Anastasia Boldireff’s case goes to the Human Rights Tribunal

The Concordia PhD student finally receives justice on gender discrimination complaint filed against the two officers in her case.

Since 2019, Concordia PhD student Anastasia Boldireff has been demanding justice for the discrimination she had suffered at the hands of two police officers who discriminated her during her criminal harassment case. Now, she’s finally receiving it.

On March 1 of this year, Boldireff’s complaint against the two officers was upheld by the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission and taken to the Human Rights Tribunal. 

In October 2019, Boldireff was stalked by a non-Concordia student. Her stalker followed her on Concordia campus and eventually assaulted her in broad daylight. 

She went to the police station where she was told to come back later. Boldireff returned with a Concordia security guard after she had made a statement with Concordia security. The Concordia security guard was asked to leave. The officer asked her to answer questions that he wrote on a clipboard and slid to her underneath the plexiglass. 

Upon answering each question, she returned the clipboard, and the officer wrote down another question. Each time she tried to talk with the officer and explain that she was scared, the officer asked her to write it down. It was only when she told the officer “Don’t you want his phone number?” that the officer wrote down a question requesting the phone number of the accused. Boldireff asked “Is he in the system?” and she said that the officer nodded and looked surprised and left.  

The officer returned with his supervisor. The officer’s supervisor then entered the room and asked Boldireff more questions about the accused. 

“I had just written it down, but I was asked to repeat myself. I described [the stalker] to the best of my ability, and the officer had his arms crossed. He was leaning back and he said, ‘Well, he sounds like a good-looking man, a soccer player. Why don’t you go on a date with him?’ and then he laughed,” Boldireff said.

She asked for an escort home since she didn’t feel safe, to which one of the officers asked: ‘Well, is he [the stalker] there now?” She told him that she was scared for her life and he rejected her access to a safe ride home. Realizing the officers wouldn’t provide the support she needed, Boldireff asked if there was any other advice they could give her before leaving. Boldireff said that the supervisor said, ‘you should consider what you’re wearing’. 

“It was a terrible interaction and things escalated from there [with the suspect] and I wasn’t provided the immediate support or sense of dignity,” she said. 

After that interaction, Boldireff filed a complaint with the Police Ethics Commissioner. It wasn’t until the summer of 2020 that she got in touch with the Concordia Student Union Legal Information Clinic (LIC). They immediately put her in touch with the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) to receive the help she desperately needed. CRARR filed a complaint on her behalf against the two officers for gender discrimination, stating that they were “violating her right to equality, dignity, and security of the person,” as was detailed in the press release. 

“I don’t think there’s any excuse for a police officer to not treat a victim of crime, of any crime, without the basic need for dignity,” Boldireff said.

Now, the Human Rights Commission upheld her complaint against the two officers. In CRARR’s press release sent to The Concordian, the commission is asking for “$8,000 in moral damages from the City of Montreal and the two officers, and $2,500 in punitive damages from the two officers.”

The commission is also asking for training on the reality lived by people who file complaints for crimes involving sexual violence to be implemented for police officers. This is to ensure that there’s no gender-based stereotypes in the handling of these cases. 

After years of searching for help, Boldireff felt a sense of justice being served following this decision.

“It makes me feel supported. It makes me feel that if the Human Rights Commission is supporting this case, then fundamentally they’re supporting the belief that women should not experience [derogatory] gender-based comments at a police station,” Boldireff said. 

She’s continuing to advocate for safe spaces for victims who go to report their sexual violence cases, and for them to have guidance from social services such as CRARR.

She continues to voice how imperative it is that “victims should be believed when they’re coming forward, believed and supported, especially by the police who were meant to serve and protect [them],” Boldireff said.

As grateful as Boldireff is for the Human Rights Commission’s decision being in her favour, she is still waiting on the Administrative Police Ethics Tribunal’s decision from the hearings of her case last fall.

Concordia Student Union News

A week long celebration of gender health

The CSU introduced their new Gender Health Hub with a week of workshops and events.

Last week, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) kicked off their new Gender Health Hub initiative with a Health Hub fair.

The Gender Health Hub is a network of Concordia groups and services that “connects students to holistic, feminist and trans-inclusive health and wellness services.”  It provides all students with free and easy-to-access gender related healthcare. 

The fair last week was a way for students to discover the services offered by the Hub. The week- long festivities took a community focus with workshops that were discussion and storytelling based. 

Some of the services offered include free menstrual and sexual health products, trans-patient support and advocacy, an abortion support hotline, as well as workshops and clinics on a variety of topics planned throughout the year.

