Pro-Palestinian students blame mainstream media for biased coverage in Israel-Hamas war

Montreal students demand an end to unfair media coverage.

As the Israel-Hamas war continues to create polarized tensions, students in Montreal accuse the media of biased coverage and creating mistrust.

At a pro-Palestian march on Nov. 9, protesters directly targeted Radio Canada, TVA and CTV, all of whom were present. The protesters yelled: “Every time the media lies, neighborhoods in Gaza die. Shame on you!”

At the demonstration, a young woman half-masked by a red keffiyeh was surrounded by individuals holding “Jews say ceasefire now” and “Ending the genocide of the Palestinian people” signs, when she took the megaphone to denounce TVA Nouvelles. 

“They [TVA] said there were only Arabo-muslims yesterday,” she added, referring to the incident at Concordia the previous day. “Can I hear all the other nationalities and religions here?” The crowd replied: “Yes!”

The march occurred a day after the incident at Concordia’s Hall Building on Nov. 8. The aftermath of the incident caused tensions to rise on campus, as various media outlets attempted to accurately recount the beginning of the conflict through interviews.

The Concordia pro-Israel club StartUp Nation called out CBC’s latest article, promising to “release the truth about yesterday’s horrific events on Concordia campus.” 

According to a statement given to CBC, “Pro-Israel people came barging in and began screaming anti-Palestinian slogans and slurs at them.” This statement was denied by StartUp Nation. The group has since then published videos of the escalation on Instagram that contradict the statement given to the CBC.

During the protest, The Concordian spoke to various students from neighboring universities, to get their thoughts on the media coverage of events that ocurred over the past few days.

Karim, a UQAM student, deplored the polarizing angle of Canadian media stories. “The media are trying to show some sort of consent that Israel is right to do what they’re doing,” Karim said. “But people don’t believe them anymore. The information intensely flows through social media.”

Luz Montero, a UQAM student, held a painted portrait of Netanyahu with the word “infanticide” sprayed around his head. Montero said she stopped following mainstream media, instead getting information through alternative media. “The last thing I saw from CNN, I was like, ‘Oh my God, come on… Stop!,’” Montero said. “We are not ignorant, we know what’s happening there.”

David Derland-Beaupré, a Concordia student and member of La Riposte Socialiste, recounted challenging a Radio-Canada reporter about their support for either the pro- or anti-Israeli. “Where you don’t take sides, you take the side of those who oppress,” he told them. “So you have to expect that people don’t trust you anymore.”

Tara, a member of the Independent Jewish Voices at McGill, weighed in on the Nov. 8  incident at Concordia’s Hall building. “It’s really a horrific show of what divisive rhetoric can do, especially from university administrations that have a duty of care to protect all of their students rather than just a certain cohort,” Tara expressed. 

While Thursday’s protest was unfolding, the Canadian Jewish Advocacy (CJA) federation held a press conference to express safety concerns following two Jewish school gunshots that occurred overnight.

Yair Szlak, CEO of CJA, said that the pro-Palestinian protest was “salt in the wounds” of the Jewish community, as the demonstration was scheduled on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, a Nazi assault against the Jews in 1938. “The poster that [the pro-Palestinian protesters] use shows the breaking of glass,” Szlak said. “‘Kristallnacht’ means the night of broken glass,” which represents antisemitism for the Jewish community.

During a press conference on Nov. 8, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed that Canada is indeed facing a rise in antisemitism, which instills fear in Canadians across the country.  

“We need to make sure that Canadians are doing what we do best, which is listening to our neighbors, understanding and acknowledging our neighbors’ pain, even though it may be diametrically opposed in its cause, to the same pain that we are feeling.”

