Candid Comments

  • Illustration by Eric Bent

To paraphrase a terribly old and just plain terrible TV show: smile, Board of Governors! You’re on incredibly obvious camera, and the people filming you are the students of the university you rule over.

Or at least, that’s what our student representatives on Concordia’s highest decision-making body are hoping will be waiting for their colleagues when the Board meets on Feb. 10.

Last week, governor AJ West told The Link he wants students to bring their own cameras to the meeting, as the Board had previously voted down a proposal brought forward by Graduate Students’ Association rep Erik Chevrier that would have seen future meetings recorded and broadcast.

“Worst-case scenario, I will bring a camera and I will sit it on the Board table and I will film it myself,” said West.

It’s not as if the Board is camera-shy. Many of the reps are notable businesspeople who are in the public eye as part of their jobs. So if it’s not fear of a video or photo being taken in the midst of a bad hair day, why exactly are they so opposed to the idea of having these meetings being on the public record?

Look, I’m not going to beat you over the head with the details of this school’s supposed “culture of contempt.” If you’ve been reading The Link (and if you haven’t, what’s your excuse?) you know the details.

Yes, it may seem like we’re driving this into the ground, week after week, but that’s because the level of ridiculousness inherent in this whole issue is reaching a breaking point.

Last June, a packed room heard ConU Interim President Frederick Lowy promise to warm the relationship between the administration and students, as well as between the admin and the faculty.

While we can’t comment on how the teachers and their bosses are getting along these days, there seems to be no improvement between the admin and the students. If anything, we’re becoming more like that awkward couple that has shouting matches in public.

At various points this year, members of the Board have mused that having an audience to Board meetings may be a bad idea.

They’ve told student governors that they’re “pissing people off,” and that because of this, reasonable proposals may get voted down; they’ve told students that democracy is only good for the school some of the time and that transparency doesn’t necessarily lead to good governance.

After the last BoG meeting, in which proposals to have the meetings filmed and broadcast were voted down, that message is getting through—loud and clear.

Worse, it’s affecting the students’ relationship with the school in other spheres: Concordia, via Provost David Graham, has said they will not honour any general student strike—the first of which is potentially less than a month away, pending a General Assembly in which students will vote.

It’s times like this when transparency is vital: students need to understand the decision-making process of this school, keep an eye on their representatives to make sure they’re doing their job and generally hold the decision-makers’ feet to the fire.

While we in the student media do our best, don’t you think it would be better if you could just see what’s going on for yourselves? Don’t you think you deserve that?

On Feb. 10, get up early—the meeting’s at 8:00 a.m.—and show up to room 2.260 of the EV Building. If you can’t be there, try finding footage online. It will be popping up.

And if you’re reading this, BoG members: don’t forget to smile for the cameras.

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