The first workshop, conducted on Oct. 23, was on hormone literacy and discussed the role of hormones in menstruation, menopause, as well as hormonal replacement therapy. The CSU also provided goodie bags with menstrual products for those who stopped by. 

The second workshop on the following day focused on surviving the healthcare system as a transgender patient. Jacob Williams, a member of the Trans Patient Union at McGill, discussed his experiences in the system while opening the floor up to others to share as well.

Anthony, a student at Concordia, was happy to learn from these workshops and collect resources.

“I came here to help understand how to support my friend during his transition,” he said, “and after sitting through [the workshop] and hearing everyone’s experiences and how they had to do their own research and, in some cases, educate the doctors and fight for their health that intensely—it’s mind-blowing.” 

The Hub also showcased some of the other services the students have access to. They offered two more workshops that focused on mental health: an art therapy session that included coping techniques such as a body scan, and a mentoring workshop to create a safe space where students could share their experiences. 

For students who missed the workshops, the Hub presented its network at a health services table fair. Some of the groups participating in the event included the Centre for Gender Advocacy, Sex and Self Concordia, Woman on Web and a few others. 

To wrap up the week, students were invited to a party at Studio 414 on Saturday night, in celebration of this new project 

Hannah Jackson, external affairs and mobilization coordinator at the CSU, explained that this is just the beginning for the Gender Health Hub. More events will be held throughout the semester—like workshops on massages for scarwork, and other programs to help trans-patients navigate the bureaucracy of the healthcare system.

You’re not alone in your fatigue

Getting used to our pre-pandemic schedule is going to take time

It’s not just the pre-midterm slumps that are getting you down this year. Since March 2020, strict pandemic lockdowns and health safety measures have kept us predominantly at home for both leisure and work over the course of this year and half. As we gradually return to our pre-COVID schedules, many are feeling more exhausted than usual. But it’s not just you: between July 2021 and September 2021 google searches for the phrase “Why am I tired all the time?” have hit historical highs.

Our muscles are getting used to backpacks and metro rides, we’re adapting to 8 a.m. class discussions, and dealing with the emotional drain from daily in-person events. As we approach almost our halfway point during the semester, and the days become shorter, many students may be affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD). All this includes the accumulated affliction from the past year. It’s important to be compassionate with yourself during this phase.

In early 2020, when we were first told to remain home, many felt grateful to stop and rest from the flurry of our daily lives, in a phenomenon named “lockdown relief.” It was short-lived. As the pandemic wore on, unemployment sky-rocketed, panic set in various ways, and to date, we have lost 28,186 Canadians to COVID-19, on top of the deaths from those that could not seek proper medical treatment because hospitals were overburdened with the aforementioned virus.

Don’t get us wrong — many are excited to be back to in-person activities. But nevertheless, we’re still reeling, and undergoing, the effects of a year full of changes and loss. Since the expectation that we would return to in-person learning, there have been mixed reactions.

Results from a poll in May 2021 found four in five Canadians don’t want to return to their pre-pandemic schedules, as some workplaces prepare for the likelihood of burnouts as workers  seat themselves at their long-abandoned desks in their company centres. Additionally, 35 per cent of Canadians said they would quit their job in the advent of being forced to return to their workplace by their employees.

Students also had mixed reactions about going back on campus.They felt weary about the logistics of in-person and hybrid learning, and of rules around vaccine mandates.The CSU released an open letter calling on the university to ameliorate the equitability and quality of the safety measures and accommodations for students. Almost 1,500 people have signed a petition to give themselves the choice over how they attend hybrid classes. The Concordian has also asked university to provide better support for the education of international students and those with health concerns.

Last week, Concordia responded by releasing a short-term absence form to offer better support for students with “unexpected physical or psychological health concerns.” And while that is a welcome resource, we wanted to remind students that you’re not alone, and that reaching out for help when you need it is important. Whether that be with professional help, or calling a friend — we all need support sometimes.

While we welcome students back from the (much needed) Thanksgiving break, we also want to let you know: you’re doing great, and it’s ok to seek out help if it’s getting too much.


Photograph by Alex Hutchins


Having a good friend could reduce mental health problems

“People become anxious because they have trouble tolerating uncertainty. One of the features that seem to minimize this is having a secure friend,” said psychology professor at Concordia University William Bukowski.

