Booster blues at ConU libraries

If you don’t keep an eye out for your cellular phone, your Palm Pilot, your purse or your other personal belongings, someone else may do it for you – and it’s not ConU security or other samaritans.
Concordia’s Webster Library has become a regular haven for petty thieves who consider the students to be easy pickings.
Darren Dumoulin, a spokesman for Concordia security, said there were 26 robberies in January alone, not including unreported thefts.
“Nothing is safe,” he said. “Everything from leather coats to laptop computers have been stolen, with Concordia textbooks being sold as far as away as at the University of Toronto.”
He said that women, especially those who live alone, should take more than the
usual precautions with regard to their wallets and their keys.
“Not only do they lose their money and their credit cards, but the thief has their address and the keys to their apartment. [If their purse is stolen,] they should change their locks right away.”
The police are beginning to take petty theft more seriously. Serial numbers for such high value items as laptop computers are registered in the police computer as soon as the theft is reported. Pawnshops must register the serial numbers of every purchase made in a given day. This has made the disposal of stolen goods more difficult and less profitable.
However, textbooks are expensive and every university represents a ready market for a psychology textbook that cost a fortune and disappears the minute its owner turns his back on it.
Angel Kumar, a first year computer science student, said: “It would be nice to go to the bathroom in peace and not have to pack up your stuff every time you want to go look for a book or something.”
Dumoulin feels that a petty thief (or thieves) is at the root of the problem.
The thefts usually occur in the early afternoon when a number of items are stolen within a short time. Similar thefts, at different intervals, have occurred at other universities. This has led authorities to believe that the Webster Library has become just another stop along the thief’s circuit.
McGill Security spokesman Paul Barbarie agreed, and described how McGill’s female students are specifically told to keep an eye on their purses.
Concordia’s security has increased its presence within the Webster Library as well as at Loyola’s Vanier Library. This has reduced the number of thefts, but it has not entirely eliminated the problem.
Agents are dropping off leaflets in library study areas where personal property is left unattended. These pamphlets warn students that those items could have been easily stolen.
Students are being asked to immediately report any suspicious person or behavior to security, and personnel are being asked to be aware and alert as to the problem of theft in the university’s offices, classrooms and libraries.
As much as Dumoulin admitted that he would very much like to catch the thief in
action, he said that the best approach is to reduce the opportunity for such thefts at all times.
“Nobody steals if there’s nothing to steal.”

Tavern talk
A Danier leather jacket may cost you $295 at their retail outlets. Sold in a tavern on the corner of Wolfe and Ontario, it just might cost you $30. (However, it does not come properly wrapped in its box.)
Laptops bought for more than a thousand dollars in any reputable store are worth only a couple of hundred as they are too easy to trace, especially if they are connected to the Internet. They usually get exported to the third world.
Compact disc players are worth twenty to thirty dollars each, and nobody will bother to trace them through their serial numbers.
Purses, along with their credit cards and cash, have an obvious value. The keys, along with the address, are sold to willing buyers for a nominal fee.
Textbooks are generally worth a quarter of their retail price to willing buyers, and the university has many students who cannot pass up such bargains.
– Albert S


Electoral board may be eliminated

A referendum question may give power to the CSU Council of Representatives to appoint a Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) in charge of organizing and administering elections, by-elections and referenda.
Originally, the Electoral Board was responsible for appointing a CEO from its five members, who are themselves appointed by a two-thirds majority vote of CSU councillors.
“Speaking from experience, the Electoral Board has had a hard time keeping members signed up and staying with it,” said CSU President Rob Green.
The members of the board must be members of the Student Union while serving their one year term. The board is usually defunct by the time the by-elections roll around, so the power to appoint a CEO was placed in the hands of CSU Council instead.

