While on break…From Interim Presidents to Climate Clocks to the Hall building

A five-year term for Graham Carr 

On Dec. 12, Interim President Graham Carr was officially appointed President and Vice-Chancellor of Concordia. Earlier in July, Carr succeeded Alan Shepard after he stepped down from a seven-year mandate.

“Concordia is a young, forward-looking university. It’s a unique place where experimentation, innovation and creativity are truly valued,” Carr said, in a press release. “Our community of students, faculty, staff and alumni all contribute to our momentum as Canada’s next-gen university. As president, I plan to continue broadening that circle, pursuing collaborations with industry, government and community stakeholders to further demonstrate how Concordia makes a positive difference for the people and economies of Canada and the world.”

Carr emerged from an international search process as Concordia’s Board of Governors’ top choice, according to Board Chair Norman Hébert Jr, saying it was a bonus that Carr used to teach at Concordia. Carr joined the university in 1983 in the Department of History.

“He brings that knowledge and those existing ties as well as his constant drive, imagination and curiosity to the position,” Hébert said in the press release.

The five-year contract is effective starting now.

Closure of Henry F. H. Building’s sixth floor 

Renovations in the Hall building will be taking place throughout the year, and are expected to end by 2021. The university is looking to improve the environment of the Hall building’s sixth floor. The transformation is meant to provide greater collaborative workspaces and lighting, according to Concordia’s website.

One of the major transformations will be to supply the entire floor with inclusive, gender-neutral bathrooms. The facilities, which haven’t been updated since 1966, will now be equipped with floor-to-ceiling stalls.

Facilities Management, who is responsible for planning, designing and developing a safe working environment for students, consulted all those who actively use the sixth floor to ensure the needs of everyone were being respected.

Information about the relocation of student groups’ offices is available on the university’s website.

Updating the Climate Clock Project 

The Concordia real-time measurement countdown until we surpass the 1.5-degree Celsius temperature limit set by the Paris Agreement was updated for the fifth time since its creation in 2015.

The clock is meant to be a visual representation of the time left before the climate crisis becomes seriously threatening.

“We feel that the clock is able to communicate the urgency of action in a way that people understand and can relate to,” said Damon Matthews in an interview with Concordia News. Matthews is a professor in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment and one of the project creators, alongside musician David Usher.

While reports of the CO2 emissions for 2019 won’t be released until later this year, various scientific magazines such as Scientific American are already reporting that they will likely be higher than expected. This year, the Climate Clock Project projected that the time left was 12 years, while last year’s update predicted that we would hit the 1.5-degree mark by 2034, according to the project’s website.

You can check the Climate Clock Project updates on the university’s website.


Graphic by @sundaeghosts


Hall building evacuated due to a power outage

Power was cut while Hydro-Québec repaired a gas leak on the corner of Atwater and René Lévesque

Concordia’s Hall building was evacuated this afternoon due to a power outage.

Students and staff were evacuated around 1:20 p.m. Only the Hall building was evacuated.

The power was cut so Hydro-Québec could repair a gas leak on the corner of Atwater and René Levesque, reported the CBC. According to the same source, a valve was hit on a 16-inch metal pipe at the intersection. The fire department shut off power to the area as a safety precaution while workers repaired the leak.

University spokesperson Chris Mota said Concordia’s other buildings remained open because they are not part of the same power grid.

The university did not want to re-open buildings too early in case there was a delay. ”We didn’t know how long it was going to take, so we decided to give ourselves a little cushion,” Mota said.

“If the power is off for 20 minutes or half an hour, that’s one thing. But eventually it gets complicated and uncomfortable, and you don’t want people to be in [Hall],” Mota said. She said she felt the evacuation ran smoothly.
The power came back on at 4 p.m., according to the CBC. Classes and activities in the Hall building resumed at 5 p.m., according to Concordia News.


Reggies welcomes the new semester in as a solidarity cooperative

Reggies now offers a revamped menu and prompts a safer space policy

Your favourite student bar has opened its doors as a newly-formed solidarity cooperative for the Fall semester as of Aug. 8. Along with becoming a Concordia co-op, Reggies has released a new menu and a membership service.

Adrian Longinotti, the president of Reggies and CSU Finance Coordinator said since opening Reggies last year for the first time following renovations, it was very successful financially and took back its title as the campus bar.

Longinotti said due to Reggies’ success since re-opening last year, he felt that turning it into a co-op would improve the experience for students and customers.

Turning Reggies into a cooperative will allow students the chance to be more involved on the input and future of the student bar, said Longinetti. “We want to keep that non-profit philosophy—we want to give back more and reinvest that into enhancing the Reggies experience.”

