technique to please my man before sending that 10-second nude, all without quitting the app.

Student Life

Discussing identity and politics of adoption

Annette Kassaye and Nakuset explore their identities as adoptees in first event of series

On Friday Jan. 30 the Centre for Gender Advocacy will begin a semester-long series focused around race, gender, and political resistance.

Events will be held every month, each one tackling one particular nuance of these intersections between gender and cultural background.

“There is no possible way, as we see it, to separate gender form race or from class or anything else,” said Maya Rolbin-Ghanie, Publicity and Promotions Coordinator for the Centre for Gender Advocacy.

Annette Kassaye and Nakuset will discuss their experience as adoptees. Photo courtesy of the Centre for Gender Advocacy

“We wanted to have a space where some of these issues could be focused on more than they generally are, we feel that any kind of feminist discussion that isn’t looking at race or cultural identities is quite limited in many ways,” said Rolbin-Ghanie. “It weakens any struggle when intersections aren’t acknowledged.”

The first event, “The Racial and Cultural Politics of Adoption: Adoptee Perspectives”, will be a discussion on politics of adoption, with guest speakers Annette Kassaye and Nakuset.

Kassaye, a Concordia graduate, is a transracial Ethiopian adoptee, who was adopted into an anglophone family from the Eastern Townships when she was a year old. She currently writes for an online magazine, Gazillion Voices and Lost Daughters, which aims to be a forum for adoptees to have their voices heard. She is also the founder of Ethiopian Adoptees of the Diaspora, an organization which also serves as a platform for Ethiopian adoptees to share their stories.

“Adoption is much more of a political issue than people may realize, and being an adoptee can be as well,” said Rolbin-Ghanie. “She’s going to talk about how women, especially women of colour, come up against certain issues when they’ve been adopted into white families.”

Nakuset is Cree from Saskatewan, adopted into a Montreal Jewish family. Growing up, she found it difficult to assume her own identity as a Native person within her adopted family, and has dedicated her adult life to advocating for Native rights. She is the executive director of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal, and works with Aboriginal children in care.

The discussion is sure to be eye-opening for anybody interested in identity issues, as well as the general cultural and political implications of adoption, from an adoptee’s eyes.

“Whether or not somebody has been adopted, having this kind of discussion can bring to the forefront a lot of identity issues that a lot of us struggle with,” said Rolbin-Ghanie. “So many of us have to deal with being isolated identity-wise in so many ways, whether its race, being a minority, language, class, gender, and I think the discussion on adoption will raise some really interesting questions about notions of adoption, and how many people see it as a really benevolent act to adopt a child, but theres so many racial and cultural undertones and implications to it.”

The talk will be held Fri Jan. 30 from 6 to 8 p.m. in EV 1.605, 1515 Ste-Catherine St. W.


Student Life

Let’s talk about sex

Medical abortions: coming to a physician’s office near you?

So, this week isn’t about sex per se, but rather about a potentially revolutionary pill that could help you deal with the unwanted aftermath of said sex, up to nine weeks later.

According to an article published on December 24 in the Globe and Mail, Health Canada is currently deliberating on legalizing a pill containing mifepristone, a drug which, combined with another medication which is already available by prescription from any physician, can medically terminate an early pregnancy by inducing contractions.

According to Planned Parenthood, once the mifepristone is taken, it stops the production of progesterone, which causes the lining of your uterus to break down. When combined with the second drug (of which there are currently several available varieties, the most common of which being misoprostol), the uterus will begin to shed, causing the pregnancy to end. It could take up to three weeks for the pregnancy to be expelled. Basically, it’s just like getting a particularly heavy and crampy period.

Health Canada is taking their sweet time with the decision to legalize mifepristone—it’s been something like 800 days that they’ve been agonizing over whether or not to make the pill available through any hospital or clinic—normally, they have a window of 300 days to reach a decision, according to the same article.

The delay is questionable, as mifepristone is already legally available in over 60 countries worldwide, including our notoriously conservative neighbours in the United States.

The decision should be reached by the second week of January, so if all goes according to plan, the drug could become available much sooner than later.

Abortion is currently legal in Canada, though depending on where you live, it can be almost impossible to actually access a clinic where they are performed. According to Global News, almost half of the 94 abortion facilities in the country are located in Quebec, while British Columbia and Ontario have relatively accessible facilities in city centres as well as in selected rural areas. However, there are only eight abortion facilities throughout the Prairies, four in all of the Territories, and four throughout Atlantic Canada. Prince Edward Island doesn’t have any.

