Making Campus More Accessible

CSU to Install Baby Changing Tables on Campus, Pass Special Motion Of Tolerance

The Concordia Student Council met on Nov. 25. Photo Josh Fischlin

Dirty diapers beware—the Concordia Student Union is moving forward with a pilot project to install baby changing tables on the downtown campus.

The CSU council also passed a motion in an attempt to foster an atmosphere of tolerance towards religious minorities on campus.

Both motions were passed unanimously at a regular council meeting on Nov. 25.

The push for an increase in campus accessibility for student-parents is coming after a referendum vote that allowed for a reallocation of money to balance the daycare budget. The vote
passed with 743 “yes” votes, 201 “no” votes and 156 abstentions.

“I think it shows a renewed support for this marginalized population on campus,” Marion Miller, VP Academic and Advocacy said of referendum results. “We already had a really good result last fall, but now we’re asking for really material support and a permanent financing.”

The CSU also recently had their zoning permit approved by the Ville-Marie municipality, which will allow the space to be renovated. A dossier detailing all of the daycare plans—to be submitted to the Minister of Families—is still being put together in order to secure the actual daycare permit.

Baby Changing Tables

The CSU is looking to increase accessibility on campus for student-parents by placing two baby changing tables on the seventh floor bathrooms of the Hall building.

“What we’re kind of hoping is that this will set the example for the university to start installing more [baby changing tables],” Miller said.

The idea to install baby changing tables came about during a discussion with the Concordia University Student Parent Centre in June regarding the daycare, Miller said.

It will take $1,000 from the Student Space, Accessible Education and Legal Contingency fund to finance the project. Each unit will cost around $300, according to Miller.

The decision to put the tables in the seventh floor bathrooms came about due to the high level of traffic in the space, Miller said.

There are baby changing tables already installed in certain bathrooms in the EV and the MB buildings, according to university spokesperson Chris Mota.

The Hall building tables should be installed before the winter reading week, Miller said.

A welcome donation

A professor from the engineering department decided to make their own contribution to the initiative by donating three boxes full of Mega Bloks.

Mega Bloks are large Legotype toys that are used by the engineering students, but Miller believes their utility for the department has run its course.

“I think its pretty age appropriate,” Miller said. According to her, once construction of the daycare is complete, the CSU will look towards purchasing more toys.

“I don’t think we can amuse 52 kids with just the Mega Bloks, but it is a good start,” she said.

Promotion of tolerance

The CSU also passed a motion on Thursday to help promote tolerance on campus following the Daesh attacks in Paris.

“This motion expresses not only solidarity with those that are grieving right now, or who may be in a state of fear,” said John Talbot, CSU VP Student Life. “It also acts as a way to counter the aggressions and xenophobic atmospheres that have come out of our own community.”

He cited recent acts of intolerance that have been perpetrated against Muslims across the globe, including an incident where a Toronto woman was attacked for wearing a scarf that resembled a hijab.

“This climate that might be festering in our own communities is something important to resist, and we really wanted to use our voice and take a stand against it,” Talbot said.

In order for the motion to be more than a symbolic gesture, he suggested that councillors and other groups spread the promotion of tolerance throughout social media in order to generate a discourse on campus.

Concordia students are generally aware and concerned with world events that affect various cultures and religious communities, Miller said.

“I think that’s why we felt it was important to underline that there had been events happening internationally, but they also had ramifications in the local community,” she explained.

In order to avoid hostility and intimidation on campus, the CSU decided to push for tolerance in their official Positions Book.

“We kind of heard the echoes, and so we made sure to sit down with the more specifically targeted communities to hear what was going on,” Miller explained. “To see if we could write something collectively—that it would at least be a symbolic recognition of the situation and a call to move beyond that and to foster safer spaces.”

Various groups on campus were consulted for the wording of the motion.

Noor Salah, president of the Muslim Student Association, said the CSU are sincere and concerned by what might trouble the Muslim students.

“We are also thankful that they approached us to discuss the motion before drafting it,” Salah said in a statement.

The motion of tolerance passed unanimously.