Student Life

The rebranding of history

“Blackout” questions how much has changed since 1969

Between Jan. 29 and Feb. 11 1969, about 200 students occupied the ninth floor computer centre of then Sir George Williams University to protest the administration’s mishandling of racism complaints. In nearly all media coverage of the occupation and its aftermath, you’ll read about the $2 million of damage and a mysterious fire, which was all blamed on the students. But you’ll have to do a bit of digging before you come across any information about the nine months these students spent trying to get various professors, student representatives and the administration to legitimately consider their complaints.

Blackout: the Concordia Computer Riots interweaves the coming together of six students who only wanted to be graded justly, the administration’s inexcusable negligence towards their complaints, and how a simple bureaucratic request revealed multiple layers of systemic prejudice. “Whenever there is a question of authority, everyone is involved, and the response [to that scrutiny] can reveal a lot about their motives,” said Tamara Brown, assistant director and part of the writing unit. “An adequate response would have been, ‘Let’s examine this fairly,’ but that didn’t happen, which says a lot.”

About 14 months ago Mathieu Murphy-Perron, owner of the production company Tableau D’Hote Theatre, gathered a handful of talented artists and performers to begin researching and writing what became Blackout. Through the perfect marriage of music, spoken word and creative lighting, Blackout creates a critically immersive, yet unapologetically political view of one of the largest student occupations in Canadian history.

The performing cast of Blackout came out for a second time to bow in front of a standing ovation on opening night. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

The initial six students—played by Briauna James, Gita Miller, Shauna Thompson, Kym Dominique-Ferguson, Michelle Rambharose, and Sophie-Thérèse Stone-Richards—are all introduced while sitting together, sharing stories of frustration over the grades they’re receiving in a biology class.

Exploring the months that led up to the occupation is extremely important, considering that most media coverage downplays the more than a dozen complaints against this one biology professor. As their frustration grows, the six students ask their white friend, played by Lucinda Davis, to swap papers with one of them, played by Thompson, to see if the grades changed. Davis received a 90 on her paper, while Thompson received a 68, and this process was repeated with about six different students, garnering the same result each time.

Blackout shines a light on the story’s details, such as those mentioned above, that are predominantly left out of any mainstream coverage of the protest. What makes Blackout particularly unique is the interaction between the audience and performers in real time. By switching from dark, artistic lighting to completely illuminating the stage, the cast breaks the fourth wall throughout the play, occasionally speaking directly to the audience and asking them to further critically engage with the information they’ve presented.

“Can we take a moment to talk about this fire?” said Davis to the audience. “The fact that, even now, 50 years later, history would have it that it was the students who started it?” A mixture of approval-snapping and mhmm’s rose from the audience in response. “Yeah, that is some serious retcon-ing [retroactive continuity] shit right there,” said Dakota Jamal Wellman, one of the performers. The pair go on to logically unpack the students’ precarious situation of being barricaded inside the location where the fire was started, asking the rhetorical question of why anyone would start a fire in a place they cannot escape efficiently. Wellman continues by telling the audience how students had to use an axe to chop down a door in order to escape the flames; a door that was locked from the outside. “And they would have you believe that it was the students who started a motherfucking fire?” said Davis.

The seamless oscillation between engaging the audience as performers and as the students they played allows viewers to both humanize the students and their experiences, while also reminding audiences that they will never truly understand the alienation the students must have felt. While now, the protest is largely praised for resisting top-down power dynamics, at the time, “[the students] didn’t have support from the population, or from the media or from society,” said Lydia Dubuisson, part of the writing unit for Blackout. The politically charged play raises many important questions: whose side of history are you on? Why did it take so much to ask for so little? Why was property valued over humanity? After almost two hours of highlighting how much history was rebranded by the university’s administration, attendees leave already knowing the answer to these questions.

About 14 months after the protests-turned-riot, the very theatre Blackout performed in was named after the university’s president throughout the occupation: D.B. Clarke. In 1974, only 5 years after the occupation, Sir George Williams University and Loyola College merged to become Concordia University.

Blackout will have shows every evening until Feb. 9th at 8 p.m. with the final show at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10th.