Especially for these girls and women living outside of main cities in Canada, making mifepristone available from any doctor could mean the difference between spending large amounts of time and money to travel cross-country to the nearest abortion clinic (or resorting to less safe, less preferable options), and being able to pick up the prescription from their local doctor and receive the medical abortion.

And instead of having to endure an invasive procedure in some sterile-looking office, getting rid of an unwanted pregnancy could be just as simple as visiting the clinic and popping a pill.

Of course, this is not to say that medical abortion is any less of a potentially difficult and emotional decision to make as a procedural one would be. But, in creating this new option, it would make that decision just a little bit easier, just a little bit more comfortable for a lot of women.

Statistics Canada reported last year that roughly 31 per cent of Canadian women have had an abortion in their lives. Making it that much more accessible, and that much less invasive, could simply make better a process that is already extremely common and extremely safe.

All of which to say, stay tuned for updates. We could have a revolution on our hands.


Student Life

They say you can’t come home again…

Battling the worst first-world problem: post-Erasmus depression

On June 15, 2014, I boarded a plane at Charles de Gaulle airport heading home to Montreal after six months studying at Sciences Po Paris through the Concordia exchange program. I was numb as I went through customs, loaded up on bottles of Bordeaux at duty-free, and eventually boarded the plane. “It’s not over until I land,” I kept telling myself.

I sat down in my seat, half-listened to the “in case of emergency” spiel the stewardess gave, and started to cry—and I am not a crier. In fact I very rarely emote at all, let alone in public. I continued to cry as I watched Frozen and Her, and made small talk with the very worried and confused gentleman next to me.

I got off the plane, having composed myself sufficiently while I went through baggage claim and customs. Everything felt wrong, disorienting, unreal.

My mother ran to greet me at the arrivals gate, rushing up to me in a Love Actually-esque display of airport emotion. As I hugged her, I started to cry again—and not cute delicate tears, but full-on, snot-running-down-my-face, heaving-and-blubbering crying.

“You realize that most people here think that you’re crying with happiness at seeing your family again,” she whispered in my ear. “They probably think this is touching. They don’t know that you’re dreading being here and would love nothing more than to turn around and get back on that plane.”

My response was something like “nkalhekwvbwaaahhhhaaahhajoewj.”

A few hundred years ago, gout was considered the disease of the privileged. Today, that title goes to post-Erasmus depression syndrome. The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is a non-profit organization that links students in higher education with international host facilities to study or intern abroad—essentially it’s a network for international exchanges like the ones

offered through Concordia and other schools worldwide. Post-Erasmus depression is a common experience amongst students upon returning from the glorious life of exchange to the grim realities of life back home, and it is certainly not exclusive to the European network (they just came up with the name first). This may just be the quintessential first-world problem, but it isn’t one to take lightly.

Already, the vast majority of college and university students experience some kind of mental illness. A 2013 article in the Globe and Mail breaks down mental health statistics among students, finding that 90 per cent of students felt anxious and “overwhelmed at all they had to do,” while just over 50 per cent relayed feelings of hopelessness, and 63 per cent admitted to being very lonely. Almost 10 per cent had considered suicide in the last year, and 1.3 per cent had attempted it.

“We do see more depression and anxiety than we did a few years ago,” said Dale Robinson, Psychologist and Manager of Counselling and Psychological Services at Concordia.

We can all agree that these statistics are troublesome, though not surprising. University courses are demanding, and it can be difficult to juggle academic responsibilities with working to support yourself, padding your resume with extracurriculars or internships, and navigating the treacherous waters of social interactions in your twenties.

Now, imagine that for a semester—or a year if you’re really lucky—you get to escape all the mundane, mind-numbing stresses of your life. You get on a plane, maybe to somewhere you’ve never been before. As quickly as it takes to get over your jet lag, you’re completely immersed in a new life, meeting new people, seeing new, exciting, beautiful things. Your only responsibility is passing your classes, which are often much less arduous than the ones at home anyways. Weekends are free to travel the world near your host city, or explore your new home, or forge bonds with other students from around the world. You learn about their cultures, teach them about yours, and find out that despite having grown up at opposite ends of the world you have a lot in common. You experience new things together. You breathe lighter with this extreme freedom. You’re living your life entirely for yourself. Everything is exciting and new, and as cheesy as it sounds, it will change you.

Then, in the blink of an eye that also seems like an eternity, you’re gone. Back home, back to where you started. You’ve changed, but nothing else has. Back to your soul-crushing part-time job and mini-dramas with people you feel that you’ve outgrown, and a city that feels a lot smaller than you left it.

