Reggies aims for inclusivity

Employees and members gather for an annual general meeting to talk about improvements made in the last year

Concordia’s official solidarity bar, Reggies, held its first annual general meeting on Nov. 16, at Reggies, which is located on the second floor of the Hall building. The meeting went over the changes the bar has undergone over the last year and the positives impacts they have had. Approximately 30 staff and co-op members attended the meeting.  

Reggies officially became a co-op after CUSACorp, the for-profit sector of the Concordia Student Union (CSU) that was previously in charge of the bar, dissolved in May 2016. Being a co-op has allowed students to give their input and be more involved in the future of the bar.

Melanie Desrosiers, Reggies’ general manager, said the transition has been very positive. “Working with students is really exciting. It’s a student bar and they should make the decisions,” she said.

Desrosiers also discussed the work she’s been doing with Gabrielle Bouchard from the Centre for Gender Advocacy to make the bar more welcoming for all students. “I believe Reggies is one of the only bars that has a safe space policy being as thoroughly followed,” she said.

As part of this safe space policy, Reggies employees went through four types trainings, including  consent training, bystander intervention, completing a server intervention program, and a “Trans 101” tutorial given by Bouchard. The tutorial educated staff on the importance of a safe space and how to promote an inclusive environment. Reggies bathrooms are gender-neutral. “Everybody is welcome here,” said Desrosiers.

Reggies’ president, Adrian Longinotti, who is also the finance coordinator for the CSU, discussed the financial status of the bar. “The 2015-16 fiscal year was the first time that Reggies finished with a surplus in the last 15 years,” he read from the annual report. During the meeting, he discussed how the CSU helped Reggies with funding for renovations, which helped the bar to reboot in a positive position. He also told The Concordian the meeting exceeded his expectations, both in terms of the number of people who attended and the fact there was stimulating conversation where everyone exchanged ideas about what they hope to see in Reggies’ future.


Safe spaces hurt our campus and students

Exploring the contentious topic of safer spaces at Concordia

Recently, the University of Chicago sent a letter to incoming freshmen informing them that safe spaces and trigger warnings would not be tolerated on campus. The university also said they wouldn’t cancel controversial speakers simply because they were deemed offensive.

“Members of our community must have the freedom to espouse and explore a wide range of ideas,” the letter stated.

The letter, which was shared online, provoked a social media frenzy —many praising and decrying the decision alike. Decriers, however, are gaining traction. Pew Research Center, a Washington D.C.-based “think tank,” found 40 per cent of millennials support limiting free speech to avoid offending minority groups.

Safe spaces have overtaken college campuses. According to The New York Times, when Brown University invited libertarian Wendy McElroy to debate the existence of “rape culture” on college campuses, student volunteers set up a safe space next door for “triggered” students.

In an incredibly infantilizing move, the space offered cookies, colouring books, Play-Doh and videos of frolicking puppies to adult students.

Here at Concordia, we have started to embrace safe space culture. Campus clubs such as Queer Concordia, sell themselves as “safe spaces,” while official campus events like ASFA Frosh tout new “safe spaces” as a major progressive change and selling point. This hurts students.

Exposure to new ideas is the basis of higher education. Assuming students can close themselves off, as if they’re sure their ideas are inherently correct, is limiting. Confronting new ideas, exploring other options and understanding others allows us to expand or update our worldviews.

Open dialogue also helps us strengthen our beliefs, as hearing thoughtful critique allows us to explore why we hold these ideas, and defend them more succinctly.

“We expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement,” said the UChicago letter. “This may challenge you and even cause discomfort.”

Uncomfortable ideas shouldn’t be feared. “Bad” ideas can’t survive in the free marketplace of ideas. Like an Adam Smith-esque free market, the best ideasnamely “true” or “moral” ideaswill win out in a fair and transparent competition against inferior ideas. The best way to fight “bad ideas” is to let everyone hear them.

At a talk given at the University of Massachusetts, provocateur and journalist, Milo Yiannopoulos, explained that, after its first real media exposure on the BBC’s Question Time, the far-right, racist British National Party lost mainstream support and the few local seats it had won in the previous election. The party is virtually non-existent today.