Feature photo by Alex Hutchins


Night protesters are back

Photo by writer

Students took to the streets of downtown Montreal last Tuesday in the first night protest since last spring to denounce a planned indexation of tuition fees by the provincial government.

According to the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal, 72 people were detained during the course of the night. The SPVM ticketed 62 protesters for unlawful assembly while the remaining 10 were arrested during clashes police officers.

Several thousand students were protesting increases that will see tuition rise by three per cent a year. The proposal was brought forth during the summit on higher education hosted by the provincial government in late February. As part of their election platform, the Parti Québécois were adamant on addressing unresolved issues from last year’s tumultuous spring where students condemned former Premier Jean Charest’s tuition increase of $1,625 spread out over five years.

In a statement on Wednesday, Premier Pauline Marois urged people to stay calm.

“I believe what we proposed is reasonable and I hope it will be seen that way,” she said. “In the meantime, I’m inviting everyone to remain calm.”

The protest kicked off from Place Émilie-Gamelin around 8 p.m. and was declared illegal as soon as demonstrators started marching. The SPVM agreed to allow the protest to continue if it remained peaceful but intervened just over two hours later.

Cries of “À qui la rue? À nous la rue!” echoed through downtown alongside the occasional blast of fireworks as protesters followed a banner bearing the words “social peace is behind us,” while helicopters followed overhead.

At around 10:15 p.m., windows of the Sheraton Centre on de Maisonneuve Blvd. and glass at several banks were smashed with pieces of concrete. Protesters ran as police officers split the group in two on Viger St. just outside the Palais des Congrès. Police charged the large crowd and used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters.

Several hundred protesters made their way back to Place Émilie-Gamelin where clashes with police continued. After 45 minutes of a cat-and-mouse game, the SPVM detained the remaining 62 protesters who refused to leave the corner of Beaudry and Ste-Catherine Sts.

One student was hospitalized after being injured by a stun grenade and one officer was also treated for minor injuries to his eye after a firework reportedly hit him in the face.

Some are arguing that Montreal police targeted people indiscriminately.

Frederic Bourgault, 24, was detained by police after he went to retrieve his bicycle on his way home after the protest was over and received a $625 fine.

“What they did was unjustifiable as none of us were dangerous,” said Bourgault. “Everyone I was with was going home.”
Bourgault claims that officers threw his bike on the ground before handcuffing him.

“I didn’t do anything wrong but I was treated terribly.”

A similar protest in Quebec City last Thursday lasted just several minutes and resulted in three arrests. More night demonstrations are planned throughout the month of March in Montreal, including a protest this Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Place Émilie-Gamelin.


Red square movement marks five months of protest

Thousands of people flooded the streets of downtown Montreal on Friday June 22 to protest the tuition increase and the actions of the government as the movement heads into its fifth month.

In keeping with the tradition of holding large protests on the 22 of each month (read more about the March and May demos), organizers planned simultaneous demonstrations Friday afternoon in both Quebec City and Montreal. The protest ended around 5:30 p.m. with one arrest made by the Montreal Police. In compliance with Bill 78, an itinerary was provided beforehand.

Protesters gathered at Place du Canada in the blistering heat before marching west on René-Lévesque around 2 p.m. Student leaders stood on top of a trailer, rallying support against the planned tuition increase, the controversial Bill 78, and encouraging those gathered to mobilize against the provincial government by campaigning.

The demonstration was largely festive and peaceful as it moved through the streets of the downtown core despite the message of social discontent. Concordia University student Gabrielle Turcotte told The Concordian that she attended the protest in hopes of inspiring change for the future.

“I would like to see a government that understands that protesters care about others and the future of the province more than themselves,” explained Turcotte.

Turcotte added that although she’s disappointed to see the protests becoming smaller, one could argue it’s out of frustration and exhaustion as the Quebec student movement is hitting the fifth month mark.

The number of people participating in nightly demonstrations has dwindled noticeably following violent clashes between protesters and the Montreal police during the Formula One Grand Prix weekend.