People’s Potato wants stability

The People’s Potato is a student-run kitchen, operating on a not-for-profit basis that offers daily vegetarian lunches to students in the basement of Reggie’s on a pay-what-you-can basis.
It is a service of the Concordia Student’s Union (CSU) and is run by the Concordia Food Collective (CFC), an organization that is concerned with social justice and food politics.
The mandate of the People’s Potato is to provide nutritious food for hungry students. It is providing a minimum of 250 meals for every school day of 2000-01.
The People’s Potato kitchen has been operating this past year, with the support of the university, on an informal basis with funding coming from donations, a small catering service, student fees of $0.05 per credit (as approved in a student referendum last spring), bakery sales and monies from the Concordia University Alumni Association.
CFC would like to change this arrangement to a system where funding is secure. This would allow them to put their energy into increasing their daily capacity to serve free food.
They have two questions in the upcoming student referendum that address these issues.

1) Are you in favour of implementing a fee levy of $0.25 per credit adjusted for the C.P.I. for a 5 year period starting in Fall 2001 and ending in Winter 2006 to support the People’s Potato Project Collective which provides one free meal every weekday during the fall and winter academic semesters with the understanding that every union member can request a full refund of the fee from the People’s Potato Project Collective if he/she desires?
The People’s Potato wants to continue offering their services without making financial payment a condition for receiving food. This is to ensure that their service remains “inclusive” and that all segments of the student population, in particular those who are down to one meal a day or less, will have access to regular nutritious meals.
Zev Tiefenbach, project co-ordinator for People’s Potato, said that “securing funds is a volatile and time consuming process” and that CFC would prefer to channel its energy into its mandate of preparing and serving food.
Because fund-raising is also political and therefore, uncertain, Tiefenbach felt that a fee levy of $0.25 per credit would ensure the viability and stability of the People’s Potato for the next five years. He also said it would allow them to continue their operations as is or to increase their capacity for operating the food service.

2) Do you agree with the following statement? We, the students of Concordia demand that the V.R. Services allocate additional kitchen space, cooking equipment, serving space, and seating space on the 7th floor to the People’s Potato Project Collective, as outlined in a “Proposal for a Complementary Food Operation on the 7th Floor of the Cafeteria Space,” submitted to the university administration on January 31st, in order for the People’s Potato to significantly increase their daily capacity to serve free food.
At the present time, the People’s Potato uses three spaces to offer lunches to students. Food is prepared in their kitchen, a portion of the larger cafeteria kitchen on the seventh floor of the Hall Building. It has its own stoves, refrigerators, storage and countertops. Hot food is transported from the seventh floor kitchen to the basement of Reggie’s, where it is served. Afterwards, dishes are washed in the Java U kitchen on Mezzanine level.
This system is labour-intensive and creates logistical problems. “The People’s Potato must be responsible for the cleaning of three separate facilities on three separate floors,” said Tiefenbach.
He also felt the transportation of hot fluids and food through the university is dangerous and needs to be addressed. Also, the service space in Reggie’s basement does not meet the large demand for seating. There are line ups and long waiting periods.
The People’s Potato wants to consolidate its operations on the seventh floor of the Hall Building to become more efficient. They are also requesting additional kitchen space in order to increase their serving capacity in response to growing demand.


Admin upset, disappointed by CSU question

The Concordia Student Union wants to prevent vice-rector (research) and provost Dr. Jack Lightstone from being appointed rector. However, the term of the current rector, Dr. Frederick Lowy, will not end until 2003.
Lowy wrote to CSU president Rob Green to express his “disappointment and strong opposition to the CSU referendum question” about Lightstone. He pointed out that no one should hold Lightstone personally responsible for the decisions he makes as chief Academic Officer of Concordia.
“Changes in academic programs are discussed and approved by [many university boards]. Literally dozens of people are involved in planning, modifying and approving changes in programs, including students who sit on these bodies,” Lowy wrote.
Green said Lightstone should be held accountable for “not acting in the public interest of students, staff and faculty.”
He said Lightstone has caused harm to students by supporting the lifting of Quebec’s tuition freeze and switching the priority research from public interests to private ones.


