Students made fair a success
On November 2 and 3,
Concordia, in collaboration with the Cultural Centre of Pointe Claire
(Stewart Hall), sponsored the nineteenth annual Science and Technology
Exhibition. It was attended by more than 1,500 visitors of all ages,
and from all observations they appeared to have a good time. There were
hands-on demonstartions from many departments, i.e., Physics, Chemistry
and Biochemistry, Psychology, Geography, Biology, Mechanical Engineering,
Electrical Engineering, Buiding Engineering, Computer Studies, Digital
Image and Sound.
The main factor in the success was the attitude and manner of the students
who organized the exhibits and interacted with the visitors. They were
superb! Every visitor was treated personally and with avid attention.
Concordia was well represented by the students. They and their attitude
are the main reason that I continue to be involved with this event.
I am proud to be associated with them.
By way of this general letter I wish to thank them very sincerely for
making this event a great success.
Pallen, Associate Professor, (Retired), Chemistry and Biochemistry
CSU should take responsibility
Student Unions article which appeared in The Gazette on
Nov. 11 (Administration tries to mask its own incompetence)
is a perfect example of how the union continues to lobby for its own
political agenda rather than the greater good of all students.
The student-run union cites its contempt for Rector Frederick Lowys
administration and Concordias board of governors, but students
are increasingly citing their own contempt for the CSU and are coming
to realize that CSU policies and attitudes are part of the problem.
The CSU, rather than act in a responsible manner to ease tensions between
student groups, has continued to inflame the situation by picking sides.
In particular, the CSU continues to defend the violence at Concordias
downtown campus on Sept. 9, during the scheduled Benjamin Netanyahu
members of the CSU were involved in the violence, and so it comes as
no surprise that resources are being wasted to give moral and financial
support to those who threatened the safety of peaceful protesters and
The CSU has done a good job of blaming others the administration,
student groups and the board of governors for the problems at
Concordia. Maybe its time it accepted at least partial responsibility
for the problems on campus and start working with students to ease the
Steven Rosenshein, student, Economics
Hubert Guindon will be deeply missed
Canada has lost one of its most perceptive and profound
public intellectuals. Hubert Guindon died from cancer on October 18,
2002, at the age of 73.
Hubert epitomized in his words and deeds the Socratic ideal of the
considered life, which for him meant that a life well-lived was
one enriched by thinking about things that mattered, and by writing
about them with honesty, integrity and passion. He did not arrive at
polished theories on all subjects, but he provided shape and direction
in the essays that he wrote and in the lectures that he delivered. What
he wrote was original, observant and often controversial. Hubert was
a wise and kind man who taught me and others to feel more deeply, to
hope and to trust in life and reason.
Hubert Guindon held a degree in Philosophy from the University
of Ottawa and he studied Sociology at the University of Chicago. He
held full-time academic appointments at the University of Montreal (1954-61)
and at Concordia University (1962-94). He was a visiting professor at
Carleton University, the University of British Columbia, the University
of Victoria, the University of Toronto and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes
Commercial in Montreal, and he delivered invited lectures in universities
from coast to coast.
He is best known for his numerous works on Quebecs bureaucratic
revolution and the consequences it had on federal-provincial relations,
the politics of language and the rise of nationalism in Quebec society.
His book Quebec Society: Tradition, Modernity and Nationhood (1988)
made the list of outstanding books in America and his articles are frequently
cited and often reprinted in academic journals, edited books, popular
magazines and newspapers.
Despite a healthy scepticism of modern institutions like
the church, the state and the academy, Hubert Guindon was honoured by
them all. He was a past president of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology
Association, a member of the executive of the International Sociological
Association and a distinguished member of the Royal Society of Canada.
He served on numerous government commissions and community boards, including
the Castonguay Task Force on Urbanization and the Pépin-Robarts
Commission on Canadian Unity.