“There has been far too much self-serving in politics, in journalism, in promotion, and in people’s attitudes in our lives,” Turcotte said. “It needs to change.”


100 days of social unrest

Thousands marched through downtown May 22 in protest. Photo by writer.

Following a massive demonstration which took place yesterday, newly appointed Education Minister Michelle Courchesne announced this afternoon that she is willing to meet for negotiations with all three major student organizations.

The Fédération étudiante collègiale du Québec and the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec have thus far refused to go to the table without the third, and most radical group, the Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicate étudiante. After 100 days of protesting, Courchesne has stated she is willing to sit down with all of the representatives.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of downtown Montreal on Tuesday, unified against the tuition increase and Bill 78.

The massive protest started from Place des Arts, gathering thousands of demonstrators from all walks of life in the sweltering heat. The protest kicked off with a press conference and passionate speeches from student leaders.

Although the exact number of protesters is not confirmed, the CLASSE estimates that approximately 250,000 people marched through the streets May 22.

The march divided into three groups, one following CLASSE’s banner, another following the planned route and a third diverging completely from the other two protests. A sea of red stalled traffic for hours as the different demonstrations made their way through the downtown core.

Although several sanctions of Bill 78 were violated such as deviating from the initial itinerary and having more than 50 individuals present, no arrests were made. Montreal Police declared the third protest illegal at approximately 4:45 p.m. because of three broken windows. Those demonstrators quickly returned to the main protest.

It was not just students this time that opted to take to the streets to express their frustration with the tuition increase and the controversial emergency legislation. Clowns without borders, teacher associations, members of the National Assembly, parents, grandparents and citizens of all kinds marched in solidarity with students in one of the largest protests in Canadian history.

The movement went international Tuesday, as smaller events were held in different cities worldwide. Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, New York City, and Paris, France held similar protests in a symbolic gesture with the student protesters in Quebec.

Concordia Student Union’s VP external elect Simon-Pierre Lauzon attended the protest to support the fight against the tuition increase and Bill 78 and hopes to encourage others to do the same.

“I was there to satisfy what I think is the duty of every citizen,” Lauzon told The Concordian. “Which is to actively fight for the society that we want.”

People from all walks of life participated in the massive demonstration. Photo by writer.

Lauzon remains unsure of what will happen next, but has strong opinions about the movement’s conclusion.

“I cannot predict the movement anymore as it has consistently impressed me, especially after the passage of law 78,” explained Lauzon. “But I can tell you how it will not end: it will not end with the government forcing us into submission with brute force, and it will not end with an offer from the government that does not touch tuition increase.”

Also present at the demonstration was Vanier College student and Mob Squad leader, Anthony Kantara, who was pleased to see the number of individuals in the streets.

“I hope Charest got the message it’s time for him to go,” he said.

Kantara feels that Bill 78 was one of the main forces that encouraged thousands to protest in solidarity. He believes that the newly adopted legislation is one of the “most useless laws that exist.”

“My fundamental rights and freedoms are more important to me than a ‘special law’ created by a corrupt government,” added Kantara. “Unfortunately, it puts the police force in an awkward position. Thus, the results we’ve seen in the streets over the weekend.”

Kantara is referring to the nightly protests that became more violent than ever and resulted in hundreds of arrests over the weekend due to the adoption of Bill 78 last Friday. Bill 78 has been called into question regarding how the police are supposed to govern protests and enforce the limitations outlined by the special legislation.

The planned protest dispersed in the early evening but people met once more at Place Emilie-Gamelin for the 29th nightly protest. At 8 p.m. in downtown Montreal citizens emerged, clanging pots and pans in protest. It resulted in over 100 arrests.

With files from Marilla Steuter-Martin.

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Liberal government introduces controversial bill

Quebec Premier Jean Charest introduced special legislation to the National Assembly today to suspend the academic session in hopes of ending the tuition fee crisis in Quebec.