“This is why it isn’t just important to give platforms to ordinary speech,” said Yiannopoulos, who was banned by social justice groups at several colleges. “It’s important to give platforms to all speechbecause sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

University should prepare students for adult life – which doesn’t care or cater to feelings. It’s a hard adjustment, but the corporate world doesn’t offer cookies and Play-Doh.

Students need to discern between disagreement and harassment, and learn how to act independently in each situation. Forcing students to confront their issues head-on teaches them to speak up for themselves, which is beneficial. To assume students can’t or shouldn’t be fiercely independent in the defense of their beliefs and needs is infantilizing and insulting.

Critics of UChicago’s policy fear that students with mental illnesses, like PTSD, will be negatively impacted. Yet students with diagnosed disorders have a responsibility to inform peers and professors. Most, if not all, would be sympathetic. But this should be dealt with on an individual basis, not as university-wide mandate. You can’t limit education to cater to the minority.

Safe space culture stifles individuality, creativity and independence, which are good qualities to foster in our future leaders. As John F. Kennedy said, “A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”

Graphic by Florence Yee


The new out of the old: Concordia christens rebirth of Grey Nuns building

Former convent transformed into state-of-the-art residence and study space

Concordia University’s newest student residence, meant to provide housing to almost 600 students and augment study space to over 300 more, officially opened to celebration on Monday at the former Grey Nuns convent.

The ceremony took place in the former Chapelle de l’Invention-de-la-Sainte-Croix, which has been transformed into the Reading Room. Attendees of the event included the Grey Nuns congregation and their Congregational Leader Sister Jacqueline St-Yves, Montreal City Councillor and Borough Mayor for Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace Russell Copeman, and Hélène David, the Quebec Minister of Culture and Communications and Minister Responsible for the Protection and Promotion of the French Language.

Photo by Nathalie Laflamme

“Concordia is now offering to its students a reading room that is an impressive place of beauty, calm and serenity,” said Dr. Guylaine Beaudry, a librarian at Concordia University. “What fills me with emotion is the blend of the traditionally religious with a space devoted to study and research.”

Beaudry continued to describe the Reading Room as the “only place for students to study in silence” on campus. “[The students] talk to us, using Facebook, and on Instagram and Twitter to tell us how this reading room inspires them to study, how it makes them proud to be Concordians.”

“Allow me to express how happy we are that this house will continue its mission of welcome,” said St-Yves. “I can tell you [that when we returned], it was an unforgettable moment. Where the past, the present, and – most importantly – the future, came together.”

“This was particularly challenging project, and the turning [of] a … protected convent into a 600-bed student residence and this magnificent study space has been extremely well executed,” said Copeman.

The event also included a performance by Concordia’s Theatre department. Students scattered around the Reading Room read aloud excerpts from Marguerite d’Youville (founder of the Grey Nuns) in French, Shakespearean English, a statement of solidarity in Cree, and Dante’s Divine Comedy in Italian.

“When [the performance] became a little bit cacophonous, it sounded a little bit like a meeting of the City Council of Montreal,” joked Copeman.

The building had been recognized as a historic building by the Government of Quebec, who collaborated with Concordia University and the Grey Nuns on the heritage preservation of the premises.

The acquisition of the Grey Nuns Residence makes it Concordia University’s oldest building. Certain areas, such as the crypt inside the building, will remain under the custodianship of the Grey Nuns.

In Spring 2015 an event will be held to commemorate the recognition of its historic status by the federal government.

Concordia University has a long legacy of religious collaborations. Both Loyola College and Sir George Williams University were originally founded by religious groups. The name “Concordia” is Latin for “harmony,” representing the merger of the two institutions.


Semester in preview











A new president

THE FACTS: Come April, Concordia may have a final candidate to replace interim President Frederick Lowy as president and vice-chancellor of the university. The presidential search committee is scheduled to meet again before the end of January to review and finalize a short list of candidates. The committee’s work is confidential, so no names have been released. However, university spokesperson Chris Mota wrote in an email that “a recommendation will be ready for the Board of Governors for April 2012 with the candidate to take office, ideally, as of August 1, 2012.” The university hired consultant Laverne Smith & Associates Inc. to pre-interview candidates.

