Peace it Together at
Concordia University and in the World is the message on this large
banner in the lobby of the Hall Building. Seen at the launch of the TAG
tolerance project are (standing, left to right), Magali Merkx-Jacques
and Yasmin Gardaat, both from the Arts and Science Federation of Associations
(ASFA); Michael Nimchuk, Engineering and Computer Science Students Association
(ECA), Billy Mandelos, Commerce and Administration Students Association
(CASA); Rector Frederick Lowy; Ricardo Filippone, ASFA. In front are Sabrina
Stea, president of the Concordia Student Union (CSU), Nisha Sajnani, Graduate
Students Association (GSA), and Jonathan Carruthers. About 60 people attended
a symposium held on the subject on Tuesday afternoon, and events continue
today. The meeting Tuesday was dominated by CSU activists, who repeated
their now-familiar charges against the university administration.
Photo by Christian Fleury
by Lisa Harding
Former CSU president Jonathan
Carruthers is inviting students to sign a peace banner to
promote tolerance on campus. The project was launched on Sept. 27 in the
lobby of the Hall Building.
Carruthers, who was student president in 1995-96, felt compelled to do
something in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. For
him, it was imperative to act quickly. I was so disturbed by the
potential for discrimination. I wanted to take the opportunity before
there was too much alienation.
He set out independently, but quickly found there was already an initiative
underway in the Graduate Students Association, called TAG, for Tolerance,
Acceptance and Growth, and coordinated it through that project. (See
CTR, Sept. 27.)
Students are encouraged to sign the banner to send a message about what
Carruthers calls core values to the university community.
Four or five banners are expected to be complete by Oct. 11, the one-month
anniversary of the terrorism attacks.
The completion of the sign-the-banner project will coincide with two days
of panel discussions on Oct. 9 and 11 about tolerance within the learning
environment. Student leaders, including Nisha Sajnani, one of two originators
of the TAG concept, and members of the university will speak.
Carruthers said that the banner effort has received significant funding
from the Dean of Students and the Office of the Rector. The Concordia
Art Store and the Co-op des Arts St-Laurent donated art supplies. He admits
that global peace is a pie-in-the-sky goal, but believes you
have to start at home [with] a tangible goal.
Carruthers, 34, says many people are curious about what hes been
up to since he left Concordia. He initially ran for student president
as part of an art performance project, but turned out to be a moderate,
After he graduated with a BFA, he spent a year in law school at McGill
before leaving to become a massage therapist. I wanted to go from
being the worst part of someones day to the best, he said
with a laugh.
Now hes back at Concordia taking an undergraduate course in music
theory to pursue another dream, to become a singer.