The proposed legislation would suspend the current semester until August, postponing the fall semester until October 2012 for the 14 CEGEPs and 11 universities seriously affected by the student strike.

The bill was met with mixed reactions during question period after being tabled by the Charest Liberals in the National Assembly this morning.

Newly appointed Education Minister Michelle Courchesne defended the government’s decision, claiming that the bill “defends the right to education and accessibility to education.”

Parti Quebec leader Pauline Marois criticized Charest for trying to introduce special legislation instead of meeting with student organizations to negotiate the tension over the tuition increase. Visibly upset, Marois called the bill a “waste” and denounced the government’s decision as “disgraceful.”

“This is an important decision for both students and the future of Quebec,” explained Charest.

It’s not clear when the legislation will be adopted but Charest implied it would be in the near future. The bill, announced yesterday in a press conference, resulted in another night of protests in downtown Montreal by students and supporters unhappy with the idea of postponing the semester.

Last night, people took to the streets in three different demonstrations. While two protests remained peaceful, the last turned violent in the early morning and resulted in 122 arrests.

Over 3,000 protesters marched through the streets until the demonstration was declared illegal at 12:25 a.m. In a round up, Montreal Police detained members of the media including five student journalists from The McGill Daily and The Link who were later released after informing the Montreal Police that they were reporters.

Although Charest said he hopes the law will bring calm to the situation while pressure is mounting, some students believe it will have the opposite effect. Hugo Girouard, a student at CÉGEP de Saint-Laurent that has been on strike since February, expressed his disdain for the bill.

“I’m hoping the government understands that they are not kings,” Girouard said. “They can’t control us like this.”

Université de Québec à Montréal student Marc-Antoine St-Yves believes the legislation will not solve the tuition crisis. Although St-Yves has finished his semester and didn’t boycott classes, he is worried the law will only worsen the situation.

“What I think will happen is the strike will go on,” said St-Yves. “And if the law passes there will be violence for sure.”

“I just hope the student will find a way to negotiate with the government and stop this crisis,” added St-Yves. “The patience of the population has a limit.”

Concordia Student Union News

CSU votes to reject offer from provincial government

UPDATE (11/05/2012):

As of Friday May 11, members from three of the province’s major student groups have voted to reject the Quebec government’s offer of proposed changes to their plan to increase university tuition fees in September.

Student unions represented by the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec, the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec and delegates of the Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante voted overwhelmingly against accepting the latest deal aimed at ending student protests.

Their decision comes almost a week after the tentative agreement between students and the government was initially reached. Spokespeople from all three student groups helped form the now-rejected deal after 22 hours of negotiations with Premier Jean Charest and Education Minister Line Beauchamp on Saturday.

– – – – –

The Concordia Student Union unanimously voted to decline the provincial government’s second offer to striking student groups in a special council meeting on Tuesday night.

The special council meeting was held to discuss the recent offer made by the Charest Liberals to student leaders as well as members of the Conference des recteurs et des principaux des universites du Quebec. These negotiations led to the announcement of a tentative deal on Saturday. The offer was presented by leaders of the student movement during a press conference but will only be decided upon once general assemblies are held and the offer is put to a vote.

Approximately 50 Concordia students gathered for the assembly but only the elected council members were allowed to vote. Students were encouraged by CSU President Lex Gill to participate in the discussion portion of the meeting and voice their opinions.

Calling the media “intimidating,” Gill requested that all external media leave the meeting early on. All Concordia student media were welcome to stay for the duration, however, Gill invited mainstream media organizations to get in touch with her following the meeting.

“I’m going to try and not editorialize as much as possible,” Gill told students.

An appearance by Board of Governors Chair Peter Kruyt was met with disdain from some students and he left shortly after questions were raised about his presence.

The results were unsurprising as many university student associations and CEGEPs have voted to reject the government’s proposal during the week.