In response to an alarming increase of mental health issues in younger generations, the Psychiatrists Association of Quebec launched The Connected Alpha Movement, an initiative that encourages the Quebec government to implement a comprehensive mental health education course in the Quebec school curriculum.

The mental health education will begin in primary school and run to the end of high school. The program will focus on teaching students how to manage their emotions and form healthy relationships with those in their close social circles, as well as their communities. Information about the different types, causes and risks associated with mental illnesses will also be provided.

The Connected Alpha Movement will encourage open dialogue, where teachers and the community can participate in the discussion as to what aspects of the program are working. They will be able to provide advice about what social or educational changes can be implemented to help prevent mental health issues from having long-term detrimental effects on students.

Developmental Psychologist and Psychology Professor at Concordia University William Bukowski studies the effects of children’s friendships. Bukoswki’s study has shown that the most important feature of a friendship – the one that is conducive to mental health – is security.

“What we’ve tried to show is that anxiety derives largely from uncertainty, people become anxious because they have trouble tolerating uncertainty,” said Bukowski. “One of the features that seem to minimize this is having a secure friend.”

“So the purposes of the program that you brought to my attention are very much similar to the results of our study: that having strong stable connections are going to function as the antidote to anxiety,” said Bukowski.

Abigail Stephin, a first year biology student at Concordia University said this resource would have been beneficial growing up.

“I feel like if I had somebody that I could have relied on or a resource, it would have helped me in primary school,” she said.

“Alpha” in the Connected Alpha Movement refers to the new generation, born between 2010-25. The program is geared towards those facing the challenges of adapting to an environment pervaded with fast-paced social, economic and technological changes.

At the current rate that stress is affecting youth, there is a concern that there will not be enough resources in the future to support the growing demand for mental health services.

According to The Connected Alpha Movement’s website, suicide attempts leading to hospitalization for youth ages 10 to 19 have more than doubled between 2007 and 2017. Anxiety levels and ADHD diagnoses have nearly doubled in children from grades one to five between 2010-16, according to a study done by the Institut de la Statistique du Québec.

The Connected Alpha Movement showed that students who have participated in mental health education programs resulted in a 13.5 per cent lower rate of mental disorders,  an 11 per cent improvement in their academic performance, and graduation rates among participants is six per cent higher.

Several organizations support the initiative, such as Psychiatrists Association of Quebec, the Pediatricians Association of Quebec and the Specialists in Preventive Medicine Association of Quebec.


Graphic by @sundaeghost

Student Life

Broken Pencil: Tales from the stall walls

Sneak a peek inside ConU’s washroom stall graffiti subculture

Confession: reading the messages and looking at the rushed art on the stalls in the women’s washrooms across campus is a guilty pleasure of mine—at least it used to be. A little investigative journalism venture in preparation for this article led me to realize how much of the graffiti I’ve been reading since first year has been covered up. Most of the current comments—or “tags,” if you will—I’ve found are in the women’s washrooms on the ground floors of the LB and EV buildings, plus a single, lonely and forgotten anti-Trump doodle in the H building.

First off, to the pair who, likely separately, tag-team wrote: “In a society that profits from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act … and loving yourself is a REVOLUTION,” in the first stall on the left side of the EV building washroom: thank you. And to whoever wrote: “❤️❤️❤️❤️for the [person] reading this” in the third stall of the LB washroom: ❤️for you too.

While some may view these empowering tags as vandalism, for others, they can be that extra push you need to make it through the day. (Think The Handmaid’s Tale when Elisabeth Moss’s character is locked in her bedroom and sees the phrase about perseverance carved into the baseboards of her closet by a previous handmaid—but the struggling student version).

The stalls also house a variety of art, life advice and stickers. In the fifth stall of the LB building washrooms, there are two Sharpie sketches of people—one with longer hair and the other with what appears to be a hijab on; the sketch is headlined with: “Everyone has their own beauty❤️.” The same stall also has a tag that reads “Work is long when you’re wearing a thong.” Found in some stalls are also the thoughts we dare not say aloud. One person writes: “I’m an attention addict, but I don’t show it,” while another person confesses: “I’m constipated.” The mixture of subconscious confessions, with body positive support and comedic anecdotes that all corroborate the nuanced experience of life is raw and refreshing to read.

Many tags have humourous undertones of solidarity, particularly with comments like “BLOODY FEMININITY,” written on the lid of the menstrual product disposal box in the last stall on the right-hand side of the EV building washrooms. “You are enough,” is written in the second stall of the LB building facilities. For me, reading messages like these warms my heart.