WHY IT MATTERS: Other than being the highest ranking position at the university, the president’s office has seen enough controversy in recent years to deserve a critical eye. Concordia’s previous president, Judith Woodsworth, was dismissed by the Board of Governors in 2010, while her predecessor Claude Lajeunesse left office halfway though his five-year contract due to conflicts with the administration.

A general student strike vote

THE FACTS: The Concordia Student Union plans on continuing where last semester left off, launching a new campaign to protest the Quebec government’s tuition hikes and addressing the possibility of preparing for a vote to strike sometime this semester. While last fall saw some student participation in protests and rallies against tuition fee increases, CSU VP external Chad Walcott said “a student strike could be the next step in a Quebec-wide protest.”Walcott added that before anything can be done, “the movement will have to regain momentum”  lost over the winter break. A demonstration set for March 22 is already in the planning stages and members of the CSU have put together a document outlining tentative plans to be presented at council on Wednesday.

WHY IT MATTERS: Tuition in Quebec is set to raise $325 a year over five years for university undergrads, and whether or not you agree with the increase, it’s ultimately up to students to decide whether Concordia’s undergrads will be going on strike for more than just a day.

A whole lot of general elections

THE FACTS: Break out the posters and in-classroom speeches: Concordia’s student associations will be gearing up for another round of general elections this spring. The Concordia Student Union, the Arts and Science Federation of Associations, and others will all be holding elections to fill their executive positions.

WHY IT MATTERS: Spring general elections should be anything but uncomplicated if last semester’s byelections are anything to go by, between the accusations of electoral violations, mistakes caught at polling stations, and the firing of two separate chief electoral officers. Not to mention the fact that last year’s CSU general elections resulted in the CEO disqualifying both parties, only to have his decision later overturned by the judicial board and CSU council.



Guy-Concordia cockroach problem doesn’t affect university: spokesperson

Despite the underground tunnel connecting Concordia University buildings to Guy-Concordia Metro station, the cockroach infestation discovered last week on the metro platforms is not affecting the campus, according to Concordia spokesperson Chris Mota.

She said the university’s facilities and management department was conducting regular inspections. When asked to see the reports of these inspections, Mota replied that “it was not in [the university’s] practice to share any type of inspection reports, pest control or otherwise.” The Concordian has filed an access to information request for the reports.

An article published last week by Agence QMI pointed out a strong presence of cockroaches at Guy-Concordia Metro station, where passengers have spotted insects on a regular basis at the bottom of walls and stairs along the platforms. In an interview with The Concordian, STM spokesperson Marianne Rouette said the transit authority was aware of the problem as it noticed last summer that Guy-Concordia was one of the “principal sources” of cockroach nests.

“The problem is mainly concentrated near the tracks because of cracks in water pipes and food thrown on the ground by users,” said Rouette. “We have not heard of any spreading beyond the mezzanine, towards restaurants or the tunnel to Concordia, and we have put paste and traps on the footbridge to avoid any chances of propagation.”

RMB Extermination, the pest control company hired by the STM, would not comment on the bugs possibly spreading, saying the information is confidential.

An exterminator working for ABC Pest Control and Extermination told AQMI the problem was likely caused by the metro station food court; several fast-food restaurants, including Treats and Tim Hortons, have locations there. Rouette refuted the argument, saying the problem is mainly due to the water on the tracks and the platforms. A food court employee, who preferred to remain anonymous, concurred.

“I have never seen any cockroaches up here,” she said. “The only thing I know is that last time I was waiting for the metro, an STM agent told me I should lift up my bag because ‘things’ could be on the ground.”

Measures implemented by the STM to fight the infestation include getting the extermination company to intervene in the station once a week instead of once a month and ensuring their employees treat the problem every night. The public transit authority has also been working on fixing the water pipes and moved the garbage bins from the platform level to the mezzanine to avoid having food residues next to the tracks.

“You also have to understand that Montreal is an island and that we are underground,” Rouette concluded. “The results have been good so far but we will never get rid of the problem entirely.”