“I’m really glad we took the position that we took,” CSU councillor and student governor Cameron Monagle told The Concordian. “It was a really bum deal.”

The overwhelming rejection is meant to be a symbolic motion that the tuition increase, despite the deal, will not be accepted.

“This offer didn’t block the tuition increase and it was insufficient,” Monagle added.

The Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec, the student organization which represents Concordia and many other Quebec universities, will hold its own vote on Friday, May 11.


Province presents new deal to student movement

Thousands of students took to the streets for the third night in a row on Friday in response to the Quebec government’s proposed adjustments to their plan to raise university tuition fees.

Calling the announcement an “insult more than an offer,” the demonstration swept through downtown Montreal, concluding with 35 arrests after rocks and bottles were thrown at police.

At a morning press conference held by Premier Jean Charest and Education Minister Line Beauchamp on April 27, they announced a six concessions which aim to appease students and end the 11-week strike.

The plan spreads the tuition hikes over seven years instead of five, with the total overall increase rising from $1,625 to $1,778. For the first five years, students would pay less than the originally proposed $325 per year, that amount increasing in the last two years.

An additional $39 million in bursaries would be added to Quebec students with family incomes of less than $30,000 a year. The plan also incorporates the creation of a new council to ensure better management of universities in Quebec and periodic evaluations of the impact of higher fees on education accessibility.

Reaction to the offer has not been positive, major student organizations arguing that it ignores the strike’s main goal of freezing tuition completely. Members of the Fédération Etudiante Universitaire du Québec will be voting on whether or not to accept the proposal in a week or so.


Meet the Prez, take two

Presidential candidate Dr. Alan Shepard got a second chance at speaking to the Concordia community during a live-streamed conference call on Friday.

The meeting lasted just over an hour and, while directed specifically to Concordia’s Board of Governors and Senate, had 705 people listening in via webcast according to university spokesperson Chris Mota.

Students, staff and faculty were encouraged to submit questions in advance, and those posed to Shepard ranged from university projects to structure to the ongoing tuition hike debate.

Shepard stated during the presentation that he is a proponent of open communication, referring to a number of ‘town hall’ meetings hosted at Ryerson, but said he could not speak to Concordia’s administration’s handling of the student strike thus far.

“We should not imagine the public debate about fees is isolated to Quebec,” he said.

The call was arranged after student protesters shut down Shepard’s in-person Q&A session at Concordia on April 24.

Shepard spoke from Ryerson University in Toronto where he currently acts as provost and VP academic, but said he plans on moving his family to Montreal should he be hired as Concordia’s next president.

“Improving my French is a priority upon living here, like many new Québécois,” he said.

Following the deadline for written feedback to be submitted May 1, the decision on whether or not to hire Shepard will be brought to the board for consideration.


Presidential candidate meeting ends before it begins

A group of students interrupted a joint meeting of Concordia’s Board of Governors and Senate on Tuesday meant to introduce university presidential candidate Dr. Alan Shepard.

The chants of approximately 20 students drowned out the congregation gathered in the D.B. Clarke Theatre at 12 p.m.

Led by geography student and Mob Squad member Alex Matak on a megaphone, the students, who say they are frustrated with the university’s response to the student strike against provincial tuition hikes, called on the administration to hear their demands.

The disruption prompted Concordia Student Union President Lex Gill and CSU councillor and student governor Cameron Monagle to try to calm students in order to proceed with the meeting. As a last effort, Gill stood at the podium to speak but was impossible to hear over the noise.

Members of the audience and the administration left shortly after, effectively ending the meeting. Shepard, who was recently selected by the board’s presidential search committee after months of deliberation, was unable to receive questions from the audience.

University spokesperson Chris Mota confirmed that Shepard, who currently serves as provost and VP academic at Ryerson University, would not be returning for another public meeting at Concordia.

“On behalf of the university community I think it’s unfortunate that the opportunity was taken away from us,” said Mota.