When having a bad day, week, month or whatever, reading an honest tag about something similar, a funny anecdote or even just reading that someone else is also not okay, is oddly comforting. The one, unifying theme found in all the stalls is the need for solidarity and support between women, female-identifying, and non-binary people. Whoever wrote: “To all my sisters, we need to love each other and be there. Stop bitchin’,” in the second stall of the LB building washrooms—you know what’s up.

Note: The Concordian recognizes that the graffiti and art mentioned in this article likely violate vandalism policies at Concordia University, and we are by no means encouraging anyone to go out and start attacking washroom stalls with writing utensils (wink).

Feature graphic by @spooky_soda.


Speaking your mind in the spotlight

Kanye West’s support for Donald Trump highlights a larger conversation about famous people’s opinions

We all have a right to voice our opinions. In fact, I’ll be voicing mine throughout this article. It doesn’t mean you need to agree with it, but it’s always nice to open our minds to a different perspective. Oftentimes, I think people say things without expecting repercussions. But if your words were more powerful than other people’s, would you be more careful about what you said?

In my opinion, a celebrity’s words have a big impact on their fans. People can be easily influenced by their role models and, therefore, swayed to agree with something solely because of the person who said it. Or, people can also completely disagree with any statements made by celebrities and withdraw their support as a result.

When rapper Kanye West tweeted a picture of his “Make America Great Again” cap in April, people did not react well. West later tweeted, “You don’t have to agree with Trump, but the mob can’t make me not love him.” Although West has the right to be a Trump supporter, there are obvious reasons why so many people do not support the President and were so shocked when West revealed he did. I believe Trump is blatantly racist, sexist and quite childish. It’s obvious to me that this isn’t someone who should be spoken highly of by other famous people.

Although West said on Twitter that he wants to be open about his opinions and thoughts rather than be controlled by the popular opinion, it can be argued that he should be more cautious about the things he says because of his influence on the public. If he openly states that he supports Trump or supports a specific statement Trump has made, this may sway West supporters to think something that’s problematic is not so bad if West supports it.

Things can often be misread or taken out of context, so celebrities should be used to thinking twice about anything they say. We all have a right to express our opinions, but when your words have a larger impact on the public, that right needs to be exercised with more caution. I’m not saying things should be purposely left unsaid, but words travel fast, and with the popularity of social media nowadays, it’s easy for something to be seen or read by many more people than anticipated and for its impact to be far-reaching.

Kanye also argued in a tweet, “I don’t agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.” Though this is true, being a celebrity does come with the responsibility of keeping in mind how your words influence your fans. Explanations must often be given to justify words and actions. If you give your opinion with no justification, it can be taken the wrong way. With an explanation, people can at least understand the reasoning behind your thinking and be considerate of it.

We do not have to agree with everything a person says, but we can respect their words. Or, if we do not want to accept them, we can at least acknowledge the fact that there is a reasonable explanation behind their opinions. Whether our words will be heard by one person or thousands, we should always be aware of the possible repercussions. Everyone can disagree with something or be disagreed with.

Everyone has a right to their opinion, and to speak it, no matter the size of their audience. However, those in the public eye should always be more conscious of how their words and actions will be received.

Graphic by Wednesday Laplante



Concordia should step up for students who step forward

The times are changing—and we don’t just mean the literal time change of Sunday’s daylight savings.

Even a quick glance at the news these days shows that more and more celebrities are speaking up about their experiences with sexual assault. The Harvey Weinstein exposé seemingly opened a floodgate, with people now coming forward with allegations against Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Brett Ratner and Ben Affleck, to name a few.

The bravery exhibited by each celebrity who has shared their story is exemplary. Yet we at The Concordian believe more needs to be done to encourage regular people to speak up about their own experiences—be it with sexual assault, racism or any other form of oppression or disrespect that has been swept under the rug.

Following allegations of sexual assault and harassment made against several high-profile Quebecers, Montreal police announced on Twitter on Oct. 19 the creation of a temporary hotline for reporting sexual assault or harassment. Within a week, the police department had received 320 calls, 69 of which resulted in a sexual assault file being opened, according to a press release. This is more than twice the number of sexual assault reports made on average in one week in 2016, according to the Montreal police 2016 annual report.

The creation of this hotline demonstrates the kind of response that can come from making supportive services available in the community. We at The Concordian hope to see more initiatives that encourage people to speak up against intolerable behaviour—particularly here at Concordia.