“Change is always stressor, and anyone who has vulnerabilities of any kind is going to feel that impact much more,” said Robinson. “[Psychologist Abraham] Maslow talked about the hierarchy of needs; everything is built around the basic structure of where you live and what’s around you. When you change that, it changes everything else.”

A recurring theme amongst students who experience depression upon coming home from exchange is the reported feeling of being stifled by the lack of freedom and new experiences once you return.

“The word I keep using when people ask me about being back is ‘bittersweet.’ Yeah it’s great to see everyone but I miss the possibilities being on exchange offered,” said Matthew*, a Concordia student who recently returned from studying abroad in Paris in the fall semester. “Five months flies by and most is the same back at home. I know I constantly feel wanderlust, so being back just means I can no longer hop a budget flight under $100 and discover a completely new place in a weekend. Instead my option is $250 or more to go to Toronto.”

Robinson explains that readjusting to a new environment, especially after such a huge change as going abroad, can be difficult for many people.

“We adjust and respond to our environment, we can’t expect to be picked up and dropped off somewhere and be exactly the same,” she said. “For example, if the student went away and they felt more autonomous, were able to explore and experiment with their own identity, and then going back home you’re one of the family again, one of the kids again, you lose that autonomy.”

It is this kind of shift, which many students feel to be regressive, that has the potential to become a stressor that causes depression.

“Leaving for an entire year to Australia kind of made me want to start over entirely from scratch,” said Thierry Tardif, another Concordia student who spent a year studying abroad in Sydney, Australia. “I had a job, I paid my rent, my phone, my entire life over there was my own and I didn’t feel the need to meet anyone’s demands or my parents’ needs…I was my own person.”

For students battling with readjusting to life after exchange, Concordia International offers their services.

Sometimes simply sitting down and speaking with somebody about your experience abroad can be helpful, whether that’s in the form of mentoring a student thinking of going on exchange in the future, or sitting down with one of the International Liaison Officers, explains Pauliina Rouleau, International Liaison Officer for Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Concordia International.

“Staying active definitely helps readjusting to being home, and discussing with other people who have gone on exchange as they’ll be able to most likely relate to the feelings you’re having,” she said. “Personally I encourage returning students who are missing the international environment to get involved with CISA [Concordia International Student Association] as their goal is to bring students together in a warm and friendly environment.”

Robinson agrees that the best way to get over the readjustment hump is to stay active, and evaluate yourself and your goals on a new level.

“I’d encourage students to not be afraid of what they’re feeling, and to use that as an opportunity to ask themselves ‘what do I need right now?’,” said Robinson.

And, if your depression persists, you can always make an appointment with a psychologist at Concordia’s Counselling and Development department. This semester, they are launching a workshop entitled “Four Ways to Feel Better,” which will be held four times per semester starting Jan. 23.

In any case, going abroad is an incredible opportunity. It allows you to discover yourself as well as the world around you in unimaginable ways. It’s a dream life, to be sure, but it can also be a launching pad for future travels.

“Honestly nothing helped me until I made plans to go back,” said Jessica Prupas, a McGill student who studied abroad in Leeds, United Kingdom two years ago. She is now looking forward to attending grad school in London next year.

“All in all my mind is made up,” said Matthew. “I will not be staying in Montreal or Canada for very much longer.”


MALAISE will leave you feeling uneasy

Concordia fine arts graduates show the darkness of being human in a collective art show

MALAISE, an art show put on by six Concordia fine arts graduates, explores the raw and uneasy aspects of being human.

Last Thursday, artists Tessa Cameron, Katarzyna Chmielarz, Gabriela Gard Galiana, Ariana Sauder, Natalie Soble, and Liza Sokolovskaya—who go by the collective name The Group of Six in reference to the famed Canadian artists Group of Seven—welcomed a throng of admirers to Galerie 203 in Old Montreal, where the show will be mounted until Dec. 4.

“Everyone kind of pitched ideas of what they wanted to go for and a lot of it ended up being just morbid, uneasy themes,” said Gard Galiana of how they went about choosing their dark theme. “We chose the name ‘MALAISE’ to work around a few months ago, and we decided to do all our work according to that.”

The artists, who have all worked together in the past, kept close contact with each other throughout the process of creating the art for the show, explained Galiana, so as to make sure the feeling of malaise was cohesive throughout all the pieces. However, they each had a very unique way of interpreting it.

The collective effect of all these tableaus hung side-by-side is certainly disquieting.

Gard Galiana’s striking oil paintings represent individuals’ inner struggle through portraits that play with the concept of bondage; they are gagged, restrained, held back.