The university and the STM recommend students avoid putting their bags on the ground and not throw garbage and food on the floor.


CJLO and CUTV gunning for fee levy increases

The futures of Concordia University Television and campus radio station CJLO 1690 AM are in students’ hands this week.

The student-run media outlets are asking for students to approve an increase in their fee levy— the amount of funding they receive from students—to $0.34 per credit, in this week’s Concordia Student Union byelections.

Both CUTV and CJLO are fee levy groups and non-profit organizations which exist separately from the university.

“What fee levy groups do is they provide services that the university either can’t or won’t provide,” said Justin Giovannetti, president of the Concordia Student Broadcasting Corporation. The CSBC oversees the governance of CJLO and CUTV, as well as Concordia’s HAM radio club.

“There’s this entire ecosystem that’s been built around Concordia in fee levy groups,” said Giovannetti.

Sir George Williams campus, meet CJLO
If the fee levy passes, CJLO plans to use the extra funds to expand their sound to a clearer FM frequency.

“Not all of Concordia can actually hear CJLO. With this fee levy we’d actually be able to get onto a small FM signal downtown,” said station manager Stephanie Saretsky.

The frequency would span the Sir George Williams campus east to west from about Atwater Avenue to de la Montagne Street.

The fee levy would help cover the costs of buying and installing the antenna, which according to Giovannetti can range anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 depending on the building it sits on.

“If we get a big prominent building like the MB building, a modern building with a roof that doesn’t need much bracing, you’re looking at a much cheaper antenna,” said Giovannetti, citing the long-term costs of leasing space for the antenna as part of the reasoning why CJLO is asking for sustainable funding in the form of a fee levy increase rather than just taking out a loan.

Available for online listening since 2001 and on-air since 2008, CJLO routinely picks up awards at the CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival College Day Awards in New York City, winning Station of the Year in 2010 and Best Student-Run Non-FM Station in 2008. They were also the only Canadian radio station invited to the International Radio Festival in Zurich, Switzerland this past summer.

“Only three years on-air and we’ve been doing really impressive work,” said Saretsky.

With the increased fee levy, she says the station hopes to reduce the amount of on-air advertising and set the groundwork for large-scale fundraising drives.

CUTV in your home
CUTV is looking to expand its content too—in its case, to cable TV.

Broadcasting on Vox, a public access channel owned by Videotron, is just one of several goals that CUTV outlined for itself in a strategic plan drafted last year and that the fee levy increase will be going towards.

“Space and infrastructure are the two biggest things that are holding us down right now,” said station manager Laura Kneale, explaining that the older building on Mackay where CUTV is located is not able to handle their electrical needs.

On campus in various forms since 1969, CUTV currently produces six different shows, while providing equipment and training to anyone interested in film. According to Kneale, approximately 400 students used their services in the last year and a half.

The station also live streams CSU council meetings online, a service which Kneale says they hope to extend to the university as a whole.

“There’s a need at the university for better meeting and conference rooms,” she said, describing “a room that would be a multi-purpose room for meetings, for press conferences, that would be fully equipped with the means to either project or fully live stream” as a potential solution to this problem and “a big investment in the long run for Concordia.”


Who wants to be a CEO?

The Arts and Science Federation of Associations is searching for candidates to act as chief electoral officer in their next general election, but the controversy surrounding the resignation of their previous CEO has left students feeling hesitant to step up to the plate.
ASFA VP internal Schubert Laforest indicated at last Thursday’s council meeting that it has been “very difficult” to entice people to apply for the position in the wake of ASFA’s Oct. 12 and 13 byelections in which then-CEO Marvin Cidamon was found to have committed several electoral violations. Ballots were then required to be recounted in order to verify who won the elections and Cidamon ultimately resigned.
“I think that might have turned off a lot of people,” said Laforest, who is urgently trying to find a new CEO to avoid a repeat of these “technical hiccups” and begin planning for ASFA’s general elections, which are tentatively set for next February.
Laforest has so far received one response to the job opening. However, the potential candidate in question decided to drop out and not apply for the position just before the council meeting.
Cidamon’s election report, presented at council by Laforest, listed the overall cost of the October byelections as $4,477. According to this report, Cidamon himself received a docked pay of $350 for his services as CEO, though some council members expressed concerns over whether the former CEO received any money at all considering the violations.
“Originally the number was going to be $250,” said ASFA president Alex Gordon, describing the $350 as “a middle ground” decided upon by the financial committee. “It’s less than minimum wage.”
According to Gordon, the committee took into account the amount of work that Cidamon put into organizing the byelections, coupled with the fact that the hour-to-work ratio for the position is less than minimum wage.
“Regardless of what happened, we still should recognize that he did get the election done at the end of the day,” said VP finance Laura Gomez.