In September, the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) announced that a Concordia student was considering filing a civil rights complaint against the university “for discrimination and failure to protect and support.” This student reported being sexually harassed online by a peer and claimed the university “offered her very little support.” When asked about this case, university spokesperson Mary-Jo Barr responded that, “when a student brings to our attention a concern for their safety, with or without a police report, we look carefully at how we can support that student.”

Even more recently, the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse recommended Concordia and the Montreal division of the Commissionaires security firm pay $33,000 in damages to a woman named Chantal Lapointe. In 2013, Lapointe was stopped by Concordia security guards at the downtown campus. According to Lapointe, the guards asked her for identification, attempted to take her picture without consent, and called the police when she refused to comply.

The Commission’s report stated that Lapointe’s race and social condition—she was mistaken for a homeless person—played a “decisive role” in the security guards’ decision to intercept her. In addition to the damages, the Commission recommended that the university provide security guards with “anti-discrimination training” and remove elements from its policies “that target and stigmatize homeless people.”

Concordia had until Oct. 27, 2017 to comply with the recommendations. Instead, the university responded that it “will be challenging the Human Rights Commission’s proposal” because Concordia “vehemently disagrees with the findings in [the] reports, which does not include all of the relevant facts,” according to Barr.

We at The Concordian are disappointed that the university has more of a tendency to save face than acknowledge its potential shortcomings and implement suggested solutions. While it may be understandable that the university is trying to avoid paying $33,000, why is there any hesitation to improve policies and employee training? Why, when a student claims to feel unsupported by the university’s sexual assault resource services, does Concordia immediately respond with claims that the status quo is adequate?

The times are changing and Concordia is at a crossroads. Our society is finally becoming a place where people feel supported enough to publicly denounce inappropriate behaviour. Members of the Concordia community need to know that when they make their voices heard, their university will be ready to listen and act.

If you would like to share your experience with oppression, assault, discrimination or harassment, we at The Concordian encourage you to email or We are more than willing to listen and share your story.

Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth


Marching through Montreal for missing and murdered

Eleventh annual march generated awareness of systematic violence and honoured the indigenous women who have passed

Hundreds gathered early Tuesday night near Place Émile-Gamelin in downtown Montreal. After a solemn opening prayer and a series of speeches, the throngs of people mobilized down Ste. Catherine Street, commencing the 11th annual  memorial march for missing and murdered indigenous women.

The event was organized by the Centre for Gender Advocacy, an independent, student-funded organization. The goal of the annual march, is to honour the memories of indigenous women and girls, and to raise awareness about the systemic nature of the violence against indigenous people.

Outlined by the ethereal glow of candlelight, the sea of faces advanced down the streets, chanting tirelessly to the beat of hide drums. Many supporters carried signs honouring indigenous victims of violence and expressing solidarity.

Guided by a police escort, the march snaked its way through Montreal’s Ville-Marie borough, stopping briefly on the steps of the Ministère de la Justice building and concluding in front of the Notre-Dame Basilica.

Investigations into the treatment of indigenous women in Canada, suggest these women are disproportionately affected by violence and discrimination. According to one Canadian government statistic, 16 per cent of all murdered women in Canada between 1980 and 2012 were indigenous, making up for only four per cent of the total female population.

On Sept. 1, the Canadian government launched an independent national inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women. The purpose of the inquiry is to examine and report on systemic causes behind the violence experienced by indigenous women and girls. This inquiry was a cause for both celebration and skepticism at Tuesday night’s march.

“We have recently heard that there was an announcement for the launching of the national inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women,” said Stacey Gomez, the Centre for Gender Advocacy’s action coordinator, at the vigil. “We want to draw attention to the ongoing limitations of this inquiry and echo the calls for a Quebec-specific inquiry.”

A Quebec-specific inquiry, Gomez explained, would more effectively address the unique problems faced by indigenous women in Quebec, such as the alleged sexual abuse and assault of aboriginal women by Sûreté du Québec (SQ) officers in Val-d’Or. The instances of abuse, which were uncovered by a team of investigative reporters at Radio-Canada last year, led to the suspension of the officers involved, and revealed a widespread mistreatment of indigenous women by the SQ. In August, the Quebec government decided against launching their own investigation into the allegations, instead leaving it to the broader national inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women, according to CBC News.

Gomez suggested for people to become more educated towards the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women. “I see an increased awareness of the specific issue, both in the media and in the general public.”

After marching for an hour, the crowd reached its final destination and coalesced beneath the statue of Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve. Under the watchful gaze of the Iroquois hunter, the final speakers were presented, and then the crowd gradually dispersed.

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