“My work was about fighting against yourself, hiding from your own secrets, your own insecurities, the fight within yourself,” said Gard Galiana. “People are tied up but it’s more to represent this uneasiness than anything sexual.”

Sauder’s portraits, painted in oil on canvas, have a blurry aesthetic that make the series look like snapshots of people caught in the rain, or seen through a foggy window. The feeling is highly eerie, and almost spectra. The same eeriness is felt in Sokolovskaya’s oil paintings, of out-of-focus close-ups of inanimate objects as one enters a home—“Buzzer #35” makes an everyday button seem ominous, and a lone lit lamp in a dark room in “Almost home” gives the sense that something sinister is lurking just behind the next wall.

Soble’s series of “Rorschach Girls”, painted in watercolour and ink on paper, immediately evokes an asylum or mental sanitarium. The twin sets of girls portrayed in mirror images seem to reference a chilling freak show-type atmosphere.

Death is present in animal form in Cameron’s work, with one painting of a taxidermied goat and another of a fur wig suspended ghost-like in mid air.

Chielarz also used ink to evoke a Japanese-style sketch series of “Les filles de la ville” shows figures hiding their faces while their naked bodies are made up of rows of crowded houses.

It took about four months to put everything together, and the girls did it all themselves from, obviously, creating the work, to scouting locations, to advertising and funding the show.

“We just started out, so the main goal for us is exposure,” said Gard Galiana. “Our location in the Old Port is great for us, you get a lot of tourists, a lot of people who are interested in buying art touring the galleries here.”

This is the second time the six of them have worked together, and they plan to do so again in the near future.

The pieces showcased are all on sale at Gallery 203, and range from $80 to $1300.

Gallery 203 is located at 227 Notre-Dame St. W. MALAISE is running until Dec. 4. For more information on the exhibition, visit

Student Life

HIV/AIDS activism is alive and well at ConU

Ian Bradley-Perrin discusses what still needs to be solved for a stigmatized community

The second lecture in this year’s Concordia University Community Lecture Series on HIV/AIDS will be taking place Nov. 27.

This year is the 22nd annual lecture series, which was “originally started by faculty and staff who were concerned with the HIV epidemic and who wanted to do an academic interdisciplinary response, and also engage with the community,” said Ian Bradley-Perrin, coordinator for the Concordia University Community Lecture Series on HIV/AIDS and a master’s student in history at Concordia.

The series is entirely independently funded by people in the community who want to ensure these discussions are ongoing.

“It provides a forum to use HIV as a prism on the rest of the world, and see how the world works as a microcosm dealing with health care and stigma-related issues, and I think this gives you a better view of how the world works in general,” said Bradley-Perrin.

Every year, four to five speakers are invited to Concordia to discuss HIV/AIDS-related issues across a series of academic disciplines. This year’s lineup included a science and medical perspective last month from virologist Dr. Chil-Yong Kang, who has been working to develop an HIV vaccine.

This month’s guest lecturer will be Sean Strub, a prolific figure in the HIV/AIDS activism community. He is a long-time activist and survivor of AIDS, and his credits include being the founder of Poz magazine and the first openly pos (HIV-positive) person in the United States House of Representatives. He is also the director of the Sero project, which is responsible for decriminalizing HIV/AIDS in Iowa, the first place where that was ever done.

“He’ll be speaking about his life’s work in general, but also I suspect [that he] will touch on the questions of what is the state of the pos experience of the world today,” said Bradley-Perrin.

In the coming months, two-time Academy Award winner Robert Epstein will come to talk about his filmography and documentaries which deal with the HIV epidemic, and activist Esther Boucicault Stanislas will be finishing up the year’s series with a perspective on community-based activism and the specific needs of the Haitian HIV/AIDS community.

Bradley-Perrin has embarked on quite the activist career-path as well, and has been involved with the Lecture Series and the HIV/AIDS community at large since 2011.

“When I was in my second year at Concordia I found out I was HIV-positive,” he said. “But even before that, as a gay person, HIV is a fundamental part of the way people think of themselves as part of a community. It’s a huge chunk of gay and lesbian history in the world.”

It was that year that Bradley-Perrin started organizing the lecture series.

“When I found out I was HIV-positive I started looking for that sort of community on campus where I could therapeutically, selfishly deal with what I was going through,” he said. “But also find an academic space where I could engage with HIV in some way outside of pure academia ideological terms or sort of the stereotypical ideas of AIDS in Africa, or as a disease of poverty.”

