CSU Seizing Chance to Make Big Announcements

News About Daycares, Rappers and Accessible Education

Graphic Morag Rahn Campbell

The Concordia Student Union is trying to have a good ass intro to the school year.

This past Wednesday, the council of the CSU approved a motion to hire a project coordinator to apply for a Quebec daycare permit. The news follows a recent announcement that the undergraduate student union is co-hosting and partially funding a talk featuring Chicago rapper Chancellor Bennett, known by his stage name Chance the Rapper, on Oct. 21.

Council also approved to have a referendum question in its next by-election that will ask to oppose any future increase to tuition and auxiliary university fees for all Concordia students.  

Oh Baby, Baby

Disclosure of where the daycare will be is expected at the next council session, according to CSU President Terry Wilkings. “It will be a very attractive space for students,” he said in an interview last month.

The CSU has been working with Concordia to rezone a university space for the initiative. Roger Côté, Concordia’s Vice President of Services, received a daycare business plan from the student union last month.

“We’d like to have the daycare welcoming student-parents in Sept. 2016,” Wilkings said.

The motion on Wednesday asked for $5,000 from the Student Space, Accessible Education and Legal Contingency fund (SSAELC) to hire Pauline Gervais and a “collaborator.”

Gervais has to complete and submit 12 documents to the Quebec’s Department of Family, including a mission and values statement, operational logistics and plans for the space arrangements.

To complete the daycare’s education plan, an expert in the area will collaborate with Gervais. A second motion at CSU’s council meeting passed requesting $2,000 from the SSAELC fund to pay the permit application fees.

The CSU consulted Gervais during the project’s earlier stages. She has experience working with McGill’s student union for the creation of its daycare, according to Marion Miller, CSU VP Academic and Advocacy.       

The daycare will not be subsidized through Quebec’s non-profit daycare system (CPE), but will look to take advantage of new provincial tax breaks, Wilkings said. The government announced $56 million in cuts to the CPE budget in 2013.

Miller completed a market survey of the daycares within two kilometres of the university and has been coordinating a survey for student-parents about their specific childcare needs. Approximately 250 individuals responded to the survey, according to Miller. The CSU is aiming to provide affordable, below-market rates for their daycare service, Wilkings said.  

Lessons from Chi-Town

Chancelor Bennett a.k.a. Chance the Rapper will be a guest speaker in the Hall building this upcoming Wednesday night.

Yassin Alsalman, a local rapper and professor of Concordia’s “Hip-Hop: Past, Present and Future” class, reached out to the CSU for financial support to make the event a reality, according to VP Student Life John Talbot.

Funding for the talk comes out of the annual student life budget, which is approximately $18,000 this year, Talbot said.

The fee to have Chance appear at Concordia couldn’t be discussed due to a potential non-disclosure agreement, he added.  

The CSU partnered with the Sociology and Anthropology Student Association and Fine Arts Student Alliance to help cover the costs.

Chance is performing at Olympia after the talk. His work titled “Acid Rap” was nominated for best mixtape at the 2013 BET Hip-Hop Awards.   

“I think Chance is cool, because he’s young and an independent rapper who is not dominated by labels,” Talbot said. “I’m interested to ask him questions about DIY ethics in hip-hop and whether he embraced any of those ideals.”   

Alsalman will lead a discussion with Chance for the first hour, which will be followed by a 45 minute Q&A with the audience, Talbot said. Attendance for the event is on a first-come-first-served basis, but students of Alsalman’s hip-hop class will have priority entrance.

Talbot said he hopes to coordinate more hip-hop related talks with Alsalman in the future. “Yassin has a lot of connections … he also already named dropped Kanye West … we’ll see where this takes us,” Talbot wrote in his October executive report to council.       

Education For All

In the next CSU byelection, a question will ask student voters whether they approve their union to adopt an “accessible education” position that opposes any increase to tuition and auxiliary fees.

This position will advocate for Quebec residents, out-of-province Canadians and international students. Supporting documentation outlining the motion in full will be present at ballot stations.

The last time the CSU took an accessible education position was in the November 2011 by-elections in response to a tuition hike of $1,625. The purpose of taking the position is to make sure the CSU has a broader, overarching stance rather than a reaction to a timely incident like in 2011, according to Gabriel Velasco, VP External.