By becoming a cooperative Reggies now has a membership system. “We subsidize $5 of the $10 membership,” said Longinotti, which results in customers only having to pay $5 for a membership. “[With a membership] you get a 10 per cent discount on all food items—even on specials.”

Longinotti said the most important thing about obtaining a membership for Reggies is that members are considered part-owners of the co-op—they have a share in the organization. Members are given voting rights, allowing them to be a part of the decision-making process, said Longinotti. He said the first general meeting for Reggies will be held in November, with the exact date yet to be decided. He encourages members to attend so they can be involved and contribute to the future of Concordia’s student bar.

“We have implemented and adopted a safer space policy,” said Longinotti. In order for events to be hosted, he said, those who are booking the event must sign a mandatory document to ensure that those are booking the event acknowledge and maintain Reggies as a safe space.

The Concordian referenced an article to Longinotti published last March. The article discussed accusations of sexual harassment and statements made about some students recognized at the bar who had been known to some people for spiking drinks with GHB, also known as the date rape drug.

“It’s a new year, there’s a lot of potential for this place,” said Justin McLennen the bartender at Reggies. He commented on the safer space policy stating, “it’s a plus, it’s a positive sign. It will help people feel welcome.”

We asked Longinotti how he plans to ensure Reggies will be a safe space outside of hosted events. “We have hired more security,” said Longinotti. “The training for the staff also makes them have the knowledge and foundation of how to intervene and prevent something like this from happening.”

Longinetti said he is confident the training of the employees, more security and the safer space policy will ensure that Reggies does remain a safe space at Concordia.

“There are always going to be these things that might happen in a bar environment,” he said. “The most important thing is that we do everything in our power to try and prevent something like this from happening.”

Reggies is open to students and the public from 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays and open from 12:00 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Friday.


Massive overhaul of escalators costs millions

Photo by Madelayne Hajek

Concordia University spent roughly $15 million on a project that began in December of 2010 in order to replace the escalators in the Henry F. Hall building including the surrounding architecture as well as the lobby escalators and stairs.

While the project managed to stay approximately $500,000 under budget, repairs are still not complete. The escalators, according to the Georgian Archives, have been breaking down frequently since 1969 and have caused many inconveniences for Concordia students.

“They’re [finicky] at best and there always seems to be at least two broken down,” said 19-year-old Concordia student, Christian Holloway. “I understand that they’re heavily used, but after all the construction on them, it’s become a persistent inconvenience.”

However, university spokesperson Chris Mota points out that these repairs are vital.

“It’s an important project and a major infrastructure upgrade,” said Mota. “It’s something the university has wanted to do for a very long time.”

Documents obtained by The Concordian through an access to information request report that in addition to the $15 million spent on the replacement of the escalators and surrounding architecture, the school has spent roughly $54,046 per year on repairs done by internal employees over the past 12 years, from 2000 to 2012. In addition, the university also spent $35,000 on repairs from external providers and expensed $89,000 towards the cost of employees and providers alone.

From 2005 to 2012, a total of $456,720 has gone toward blanket orders for escalator repairs from service providers. These are orders made between the university and specialized repair experts, who provide specialized services.

As of April 2011, the price of these service providers increased to $87,360 annually from the previous expense of $56,400 per year.

These figures account solely for the escalators in the Hall Building. Although escalators are still frequently shutting down, Mota states that this is just last minute tweaking that needs to be done and it will not affect the project’s budget.

“Millions of dollars are being spent and they keep telling us it’s the end of it, yet nothing seems to change,” said second-year psychology student Elizabeth Duong. “It seems like there needs to be more initiative to make a final game plan, we can’t keep filtering money into this forever.”

However, these management concerns are nothing new.

“It’s disappointing that there are millions of dollars being spent on the aesthetics of the university,” said Concordia Student Union Councillor Paul Jerajian. “Especially at a time where academics are having more and more financial difficulty.”

With repairs occurring so frequently, students are expressing concern that these costly projects will continue to be a problem for years to come.

Jane Ellen Wolno, a Concordia alumna is shocked by the school’s inability to complete the project.

“They were broken when I was studying there too,” said Wolno. “That was 25 years ago.”


ConU under construction

Photo by Marilla Steuter-Martin.

A sea of yellow caution tape and electrical wiring is what Concordia University students will see on their first official day of classes on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

The Henry F. Hall building is undergoing renovations inside and massive construction outside. All through the summer months, ongoing roadwork on De Maisonneuve Blvd. has blocked the main entrance to the building.