That same year, over the summer, Bradley-Perrin started organizing his own conference/workshop series with a few friends, which turned into a weekend event where they brought in people from all over the world in the HIV/AIDS community. They had panels to talk about issues that may not be important globally but were important to them.

“Even though the lecture series is amazing, it’s still within the context of an institution, you can’t have half-formed ideas,” he said. “People are presenting their life’s work, it’s very developed and they’re very mature in their career paths. But the workshop provides a context for people to sort of work through their own, less complete ideas.”

Amongst these ideas are “things like, what does it mean that if there was a cure, people who have made their living working in the HIV treatment community would lose their jobs,” said Bradley-Perrin.

These informal conversations have often sparked ideas which he would bring to the more formal lecture series the following school year. “Things that we’ve asked in the conference are often subjects that have fed my interest for the lectures, and we then bring forward to the lecture series,” he said.

“It’s amazing that Montreal has a community where there’s enough interest to have a lecture series in the academic year and also a conference in the summer that both draw such high numbers,” he said. The conference in the summer brings together around 200 people over the course of two days, while the lecture series boasts about a thousand people attending each year.

This is not surprising, considering that Montreal has second highest rate of HIV amongst gay men in Canada, and also (perhaps by consequence) has the greatest number of AIDS service organizations in the country.

Bradley-Perrin believes that the key to eventually curing HIV/AIDS lies as much in continuing discourse about the issue and finding reforms for the current limiting health care system, as it does in investing money for the development of vaccines and medications.

“Public education is such an important part of keeping the front-line work alive,” he said. “I think the search for a cure or a vaccine is always important, but it costs a lot less than people seem to think. Sometimes it’s not the money or the technology that’s needed, but the will to change the system. And that doesn’t cost anything.”

With his work, Bradley wants to emphasize that there is a gross misconception in the community. Over the last few years there has been a consistent theme in the narrative of HIV/AIDS work that attributes the development of highly effective retroactive antivirals in 1996 to the end of the HIV/AIDS problem.

“This could not be further from the truth,” he said. “There are 35 million people living with HIV in the world. Something like 1.6 million die each year from HIV. There are people in the US that don’t have access to treatment, there are people in Canada who don’t have access to treatment, and that’s even though we have a socialized healthcare system.”

Clearly, the fight against HIV/AIDS is far from over.

“We’ve solved some very serious, pressing questions, but all the pre-existing issues of social inequality haven’t been solved,” he said. “There are people who need these life-saving technologies, which for all intents and purposes should be freely available to them because it exists and it’s just sitting there, but who can’t access it. The system is inhospitable to the people that need it the most.”

Above and beyond that is the still-existing stigma around HIV and AIDS and society’s tendency to vilify those affected by the virus.

“I think that one thing the world needs to understand is first, the concept of decriminalizing HIV, and not only that but making people understand that people living with HIV are just like everyone else,” he said. “They’re not criminals, they’re not in the place that they’re in because of some delinquency, or some inability to differentiate right from wrong. It’s just a virus. And everybody is affected by it in some way.” Even if that way is just as one example of a health system that is deeply flawed.

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Student Life

We Remember: Concordia during the Great War

100 years ago, Loyola College boys dug in to WWI trenches and helped make history

By the time the back-to-school bells chimed at Loyola College (now Concordia University) in September of 1914, war had already begun to rage across the Atlantic.

The Great War, as it was soon to be called, began on July 28, 1914, just over a hundred years ago today. While the battlefields were half a world away from the classrooms where some of Montreal’s brightest young scholars spent their days, the ravages of the war certainly hit close to home.

In 1914, the first ever issue of the Loyola College Review, a comprehensive yearbook of all the events and best work of the school year, was published. Amid sketches for the much-anticipated expansion of the college to Montreal West (now Loyola Campus) and detailings of the college team’s athletic victories, the Review proudly gave accolades to the first of Loyola’s boys who put on their marching boots and left for the front lines of war.

A total of 32 students and alumni, who were fondly dubbed “Old Boys,” went to war in 1914.

At the time of press for the 1914-15 Loyola College Review, “some [had] been wounded, but as yet we have no deaths to mourn.” By the time of the armistice almost five years later, the death toll of Loyola boys reached 34 of the over 275 who went to the Front.

During the school year of 1914-15, the war was on everyone’s minds, but the outlook was optimistic. Even the Loyola Literary and Debating Society resolved against the statement “that the Germans have a better chance of winning this war than the Allies.”