Alex MacPherson, president of the technicians’ union, said that while he supports the student movement, it was “disappointing” that others could not speak and express their views.

Gill was also visibly frustrated that the meeting did not take place. In an informal gathering of students that took place shortly after the failed meeting, Gill emphasized that individual professors or members of administration that do support the students fight against the increase “left the meeting embarrassed.”

“There was an opportunity here to make this meeting what we wanted it to be,” said Gill. “Instead the meeting didn’t happen.”



Senate wants Charest to talk to students

Concordia’s Senate unanimously passed a motion to send an open letter to Quebec Premier Jean Charest, urging the government to facilitate dialogue between all parties involved in the student strike.

The Senate, the university’s highest academic body, discussed the academic implications of the strike at their meeting on April 20.

CSU President and Senator Lex Gill opened the dialogue by making reference to the recent fuss over Education Minister Line Beauchamp’s refusal to meet with the Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale etudiante.

Last week Beauchamp extended an invitation to the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec to discuss university management, excluding the CLASSE from any negotiations unless they openly condemned protest violence.

“The only resolution to this conflict is for the education minister to sit down with the three student associations,” said Gill, a sentiment that the CSU voted unanimously to adopt at a special meeting held on Tuesday.

Concordia University Part-time Faculty Association President Maria Peluso said that the student strike movement should be commended for its organization and impact.

“Do you understand for a moment, what our students have accomplished?” asked Peluso. “That is an achievement we should be celebrating.”

Peluso stated that the administration should receive a “D minus” grade for dismissing the importance of student democracy.

“You make a serious error in assuming that only those voting in favor of the strike were supporting the strike,” she said.

Senator and part-time professor Dave Douglas put forward a motion at the end of the 45-minute discussion period asking that Concordia’s interim president Frederick Lowy write an open letter to Beauchamp.

Dean of Arts and Science Brian Lewis called it a “dangerous motion,” arguing that the university does not want to “bite the hand that feeds us.”

Senator June Chaikelson of the Arts and Science faculty suggested that the letter be written by Senate itself and served to Quebec Premier Jean Charest directly.

This change was widely supported by the group, including Lowy. “If there is a way of fostering [communication,] I am all for it,” said Lowy.

The motion was unanimously adopted. Gill said that she was pleased that Concordia’s governing academic body was able to do “something that is political while doing something that is right.”


Agent involved in alleged assault found unlicensed

McGill student Amber Gross was alledgedly hit by an unlicensed security guard. Photo by Jess Glavina.

The Concordia security guard who allegedly hit a student in the face last week was discovered not to be in possession of a valid security permit, according to a letter sent by the Concordia security department.

Amber Gross, the McGill student who said she was assaulted, filed a request for information last Thursday asking for the name and permit number of the security guard in order to file a formal complaint.

The acting director of Concordia University Security, Jacques Lachance, replied to Gross in a letter sent on April 1, saying the university had been informed by the security guard’s employer, Maximum Security Inc., that the agent did not possess a security license at present.

“Given the fact that he is not a licensed security agent […] we are not legally permitted to release his name,” the letter stated.

The guard is said to be in the process of a license application with the Quebec Bureau of private security, according to the agency contracted by Concordia University.

Concordia Student Union VP external Chad Walcott called the news as troubling and assured the CSU would do everything possible to obtain the security agent’s identity.

“It would be very concerning if we are being blocked access to an information about the assault of a student,” said Walcott. “Having unlicensed security staff on campus is completely unacceptable.”

Gross told The Concordian she was worried the university would try to put the responsibility on the individual security agency and pass the “whole thing [off] as an isolated incident.”

“These kind of accidents are likely to happen again,” Gross said. “That’s what happens when you start hiring a large number of security guards for political purposes on campus when they’re not trained to do it.”

In his letter, Lachance also mentioned that the security agent had been reassigned and was no longer working at Concordia. The university intends to pursue the investigation directly with the agency.

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