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September 12, 2002 Letters


We welcome your letters, opinions and comments at BC-121/1463 Bishop St., by fax (514-848-2814), or e-mail (barblak@alcor.concordia.ca) by 9 a.m. on the Friday prior to publication.

CSU concerned about control of Hall mezzanine

The mezzanine, the valuable space of student groups and university departments alike, may soon be just another corporate cafeteria. If Michael Di Grappa, Vice-Rector, Services, had had his way, construction would have already started Sept. 1.

The mezzanine is the space where student clubs have their exhibits and tables. University departments hold information tables, job fairs take place, Art Matters takes place, ECA’s bridge-building contest happens, CASA hold their fairs, and more. All of would have been converted into a Chartwells food area.

The CSU only found all this out during a meeting with low-level administration and as a result of a slip. We were told that the space where the copy center on the first floor is currently located would become an international café and that this would extend up to the mezzanine. This plan would hardly help students or faculty since Java U, the ever-popular café, is located only a few feet away. Java U’s space, however, is controlled by students.

Due to CSU pressure, construction has been postponed for eight months, yet at this point it is only a delay. Therefore the CSU is calling for the space to be placed into a trusteeship between it and the Dean of Students office, thereby securing its long-term future for all departments and student groups.

Yves Engler, VP communications, Concordia Student Union

Patricia Posius, Administrator, Vice-Rector Affairs, replies:
The university is planning a number of improvements to the Hall Building to improve and increase learning space and general access. These plans have been under discussion with the CSU for several months, including the introduction of new food service facilities on the Hall Building main floor and mezzanine. Central to these plans was an offer to fully renovate a major portion of the Hall seventh floor to provide centralized and expanded display and study space, as well an area to develop the Concordia Kitchen Mosaic. It is unfortunate that these plans are now on hold, but the mezzanine will remain under the jurisdiction of the Dean of Students Office for the near future.
Limits to free speech: Professor

I remember learning that free speech did not extend to shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theatre.

Concordia set up the crowded theatre situation when it allowed Netanyahu to speak on its premises. Allowing Yasser Arafat to speak would have produced similar unfortunate results. There are many other auditoriums in Montreal.

Concordia’s responsibility is to its students. Inviting disruption to classes is irresponsible.

G.S. Newsham, Professor Emeritus