By the time of publication of the following year’s Review, soldiers had dug into their trenches. France was under occupation and Canadians had fought in the First and Second Battles of Ypres, where gas warfare was infamously introduced by the Germans. Turkey had joined Germany, and they invaded Serbia. Italy switched its alliance and declared war on Germany. Germans used heavy artillery shellings in the Battle of Verdun. The Battle of the Somme saw a modest advance for the Allies, at the cost of over 1.2 million lives from both sides.

Back in Montreal, Loyola College felt the effects of its first war casualties.

The 1916 Review lists that 115 students and Old Boys had gone to join the fight, two were confirmed dead, and several were wounded.

The two confirmed dead were Loyola Old Boys Corporal Adrian McKenna and Lieutenant John Howe.

McKenna wrote a letter back home on Jan. 16, 1916 from Belgium, and relayed his excitement at being back with his regiment after an absence. He wrote:

“I know your eyes must be winking and jumping from trying to make this out, so I will say good-night. I am enclosing the stripes off my great-coat. I value them very much, as I have had them since I left Canada. The stains on them are blood from a man who was killed and whom I carried into the trench. Keep them for me till I get back.”

On Jan. 18, McKenna wrote to his brother from his “little dug-out” in the trenches:

“The Huns are quiet this morning. I guess they are getting sick of the war. I had a letter from mother yesterday. She seemed to take it for granted that I was coming home. Much as I appreciate your offer, I wouldn’t dream of going back until I have done my “bit,” and I am glad you didn’t do anything until you heard from me. . . . . . Good bye for a while. It’s dinner time, and I am starving, as usual.”

McKenna never would get back; goodbye for a while was indeed the final goodbye. On Jan. 19 McKenna was the first Loyola boy killed in action, shot in no man’s land just outside of Ypres, as he was carrying ammunition back to his troops.

The Review’s pages from that year, and the years that followed, would increasingly be filled with these first-hand accounts from friends and former classmates at war. The section of the Review dedicated to these “Letters from the Front” was nestled alongside short stories (some telling of war, some not), musings from college boys, prayers, and spreads for every academic, religious, and athletic club on campus. By the 1919 edition, these letters had all but given way to eulogies for fallen friends.

While the war was a constant presence on everybody’s minds at home, the boys at the front often thought of life at school.

A letter from Major (later Lieutenant-Colonel) George J. Boyce to a former classmate, written March 7, 1916, said:

“Your thoughtfulness in sending me a Christmas box was very much appreciated indeed. Many thanks from an old friend years’ standing.

How is life with you? You are at the dear old College. God bless Loyola! May it constantly prosper and blossom out into one of the greatest Canadian Colleges! Already, in quality, Loyola leaves nothing to be desired. Let us hope that, with greater facilities, material welfare may be likewise.”

Boyce was awarded the Distinguished Service Order medal in 1919, and his praise as a high-ranking war hero was sung proudly in the Review time and time again during the war years.

The “greater facilities” Boyce describes are indeed the buildings for expansion to the college at what is now Loyola Campus.

Loyola College would be officially moved to the new campus on Sherbrooke Street the following year, in 1917. The old buildings at 68 Drummond St. would then become occupied by the Military Hospitals Commission as a convalescence home for returned soldiers.

Amidst this excitement for a new college stomping grounds, in 1917 the sombre cloud of war hung heavier than it had to this point.

From only two Loyola boys recorded as killed in action the previous year, the casualties marked a total of 14 killed, 24 wounded, and over 175 gone to fight by the time the 1917 Review was published.

The war raged full throttle in that year. The United States declared war on Germany, and joined the Allies on the battlefields. The British launched the third bloody Battle of Ypres. The concept of a “total war” became a reality as German troops bombed British civilians.

A letter from the editor on the first page of the 1916-17 Review reads:

“Our readers will note that a large portion of this number of the Review is fittingly dedicated to our boys at the Front, particularly those who have given their lives to the Empire’s cause. To their families and friends, who have sent us photographs and letters, we offer our sincere thanks.”

The enormous losses from the previous year’s Battle of the Somme had left a sizeable dent in the Allied forces manpower. In response, Canada passed The Military Service Act in August of 1917, which stated that the Canadian government could institute conscription across the country if the need was felt.

The school year of 1917-18 saw many students conscripted, and the college certainly felt the loss.

The Review’s first page for that year reads:

“The demands and alarms of war have played havoc with its ordinary staff and contributors. They have dropped the pen and seized the sword.”

Conscription summoned all young men aged 19 to 23 to the battlefields, where they were to report for duty by April 27. The college had no choice but to entirely close down the philosophy department. Bright young minds stopped debating Aristotle and Machiavelli, and instead prepared to take up battle. Final exams for the year were pushed forward to the beginning of April and the department remained closed from then until the end of the war.