Not all students took to the streets

There was no line at the Tim Hortons in the Hall building. There were three people to an elevator in the MB. Something was missing at Concordia on Nov. 10, and their absence did not go unnoticed.
Nov. 10 marked the student “Day of Action” organized to show disagreement with rising tuition fees in Quebec. Concordia students took to the streets in protest Thursday, marching in solidarity with students from other Quebec CEGEPs and universities.
Despite the overwhelming support displayed for the strike by the Arts and Science Federation of Associations and Graduate Students’ Association at a joint meeting in the week leading up to the rally, some Concordia students did not share their peers’ enthusiasm.
“I do believe in unions and free speech. I just think it goes against the idea of education that people chose to skip class in protest,” said Fabrizio Pantalone, an undergraduate linguistics student.
Pantalone feels that the ad campaigns launched by various student groups intentionally exaggerated facts to suit their message. “I don’t approve of some of the misinformation being used. The posters saying that Charest paid $500 for university, that’s just not true,” he said, pointing out that in order for that argument to be valid, proper allowances have to be made for inflation.
He said the student activists are using “sensationalist tactics,” and that if they wish to draw more people to their cause, they should do so by being realistic.
A business student, who wished only to be identified as Veronica, feels that some of her classmates don’t realize how good they have it.
“I think we pay the lowest tuition in Canada. I think [the strike is] a little unnecessary. I’m against it,” she said. Veronica said she pays for her own schooling and that she feels that “education is an investment.”
While some students were clearly opposed to the strike, others were unable to miss class. Vinh Ha, a student in Concordia’s accounting program, said he would have liked to attend the strike but couldn’t afford to skip class. “I have a deadline,” he said. He made it clear that he didn’t see the professor being lenient on students who were absent.
Despite Provost David Graham’s recommendation that professors be understanding of students who chose to protest, many students still felt it was not an option for them to miss the time.
“[My professor]’s going to teach anyway and I don’t want to have to catch up,” said Melanie Chabot, a business student.
Eugene Kritchevski, an assistant professor of mathematics, said that he doesn’t expect the protest will produce results. “I don’t think the strike will do anything. If students really want to force change they should refuse to pay their fees,” he said.

Former councillor appeals JB decision to invalidate CEO’s appointment

Former Concordia Student Union councillor Tomer Shavit has filed an appeal with the judicial board after it ruled to invalidate the appointment of chief electoral officer Bram Goldstein.
In the 3,800 word, 16-page document, filed on the appeal deadline of Nov. 11, Shavit calls for the JB to reconsider their decision on the basis of 10 arguments. Shavit elaborated on the arguments in the first section of the appeal. He criticized JB chair Cassie Smith for her decision to use the ‘‘fast-track procedure’’ to handle the decision. He also pointed to what he sees as a lack of understanding of the appointments process and lack of impartiality at the hearing on Nov.1.
Shavit wrote that he felt JB member Ceejay Desfosses acted towards him in a hostile manner at the hearing. He also alleged that there was evidence submitted that was not available to him prior to the hearing.
At the hearing, Shavit represented last year’s CSU council, which was responsible for hiring Goldstein in May. The former councillor asked that the judicial board re-evaluate its decision and re-appoint Bram Goldstein. He also requested the board consider having a new hearing, stress impartiality to its members, and for Desfosses to recuse herself from further proceedings on this dossier.
The written JB report stated that “the resolution that appointed [Goldstein] was invalidated on the basis that the appointments process was not conducted properly.”
Meanwhile, Smith sent her letter of resignation to council on Thursday. Smith wrote that poor health and being behind in her schoolwork were factors in her decision to resign, adding that she was unwilling to ‘‘sacrifice [her] full commitment to the position.’’ She also noted her illness is ‘‘exacerbated by stress,’’ and that it was not worth it for her to remain involved in the process, which she called a ‘‘toxic environment.’’
Smith recommended Desfosses step in as chairperson.
In a special council meeting held the day after the hearing, council appointed Ismail Holoubi as the new CEO after reviewing 10 candidates in closed session.