According to University spokesperson Chris Mota, the main entrance is expected to reopen on Thursday, Sept. 6 but this will only be accessible through a fenced-off section from Mackay St.

The city of Montreal is revamping De Maisonneuve Blvd. between Bishop St. and St-Mathieu St. by repaving the road, installing a bike path, adding green space and extending the sidewalk.

Allison Savage, a first-year undergraduate student at Concordia, decided to tour the downtown campus early so she could find her way around come the first day of school. When she arrived on campus, Savage said she was unsure of where to go because of the renovations inside and outside of the Hall building.

“I was 10 times more confused because of the construction,” she explained. “I found it very inconvenient.”
Savage went on to say that the first week of the semester might be difficult for first years taking classes in the Hall building specifically due to repairs.

“If new students are unfamiliar with how to get around in the first place, they will be confused because of construction,” said Savage.

On the other hand, the university administration insists it has a plan to ensure that the first week goes smoothly despite the construction. The university expects the repaving between Guy St. and St-Mathieu St. to be done in time for the first day of classes, while the portion between Bishop St. and Mackay St. is expected to be completed in late September.

The university is co-ordinating with the police to help direct traffic and pedestrians from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Dean of Students office plans to have a group of students in yellow shirts acting as greeters outside the Hall building and the J.W. McConnell Library building to guide new and returning students to their classes.

The university shuttle bus that runs between the two campuses will stop at the corner of Mackay and Ste-Catherine until construction is completed.

Photo by Marilla Steuter-Martin

Regarding the inside of the Hall building, renovations on the escalators which began last semester are still ongoing.

Although the escalators from the mezzanine to fifth floor are functional, new escalators need to be installed from the fifth to seventh floors. The new escalators are slated for completion sometime in December. Escalators between the seventh and 12th floors are also operational.

The dysfunctional escalators are a continual source of disruption and frustration for many students, including Caelie Smith, an urban planning student who has courses in the upper floors of the Hall building.

“I usually have classes on the renovated floors,” said Smith. “But the rest of the building is a disaster.”
Since 1998, the Hall building has undergone several changes to modernize the deteriorating structure. According to Martine Lehoux, the university’s director of facilities planning and development, floors can only be refurbished when they are not in use.

In 2003, science departments were moved to the Richard J. Renaud Science Pavillion on the Loyola campus and the eighth, 11th and 12th floors were redone. In 2005, the western section of the seventh floor was renovated following the move of the department of applied human sciences to Loyola.

The university has plans to renovate the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh floors of the Hall building from 2014 to 2015 depending upon funding approval.


Hall building escalators should be fully functional by September

Renovations are in the works at the Henry F. Hall building and escaltors are expected to be up and running by September. Photo by Navneet Pall.

The Henry F. Hall building is slated to be renovated and upgraded over the next few years, but the process is complex.
The dysfunctional escalators between the mezzanine and fifth floor are a continual source of frustration for Concordia students. The estimated completion date of the current renovations for the escalators between the lobby and fifth floor is September 2012, according to university spokesperson Chris Mota.
Timothy Lazier, a history and English specialization student, remarked that “how students see the building depends on what floor they are on and if they can actually get to it.”
Lazier said that he’s had classes scattered throughout the Hall building and noticed the difference on the newly redone floors.
“Up to the seventh floor, it’s really ugly but I have a bunch of classes on the renovated floors and they’re nice,” said Lazier. “It feels like you’re in a different building.”
The interior and exterior of the 12-floor, cube-shaped building is gradually deteriorating due to time, weather and general use. In 1998, the university started renovations to improve the overall state of the Hall building, but students like Cleo Donnelly are not impressed with the current structure. “I get that it’s old but there’s nothing overly special about it. They should just tear it
down and build a new one,” she said.
According to Martine Lehoux, the university’s director of facilities planning and development, Concordia will refurbish the untouched floors in the near future, but it can only be done when the floors are not occupied.
This explains why certain floors of the Hall building were revamped in the last decade while others have yet to undergo major repairs.
When they were once occupied by various science departments, the eighth, eleventh and twelfth floors were renovated when the Richard J. Renaud Science Pavillon at the Loyola campus opened in 2003. The western section of 7th floor was upgraded after the department of applied human sciences moved to the Loyola campus in 2005.
The escalators between the sixth and seventh floors have been working since last Thursday, according to Mota.
The university is scheduled to improve the amphitheatre on the ninth floor this summer and during 2013, upgrades are planned for the amphitheatre on the first floor and the western portion of the basement that belongs to the engineering department.
Projects awaiting funding approval include renovations for the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh floors of the Hall building for 2014 to 2015.

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