That year, Loyola’s losses numbered 24, almost double from the previous year. Twenty-eight boys were wounded, and one soldier was reported missing, from a total of over 250 Loyola boys at the front.

The pages of the Review were filled with eulogies for fallen friends, death announcements, and letters of condolence. With so many gone to serve, it became harder to keep track of all the Loyola boys who had gone to the front. The Review urged any students or alumni who had news from friends or relatives at war to share it.

The 1918-19 Review was published just before the bells of peace rang out on Nov. 11. By the end of the war, Loyola College had sent over 275 boys off to the battlefields, 34 of whom would not return.

The maple trees that today line the perimeter of the campus on Sherbrooke Street were planted in honour of Loyola College’s fallen WWI heroes.

At 11 a.m. today, please take a moment to remember Corporal Adrian McKenna, Lieutenant John Howe, Colonel-Lieutenant Boyce, and the others who have studied in the classrooms you now do, walked the same halls, shared the same campus, and who fought in this and so many other wars to afford you the liberties you now enjoy.

All information and files c/o The Loyola College Review 1914-19. Special thanks to Concordia’s archives department.

War events timeline according to

Student Life

Let’s talk about sex

Screw the five date rule—Just do it, or don’t

I was recently having a conversation with a potential male suitor, whose idea of getting to know each other consisted of a round of 20 questions, which culminated in him asking me “what my rules are for dating” more specifically, for a first date.

In his defence, I think he was trying to play by the book and be “respectful” so that he knew my boundaries, but the feminist rage within me boiled up and I told him that that was a stupid question and I wasn’t a character in bloody Sex and the City, before stomping off to get myself another drink.

For some reason, this fairly innocent question touched a nerve. I don’t believe in strict “dating” rules—I don’t live in a “lookin’ for love in all the wrong places” style sitcom, and I think that just as every two people are different, so are our interactions and chemistry in situational circumstances involving the getting together (sexually or not) of any said people.

Sometimes, the fire will just be there from the get-go, and if both parties are consenting adults, I see no reason why they should hold themselves back from following their carnal instincts.

On the other hand, sometimes that spark just isn’t there, and maybe it’ll warm up in time, or maybe it won’t.

Bottom line is, do it if you both want to do it, don’t if you don’t. Know your boundaries in any given situation, but don’t set blanket boundaries based on something a chick flick once preached.

The idea that your potential partner won’t respect you in the morning if you “give in” right away is absolutely ludicrous, and if that’s the case, then let me tell you that person doesn’t deserve your respect either. It takes two to tango.

The entire concept of “giving in” or “giving it up” has a predatorial and misogynistic air to it that doesn’t seem congruent with our supposedly egalitarian society, or rather, the ideal egalitarian society I wish we lived in.

Sex isn’t a non-renewable resource; your sex powers aren’t going to dry up if you do it too early on in a relationship or too much or with too many people. Shocking, I know. If anything, it’ll just keep getting better over time.

Likewise, if you don’t want to sleep with someone—whether it’s the first date or your wedding night—then don’t do it.

The point that I’m trying to drive home here is that it’s asinine to put a general timestamp on when you “should” start becoming physically intimate with a new person. A person’s worth is not measured by how hard it is to get them into bed, and it’s quite frankly ridiculous for society to insinuate otherwise.

Student Life

Go green for Halloween at the Greenhouse

Join the Concordia Greenhouse team with pumpkin carving and zombie-mandrakes

The Concordia Greenhouse is planting some spooky seeds this week with a Jack O’ Lantern and Halloween decorations workshop tonight, and a zombie apocalypse party on All Hallows’ Eve. The best news is, both events are free.

The second installment of their bi-weekly “Art in the Atrium” workshops will take a festive air tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Greenhouse Atrium.

This just might be the perfect opportunity to nudge you to get those last-minute Halloween decorations up, as the greenhouse opens its doors and invites all to bring pumpkins, apples, squash, or potatoes to carve into Jack O’ Lantern masterpieces.

If getting your hands all up in the guts of gourds isn’t your cup of tea, the “Art in the Atrium” team will have some classic Halloween decoration projects on tap too.

Then, on Halloween night, help fight off an infestation of mandrake-zombies that have sprouted up in the greenhouse’s soil.

Everyone knows the best way to tame brain-eating zombie-mandrakes is to overwhelm them with music, snacks, and dancing. The zombie-themed Halloween rooftop garden party will take place from 7 to 10 p.m., and costumes are expected.