Testy emails exchanged over nullification of CEO’s appointment

Discontent over the judicial board’s decision to nullify chief electoral officer Bram Goldstein’s appointment spilled over into a back-and-forth email exchange on Sunday and Monday.
Tomer Shavit, a CSU councillor last year and defendant for last year’s council at the JB hearing that took place on Nov. 1, initially sent out an email whose subject line read “Regarding cancelling the council meeting” to express his disappointment over the potential cancellation of the council meeting set to take place on Nov. 9.
President Lex Gill had previously sent out an internal email to councillors to ask them whether they would have any concerns about cancelling Wednesday’s meeting. By Sunday evening, Gill had decided against cancelling the meeting and sent out notice of the meeting by email.
Shavit’s mass email garnered several replies, both positive and negative, from council members, as well as from Gill.
“The CSU Council, executive, board members and senators do not have publicly available email addresses so that you can send rude, abusive, or irrelevant commentary,” Gill wrote in reply.
Gill noted that other methods would be better suited to express his views. She added, “To whatever councillor continues to forward internal emails to outside actors, please note that a number of representatives have now expressed significant concern to me regarding this, and I recommend that you reflect on your duties and responsibilities as a director of this corporation.”
In an interview, Gill specified that she “[doesn’t] really have a problem with any member seeing those emails — no one really cares — the problem is that person is doing it anonymously, and if they were acting in good faith then they wouldn’t do it anonymously.”
Shavit explained in an email his reasoning behind using the mailing list as a means to express his discontent. “The use of the listserv started because Morgan [Pudwell, CSU VP advocacy and outreach] used it to send ‘confidential’ emails to council regarding the firing of the CEO,” Shavit wrote in an email to The Concordian.
When asked how he had knowledge of the contents of the emails, Shavit wrote, “I became privy to these emails because I have my sources.”



