Concordia Doesn’t Want You to See The Link

Graphic Graeme Shorten Adams

As the student media, our role only matters if we can get the word out to students.

Concordia has plans to make that a lot harder to do, and they’ve sprung it on us with only a month left before students return for the fall semester.

On July 24, university officials and members of both The Link and The Concordian’s mastheads met for what was described as a “walkabout” to discuss the location of our newspaper distribution boxes for the next year.

While we had been invited in writing “to determine the best places to establish newspaper racks,” we were instead told our newspaper racks weren’t part of Concordia’s plan.

We were told our distribution boxes in the Hall building lobby and mezzanine—our most used distribution points on campus—would be removed, and that the plan is to put our newspaper at the end of new wooden boxes, one of which currently houses trash bins.

They’ve already built one, but we don’t imagine you’ll ever see it on your way to class.

The Link currently has two distribution boxes in the mezzanine and six in the Hall lobby, and Concordia’s administration plans to replace those with five in total, to hold both student newspapers. That will reduce our distribution by nearly 40 per cent where we have some of our best pick-up on campus.

If the current plan goes forward, good luck finding them when the building’s filled with busy students.

Two of these garbage boxes are planned to be tucked away under the stairs, out of sight and out of mind, and a third will be by the stairwell down to the D.B. Clarke Theatre. Instead of being able to pick up The Link on your way through the lobby, you’ll have to go into a dark corner by the elevators.

Instead of being in high-traffic areas, our newspapers will sit by the security desk and a theatre that most students never visit.

According to the administration, changing the way The Link is distributed is part of a plan to revamp the Hall building. Pushing us into a corner where no one can see us is apparently part of this plan.

We’ll be near the elevators, even though another administrator taking part in the “walkabout” pointed out, “We want to discourage people from using the elevators.”

The current plan is actively putting our distribution boxes in places where they don’t want people to go.

We were told that the administration has been trying to crack down on the distribution of unsanctioned publications on campus. Great. The administration’s way of dealing with this? Not so great.

They plan to slap the Concordia logo next to ours on these new distribution centres, alongside a statement about how only university-sanctioned publications may distribute on campus.

So, to stop other publications from being on campus, Concordia’s solution is to reduce the space and visibility of student newspapers.

They want to place their logo next to ours on the distribution box, as if we are in some way affiliated. As an independent newspaper we are supported financially by students, receive no money from the university and are not endorsed by them in any way, shape or form.

With the popularity of these locations, slashing our visibility in the Hall Building doesn’t just mean we risk losing readers, it also means we risk losing advertisers who help keep us afloat. We would also need to refill these boxes throughout the week, since there would be fewer boxes, and they can hold at best half as many issues as our current ones do.

At a time when the university is claiming it’s underfunded, why are they choosing to waste money on shiny glass panes and veneer when we already have boxes that work just fine? It makes no financial sense, and if it’s an attempt to make us disappear from Concordia’s visual landscape, it won’t work. Getting our boxes to match Concordia’s aesthetic plan should in no way change their location, or reduce their visibility.

If you have an issue with reducing the visibility of The Link on campus, we urge you to contact Dean of Students Andrew Woodall. Call his office at 514-848-2424, ext. 3520 or email him at andrew.woodall@concordia.ca to tell him that you think The Link deserves to be seen by students moving through the Hall Building, and that the Concordia logo has no place on our distribution boxes.

We’re not going anywhere, even if we’re not part of the administration’s plan.

Editor’s Note: Concordia Communication Services has expressed that the plans for student newspaper distribution in the Hall Building lobby and mezzanine are not final. We will continue to advocate for no reduction in the number of distribution points, their size, location and/or visibility, in addition to our continued objection to the Concordia logo on our boxes.