Sanction Scrutiny

Dear elected officials,
(Please don’t take this as an attack)

You need to start talking to us. The proper relationship between the press and student government extends far beyond what is printed on these pages.

When we ask you if everything is okay, don’t shrug it off if it’s not.

When Concordia Student Union VP Finance Zhuo Ling was asked about our page three story last week regarding the ATMs at Reggie’s, he told The Link that everything was okay.

Two days later, he wrote a letter that said inflammatory things about The Link’s brand of journalism, levelled several strong allegations at the journalists who wrote the story and made unfortunate criticisms of our funding.

That was the first we had heard from the CSU about our top story last week.

I wish I could say that this was the first time our elected officials let us down, but it wasn’t. Three weeks ago, President Heather Lucas and her administration sent The Link two letters about articles that were in our paper the week before.

They never tried calling us before publishing the letters, they never opened a dialogue about their concerns or, it seems, even listened to the valid criticism we were putting forth. Instead, the CSU’s response was to deflect criticism and stay the wrong course.

Perhaps they should listen now.

The factual errors in our ATM story last week were due to their VP Finance. He told us facts and figures that were wrong and didn’t give us the corporation’s budget, although we’ve been requesting it for the last month. While we wish your VP Finance were more careful with numbers, this kind of thing happens.

Errors are human.

Ling has since retracted his letter and apologized, but in the process, we published a story that misinformed students. The ATMs have been in Reggie’s for at least 13 years, but former CSU VP Finance Andre Leroy didn’t play the role the story said he did with the ATMs. For that we have apologized to Leroy.

Now, we are left with new questions and a bigger problem: CUSACorp, as the CSU’s for-profit arm, has operated outside of larger student oversight for some time.
By larger student oversight, I mean the people outside of the CSU and Council.

Almost 400 issues of The Link have been printed since ATMs were rolled out at Reggie’s—that’s 160 million pages of ATM-free criticism. We’ve never mentioned it once and not from a lack of interest.
CUSACorp needs better accounting of its assets, its liabilities and its investments, or something with more substance than a three line summary budget. I’m not asking for the profit margin of each gin and tonic, but if you want to make it that detailed, I certainly won’t protest.

If you want to understand what you need to be accountable for, come and drop by.

We haven’t given up on you CSU.

Give us a call.

—Justin Giovannetti,

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 07, published September 28, 2010.