CTR Home Internal  Relations and Communications Home About CTR Publication Schedule CTR Archives

September 27, 2001 CSU and university talking



University administrators continue to deal with problems raised by the executive of the Concordia Student Union over a number of issues. Here’s a synopsis:

Board and senate Business and engineering student representatives have charged that CSU members are appointing themselves to the student slots at university senate and the board of governors. In the past, CASA and the ECA sent their own elected representatives. Since the CSU won provincial accreditation last year, they contend that they have exclusive rights in this matter.

Dean of Students Don Boisvert disagrees. In a strongly worded letter to CSU president Sabrina Stea, he invoked “university traditions of collegiality and dialogue which you seem intent on undermining,” and said he was “dismayed by reports of the types of interviews to which candidates for these seats have been subjected, with an apparent requirement that they adopt a politically correct line of thought.”

Exclusion Rector Frederick Lowy sent a letter to the general university community last Friday explaining in detail his reasons for excluding CSU executives Laith Marouf and Tom Keefer. He added that the incident in which security guards were roughed up and a death threat was uttered, allegedly by Keefer, were witnessed, in part, by Vice-Rector Services Michael Di Grappa.

Lowy reminded members of the university of his offer of an independent fact-finding team which, to date, has been rejected.

Tribunal As the result of a separate incident, the overturning of tables by exhibitors at a job fair last term, a student tribunal is in progress to hear charges against Keefer and Christina Xydous. Since neither is now a student, University Counsel Bram Freedman has said that the tribunal is now of no value.

General assembly A CSU general assembly was planned for yesterday (Sept. 26) at which students were to vote on the rescinding of the administrative fee and capital campaign contribution, the reinstatement of Marouf and Keefer, and the “expulsion” of a board member and three companies with links to the university. None of these recommendations would be binding on the university, even if adopted by the assembly.

The rector’s office has been bombarded with complaints about the CSU handbook, called Uprising 2001-2002. Lowy has written a strongly worded letter about the publication. It says, in part:

“The CSU is an independent and wholly autonomous corporation accredited under provincial legislation. As a result, it is legally separate from the university. Somewhat like a labour union, the CSU is the organization that legally represents all of our undergraduate students with respect to university-wide issues. As such, under Quebec law, Concordia University has no authority over the activities of the CSU.

“The CSU student handbook does not at all represent the views of Concordia University. In addition to information of practical use to all students that one expects to find in most university student handbooks, Uprising 2001-2002 contains a great many inflammatory and possibly libelous statements about the university, university officials, and some of the companies that employ our graduates and support the university.

“The university disclaims all responsibility for this publication, dissociates itself from its content, and will take appropriate action where necessary.”

Job fairs
The CSU, angry at having part of a submission rejected for publication in The Bridge, aimed at new students, published their own newsletter, The Unabridged, in which they made charges of warmongering against several companies. Copies of the article “Making a Killing” were faxed to some companies and as a result, some of these companies withdrew from job fairs organized by engineering and business students.

After a pro-Palestinian bazaar and rally scheduled for Sept. 15 was cancelled in the wake of the U.S. disaster, Concordia senior administrators got a request from the student group Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights to hold the event on university land today.

Dean of Students Donald Boisvert refused the request, saying, “It is our sense that both the internal and external communities would welcome a period of respite. The safety of all participants, both your own members and others, also remains of paramount importance to the university.

“In addition, and as I again mentioned when we met, the fact that you were seeking to hold the event on Sept. 27, which is Yom Kippur, the holiest of Jewish holy days, is a source of grave concern.”

Petitions A petition is being circulated by the CSU executive to reinstate Marouf and Keefer, but at the same time, another petition is going around denouncing the CSU executive, their politics and their tactics.