President: Paul BACKMAN
VP finances & communications: Francois-Marc Dionne
VP internal: Matthew Crestohl
VP external & academic: Denis Robichaud

President: Hammad BAIG
VP external: Emmanuel Moreira
VP communication: Mat Siemaszkiewicz
Clubs Commissioner: Pavan Magon
VP internal: Luma Abu Judom

President: Ralph A. LEE
VP finance: David Penta
VP internal: David M. Adams
VP external & academic: Erin Matheson
VP communications: Aisha Saintiche

President: Chris SCHULZ
VP internal: Avigail Aronoff
VP finance: David Harrison
VP communications: Sean Farrell
VP academic: Laura Zapotichny

President: Sabrina STEA
VP finance: Patrice Blais
VP outreach: Benoit Desgreniers
VP internal: Laith Marouf
VP external: Gen


CSU Senate active again

The Concordia Student Union’s Senate of Faculty Associations has been revived after a history of problems between the CSU and the faculties.
Senate has not met since 1996 and the revival was sparked when the faculties showed a renewed interest in senate. Some argue that senate is something positive, but others have concerns.
“The Arts and Science Faculty Association (ASFA) and I felt strongly that we wanted to get a voice, since we don

CSU fee question heads to ballot

Concordia undergraduate students will be asked whether they want to change the way they pay their student union fee.
The Concordia Student Union Council of Representatives approved a first version
of the question during a council meeting on Feb. 28. This question proposed to charge students $1.50 per credit, plus a separate 40 cent per credit charge dedicated to clubs.
But that version has been amended. CSU President Rob Green said he discussed the
issue further with his executive and used his presidential powers to amend the question in time for the referendum applications deadline.

Women engineering students wanted

This week is National Engineering Week and to celebrate excellence in the field, the Engineering and Computer Science Association (ECA) has organized a week of activities.
These include keynote speakers, tours of the campus, round table discussions and experiments to open students up to the field.
Karim Ibrahim, vice-president of external affairs for the ECA, has been organizing this event since December 1993. It is designed primarily to encourage female students at the high school and cegep levels to pursue studies and careers in the fields of sciences and engineering.
“There’s a big misconception at the high school level that engineering is a male-dominated field so women don