Towards the end of his life, he was an active participant
on Le comité de prospectives de lassembleé des évèques
du Quebéc. His intellectual contributions were acknowledged in
the Senate of Canada on October 22, 2002, and his funeral, held in the
Chapelle du Sacré-Coeur à la Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal,
was presided over by the arch-bishop of Quebec and attended by hundreds
of his friends, family, colleagues and students.
I first met Hubert Guindon in 1969. He was my teacher
and later the supervisor of my MA thesis. Over the years he taught me
many things: loyalty is best given to people not institutions; happiness
depends on wisdom and the autonomy of mind to make ones own choices;
the impulse to revenge is strong and understandable, but is best avoided
in favour of forebearance; courage and hope are essential to living
and thinking and they depend crucially on perseverance in adverse circumstances;
and humour is a most important pedagogical device - it disarms moralizers
and disrupts unconsidered thinking.
I will always remember Hubert as a great educator who taught his students
how to see and think more clearly. He provided us with cognitive maps
- sketch diagrams - that anchored informed perceptions and fostered
critical thought. A radical sceptic by nature, he also believed passionately
in the human spirit, which he said should be valorized and celebrated
even though human kind was the author of much cruelty and misery. To
that end, he was a great advocate for social justice for many people
and causes: the poor, the sick, unfairly dismissed workers, wronged
colleagues and students and next-door neighbors in need of his wise
counsel and generous spirit.
My most abiding memory of Hubert is him conversing to
groups of students and colleagues in his house, his body slouched forward
off the chair, his left knee almost touching the floor, talking beyond
our comprehension and with a gentle touch of his arm enjoining us to
see the world beyond our eyes.
In the last week of May, I travelled from Halifax to see
him for what was to be the last time. We spent a wonderful afternoon
dining and talking at his favorite neighborhood restaurant. He was a
bit gaunt and pale from the cancer treatments and the recent loss of
his dear sister. But his sense of humour was razor-sharp. He joked about
his doctors and the care he was receiving and about the pettiness of
university administrators. He told me that he felt a lightness of being.
He had made some compromises with some of his demons. He had put his
life in order and was preparing for the last farewells. I asked him
if he feared death. No, he said, only dying, because
its for the living, but then you have to accept it, that is how you
The fundamental question for us who are left to grieve is how to learn
to live with his absence and go on ourselves. For those who were his
close friends, colleagues and students this will be no easy matter.
For the moment, I find consolation in the simple facts that Hubert Guindon
once lived and that he was loved by many people who mourned his passing
and shared their loss of him. So in this sense his presence can never
be removed from time, which is to say there is a sort of eternity after
John L. McMullan, Professor of Sociology & Criminology,
Saint Marys University, Halifax
members defend CUPFA
I am writing in relation
to a letter you recently published from a part-time faculty member in
the Theater Department. The letter was itself a response to an earlier
article by Carol McQueen that focused on the Coalition of Contingent
Academic Labor conference at Concordia in early October, as well as
the key issues to be addressed at the COCAL event.
As a part-time faculty member and one of the CUPFA hiring representatives
in the Music Department, I have to disagree with a number of the points
Ms. Bligh made in her response.
and foremost, her assertion that a strong part-time union at Concordia
protects time servers more than it promotes high professional
and pedagogic standards seems gratuitous at best. Without any argument
to back up her claim, Ms. Bligh makes a blanket statement that would
imply, if extended to one of many other strongly unionized areas, that
the guild protecting Montreal Symphony Orchestra musicians fosters similar
mediocrity and low levels of performance amongst its members.
Moreover, above and beyond its role as an advocate for fair working
conditions, CUPFA provides, on a yearly basis, generous professional
development grants that permit its members to attend conferences, launch
special research-related projects, etc., and thus acts as a net promoter
of academic excellence at the university.
second part of the letter that I must take issue with concerns the example
of office space allocation problems affecting part-timers, the addressing
of which was cited by Ms. Bligh as storm-in-a-teacup complaining,
and as emblematic of the type of trivial harping that makes the Association
an embarrassment to her.
experienced the types of supposedly inconsequential difficulties she
refers to (e.g., being unable to listen to and discuss a students
recorded assignment in our part-time office because other professors
are simulataneously consulting with their students), I find the example
itself anything but insignificant.