DJ Swirlz will secure the space with dark rock and electric swing sounds, along with live ukulele and banjo acts to quell those pesky zombies’ bloodthirst.

The party will be hosted on the rooftop garden of the greenhouse at 1455 de Maisonneuve W. Blvd.

Student Life

Grey Nun ghosts and a murderer’s grave

Delving into Concordia campus’ dark and haunted history

The Grey Nunnery’s orphan ghosts

Since its foundation in 1737, the Grey Nuns building has been home to the Grey Nuns, women in difficulty, the poor and needy of Montreal, orphaned children, wounded soldiers, and now students. It seems it may also be home to ghosts.

In 1918, the Grey Nunnery housed an orphanage on the top floor of the Left Wing, and sick and wounded soldiers on the lower levels, according to Newfoundland’s The Western Star. This was wartime, and the Grey Nuns played a crucial role in sheltering those who had nowhere else to go.

On the evening of Valentine’s Day, a fire broke out on the top floor of the building, enshrouding the orphanage in smoke and flames.

“The children, most of them infants, had been put to bed as usual at five o’clock. The first flames seemed to shoot up through the floor of the dormitory, near one of the windows. They caught the end of a curtain. In a few minutes smoke and stench of blistering paint were rolling through the two rooms,” an excerpt from the Montreal Gazette from 1970 states.

“Thirty-eight, charred bodies were found by the firemen at 10:30 … while firemen and soldiers were engaged in rescuing infants they were forced to leave many to die as the flames and smoke drove the rescuers from the building,” reported The Western Star on the morning of Feb. 15, 1918.

That number was later amended to 53 confirmed deaths, and it is still unknown how many other young children and babies were entirely cremated in the fire, their remains never having been found.

Donovan King, a Concordia alumnus and expert in haunted theatre who runs Montreal’s Ghost Tours, has some sordid details about the SGW campus’ allegedly haunted past.

“Back in the spring, I went to the residence and began asking students on the street about if anyone had heard any stories of hauntings,” he said. “One student who had been living in the residence said she had been having nightmares every night about dead children, she would hear trampling noises and have bad visions associated with this,” he said.

According to King, the student was unable to sleep—she tried everything from hot tea to sleeping pills. Only when she moved out of the residence did these nightmares and visions subside.

According to daycare workers at the Grey Nun’s residence that King interviewed as well, she is not the only one who felt the presence of the tragically departed orphans.

“Apparently two of the children in the daycare had made the same imaginary friend, who fit the description of an orphan,” King said. Both children in the daycare had individually described this “friend” as having a “tattered hat and ripped, charred clothes.”


The Murderer’s Cross

The Nunnery isn’t the only landmark on campus that has a gruesome past life.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the large wooden cross on the corner of Guy St. and René-Levesque Blvd. According to the same article from the Montreal Gazette, it marks the spot where long ago a murderer was buried.

“In 1752 Jean Baptiste Goyer lived in a small house just on the north side of the street, where the gates of the Grey Nuns motherhouse are now,” said King. “He was an indolent and lazy farmer, and made little money.”

As the story goes, according to the Gazette, his neighbours, Jean Favre and his wife Mary-Anne Bastien, were very successful farmers, and quite wealthy.

One day Goyer told his neighbours that he was taking a trip to Quebec City, which was a very long trip at the time, explained King. While he was away, Favre and Bastien were brutally murdered, and their property looted.

“When Goyer returned a couple of weeks later, he expressed horror at the murders, he became obsessed with the murder case, and began spending even more money at the tavern,” said King.

Because of this erratic behaviour, Goyer became the prime suspect and was arrested.

Back in that day they would torture people with the Spanish Boot, a method which involved nailing the accused’s legs to planks of wood, and asking them questions designed to make them confess. Goyer confessed under the pain that instead of going to Quebec City, he had snuck into the Favre’s home in the middle of the night, and stabbed Favre and his wife.

Goyer was executed by torture wheel on the Place du Marché.

“They would attach the guilty to a flat wheel, they would revolve the wheel slowly and the torturer would smash their limbs apart with a hammer between the gaps in the wheel,” said King.

Goyer was left there to die with his bones smashed and splintered and his face turned up to the sky.

A blood-red cross was erected on the spot as a warning to others not to commit such a heinous crime.

Over a century later, in the 1870s, the roads were widened, and the nuns discreetly moved the original cross, painted it a less striking colour, and surrounded it with religious paraphernalia and a garden.

“Today, because they moved the cross from its original place, Goyer’s body is probably somewhere under Réné-Levesque Blvd.,” said Donovan.

The cautionary message that the cross warned was soon forgotten.

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