CSU calls CEO into question

The Concordia Student Union council has filed an official complaint with the judicial board regarding the legitimacy of the process by which chief electoral officer Bram Goldstein was hired last May.
As a result of council’s motion passed at last Wednesday’s meeting, byelections have been pushed back by one week and will now be held from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1. A tentative hiring process has been reopened on the off chance that the JB’s decision leaves the CSU without a CEO just weeks before polling booths open.
“I feel like I was totally sandbagged,” said current CEO Bram Goldstein at the council meeting. He said he was only made aware that his position was being questioned after he was called into a separate meeting at 5 p.m. that same day. Goldstein’s requests to remain in the room during council’s deliberations were denied.
Councillors discussed the matter in closed session for well over an hour, occasionally leaving the room for cigarettes and bathroom breaks. The motion passed with opposition by three council members and an official complaint was sent to the JB via email by VP advocacy and outreach Morgan Pudwell the following day.
At their meeting on Friday morning, the board decided to change the format of their Nov. 1 meeting to a hearing, a decision which JB chair Cassie Smith said was made “to allow Mr. Goldstein an opportunity to speak, since one of the remedies requested in the complaint is his dismissal.” In the event that the board rules to fire Goldstein, bylaws require that the CEO be given an “opportunity to be heard” before being dismissed.
Addressing council immediately after the motion had passed, Goldstein expressed his frustrations with the fact that he is now required to reorganize the elections for the new date while his position as CEO remains uncertain.
“If you guys want to reopen the hiring process and hire someone else who’s going to put together a shoddy election in three weeks, good luck with that,” he said.
Student union president Lex Gill stressed in an interview that the CSU’s complaint lies not with Goldstein himself, but with the procedures by which the previous CSU council hired him.
“We know that there were seven applicants for the position and only three of them showed up for interviews,” said Gill, finding it “suspicious” that there were only records of two of those candidates getting emails asking them to come to council for interviews.
This, coupled with a lack of minutes or records of an appointments committee meeting, a mandatory part of the hiring process which never took place, and uncertainties as to whether or not former CEO Oliver Cohen had officially resigned at the time of Goldstein’s hiring, was why the council decided to bring the matter to the JB. Cohen could not be reached for comment by press time.
Gill explained that she and fellow executive Morgan Pudwell had received permission from council while in closed session at their last meeting to look further into the issue. She said they didn’t want people contesting the election results, as any suspicions regarding the validity of the CEO could result in the election being deemed invalid.
“If anybody at the CSU is going to get hired with integrity and with an accountable system and with a clear transparent process by which they were hired, you hope to God it’s the chief electoral officer,” said Gill.
Last year’s CSU council is also inextricably involved in the controversy. Former 2010-2011 CSU president Heather Lucas defended the decision to hire Goldstein in an email to the JB which heavily criticized Gill for, as she later explained in an interview, “disregarding the will of last year’s council’s decision to democratically appoint Bram.”
“It is saddening that Ms. Gill would stoop so low into petty politics,” Lucas wrote in her letter, referring to the council’s decision to bring the issue to the JB as “part of a strategic agenda that is being pushed to unjustly fire Mr. Goldstein on alleged technicalities.”
The letter itself was accompanied by two screenshots of emails exchanged between Lucas and the appointments committee, in which she decides to bypass holding a meeting due to a lack of availability from committee members and instead asks each person to suggest their top three candidates for the CEO position via email.
Gill, as a member of the previous CSU council, voted against hiring Goldstein as CEO along with fellow councillor Melanie Hotchkiss. According to Gill, both were unimpressed with the three candidates that were ultimately interviewed by council, and felt that the entire process was being rushed. She says that Lucas’ email serves as further proof that hiring procedures were not followed.
“She admits that an appointments committee meeting never took place, which is exactly the issue that was brought up in our contestation,” said Gill, also stating that Lucas “irresponsibly” violated the confidentiality of closed session by disclosing in her email that Gill voted against Goldstein.
“I think what Heather’s trying to do is turn this into some political issue, when really what it is is procedural,” Gill said in response to Lucas’ allegations. “It’s really easy to paint a conspiracy when the fact is it’s her own negligence, if anything, that’s created this problem.”
Former CSU councillor Tomer Shavit will act as defense for the CSU council of 2010-2011 at tonight’s hearing.
JB member Nadim Kobeissi has requested not to be involved in the proceedings as he was one of the seven candidates who had applied for the position of CEO in May.

The JB hearing takes place on Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. in the CSU conference room.


New bursary helps struggling students learn French

Out-of-province and international students struggling with French are greeting with open arms a university initiative to support students in their endeavours to improve their language skills.

Concordia University has developed a new bursary which is part of the Oui Can Help program to support students who wish to live in Quebec after their studies by improving their French language skills.

“I think the bursary is a great idea. It’s almost like saying thank you to students who take the time to learn French,” out-of-province student Leah Batstone said.

Batstone recently applied for a job and got cut off halfway through the interview because she couldn’t answer in French.
Out-of-province student Hilary Sinclair agreed. “I think the program is really important because it encourages students to learn the basic French skills that all Canadians should have,” she said.

“It sends the message that the university recognizes the effort it takes to learn a new language and is giving a great incentive to do so.”

The program will connect Concordia students with French-language resources at Concordia and in Montreal, with the aim of increasing their chances of attaining a part-time and full-time job in the city.

“Each winner will receive one bursary valued at $500 which will be paid directly to their student account at the university,” said university spokesperson Chris Mota. There are 100 bursaries up for grabs.

The bursaries are available to international and out-of-province students who are in good academic standing. These students must enroll in specific courses given by the university’s French department.

The program was founded through a financial contribution from the Quebec provincial government. The Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sports is financing the bursaries through contributions from the Canada-Quebec Agreement for Minority-Language Education and Second-Language Instruction.

An Open to Question session on the topic takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 12 p.m. in EV 3.309.

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