But beyond the particular point, how can one criticize ones union
for pursuing the matters both broad and more narrow in scope
that have an impact on its members? If the larger issues were
being neglected by CUPFA, one might raise objections, but the writer
herself admits that she has benefited from the excellent work the Association
has done in protecting all of our livelihoods and in creating the type
of environment professional teachers need to survive and enjoy their
work over the long term.
Contrary to what was expressed in Ms. Blighs letter, I am proud
to be a CUPFA member, and have every confidence that the Association
will successfully negotiate an even better collective agreement for
Michael Pinsonneault, Music and Communication Studies
It is unfortunate that Ms. Bligh of the Theatre Department (Letters,
CTR, Oct. 24) feels that there is no debate within CUPFA. Given
the self-righteous tone of her letter, it occurs to us that if the tone
of debate needed to be raised, she could have taken advantage of the
opportunities organized by CUPFA in general meetings or in the special
meetings held for Fine Arts members. Regrettably, she has neither attended
now contributed a useful idea at any such gathering.
As fellow Fine Arts faculty members, we resent her suggestion that artist
practitioners should be resigned to a workplace situation where there
is little hope of job security. She appears to subscribe to a 19th-century
view where artists were viewed as bohemian outsiders, gifted intuitives
doomed by fate to struggle in poverty. Why, we ask, when other members
of the academic community see their years of dedicated service rewarded
by job security, should career artists and fine art academics who are
also part-time faculty members, accept such a disenfranchised status?
practicing artists who are also committed teachers, we further resent
Ms Blight's inference that professionalism and academic excellence are
not flourishing within Concordia's present system. Indeed our Fine Arts
Faculty enjoys an outstanding Canada-wide reputation, and this is due,
in part, to the contributions of its large proportion of part-time faculty.
our own particular area of Studio Arts, many of those whom Ms Bligh
disparages as time-servers have earned professional recognition
that has come in such forms as the Order of Canada, major museum exhibitions
as well as vibrant local, national and international careers.
Although Ms Bligh may so stridently demur, many of us do
believe that CUPFA provides intelligent and appropriate
representation and healthy debate. Although no university institution
is faultless, we realize that CUPFA provides the kind of leadership
that continues to improve our situation. If Ms Bligh wishes to appear
credible, why has she not availed herself of the above-mentioned opportunities
to provide CUPFA with her input?
Berezowsky, Elise Bernatchez, Harlan Johnson (Studio Arts)
It is clear that Ms. Bligh has no experience with labour negotiations.
In fact, I do not recall her bothering to attend the COCAL V Conference,
something that might have changed her attitude and educated her regarding
the leadership CUPFA plays in labour rights for part-time faculty in
North America, let alone in Quebec or within our university. People
who choose to throw stones should have a professional outlook and check
on standards established at other universities. They should certainly
not live in glass cocoons.
Over 215 educational labour leaders and unions were represented at this
conference, which focused on the rights of part-time faculty. There
were all kinds of meaningful workshops, including one on fine arts to
which I participated as a panelist.
was viewed as central to all the unions representing part-time faculty
in North America. In fact, part-time faculty unions in Quebec are currently
negotiating their collective agreements, and along with CUPFA, job security
is a key concern to all of them. The suggestion that CUPFA abandon job
security as an issue is tantamount to being irresponsible to all the
members, particularly to those of us in fine arts. It would become the
only part-time faculty union in North America to do so.
May I suggest that Ms Bligh consider leaving for the greener pastures
of a non-unionized university such as McGill. At least there her greatness
in teaching will be appreciated according to the standards and working
conditions that she most certainly deserves. As for the rest of us in
Fine Arts, we will continue to support our Association, which has done
more than a yeoman's job in advancing our most urgent concerns. Job
security and some stability ARE what we need.
Louise Samson, Music