Fines on horizon

Smokers beware!
The provincial government will soon be giving Concordia

CSU seeks universal student fee

It is clear that leaders from all three major student associations are in agreement that all members should pay into the Concordia Student Union. The only question is to determine how much.
The CSU, now the official representative of the entire undergraduate population after it legally accredited this past fall, is currently collecting fees from about two-thirds of its members. Students enrolled in commerce, administration, engineering and computer science currently do not pay any fees to the student union.
With the student union’s accreditation signed, sealed and delivered, now comes the task of bringing the student union’s funding back to levels it enjoyed when all members paid into it.
A motion was put forward at the last meeting of the CSU council on Feb. 14 to ask for a fee of $2.00 per credit from the entire student body at the upcoming referendum — coinciding with the annual student union presidential elections.
CSU President Rob Green contends that an increase in the current CSU operating budget is necessary now more than ever, in light of the more than $193,000 that the union was defrauded of and the ensuing costs that come with it.
The student union is currently plagued with a myriad of dilemmas, including inadequate funding for clubs, limited services and a lack of presence on the Loyola campus. Green also said that money earmarked for student union special projects and new projects like Green’s own CSU human rights office are generally the first one on the chopping block when there are financial difficulties.
A lack of presence at Loyola is also a concern to Green. “There’s no question about the university’s revitalization of Loyola, and the CSU needs to be prepared for that. This is a two-campus university and we are a one campus union.”
Green said the CSU will likely add a full-time accountant, which the student union’s legal staff estimates will cost at least $50-60,000 per year in salary alone.
Accountant: unnecessary expense
The Engineering and Computer Science Association (ECA) and the Commerce and Administration Students Association (CASA) have both said they have no problem with paying a fee, but getting to that dollar figure will require some give and take at the negotiating table.
“Before their budget is raised, I think they need to show that they can do a good job with what they have already,” said ECA president Mario Ciaramicoli.
At the last CSU council meeting, CASA president Rabih Sebaaly suggested that an increase of $2.00 across the board was unnecessary. He also said such an increase would also represent a one-third increase in the union’s budget.
As an alternative, CASA’s president suggested that the fee be lowered for all students to $1.33, thus maintaining the CSU’s current budget while giving students’ pocketbooks a break.
“This way, everyone would pay the same without increasing the CSU budget,” Sebaaly said. “For CASA, it is not an issue that every single student should pay fees. The issue is whether the CSU needs and deserves a 33 per cent increase in its budget. That is the only issue.”
He said the CSU need to outline where any extra money will be spent before he agrees to an increased CSU budget. He also said new monies should not be applied to costs related to the recent case of internal fraud.
Both Sebaaly and Ciaramicoli have questioned why the CSU needed a full-time accountant.
“Fifty-thousand dollars [for an accountant] is too much for an organization that barely has a $1-million operating budget. Many companies don’t have one. What they do is they hire the service of an accounting firm, where someone works part-time. Why not hire a student? After all, we produce the best accountants in Canada at Concordia.”
“This money shouldn’t be going to something [like an accountant],” Ciaramicoli said. “It should be going to the clubs and student groups.”
ECA’s current president added that he also supports putting aside a certain amount of money for clubs, citing ECA as an example. Fifty percent of ECA’s budget goes directly to societies and groups that fall under it.
The CSU has pledged to put 20 cents of each dollar aside for clubs.
“I’m optimistic that we can deal with this by the end of the week,” said Ciaramicoli. “Personally, I want to get this over with by the end of this week so that we can concentrate on our respective elections.”
“I don’t want this to be confrontational,” he added.

Council says no to lower quorum

The council of representatives narrowly rejected a motion, six-to-six, to reduce the quorum of general assemblies from 2.5 per cent of the undergraduate population to 350 people.
Some argued at the meeting that a lower quorum would allow students to better exercise their democratic right, while others said this would allow small organized groups to hijack assemblies.
“In principal I support the motion to lower the quorum, said clubs commissioner Chris Schulz, “but I find it inappropriate to lower it since the Concordia Student Union (CSU) has alienated a large segment of the student population. Lowering the quorum will not renew student confidence in the CSU. This is not the right time to lower it.”
CSU president Rob Green wrote the motion because he felt there should be more general assemblies. “The general assembly is the most democratic way in which students can express their opinions and therefore the student has power. Any student can vote and speak in a general assembly and I love that,” Green said.
The motion was nearly passed at council. Six councillors voted for the motion and six councillors voted against the motion. In a situation where there is a draw, the motion is not passed.
“It takes an enormous amount of energy to get people to go to a general assembly,” said vp external Christina Xydous. “This should not be an impossible task. The current quorum prevents general assemblies from happening, which is a normal function of a student union.”
General assemblies are not usually well attended at Concordia and the CSU has had to put in a lot of effort to reach the quorum.
“To get people to last year’s general assembly on the administration fee, we had to paper the university with advertisements,” Green said. “we had to visit classes and we offered free food. It took all this to get the general assembly quorum.”
Other French universities have lower quorums and general assemblies are common occurrences, Xydous said. “This creates a more dynamic student union. Besides 350 people for quorum is not a ridiculous number, other universities have 12 people for quorum,” she added.
Commerce and Administration Student Association (CASA) president Rabih Sebaaly said CASA took the CSU’s example and increased its quorum to the CSU level of 2.5 per cent. He also said it is important to have this level of quorum to ensure that there is enough student representation for important issues that are voted on.
“I do not think that 350 people can represent 25,000 students, but I think that 2.5 per cent of students can,” Sebaaly said.