Opt-in to the Concordia Community

To the Concordia University undergraduate community,

As you are probably aware, there is a referendum question on the ballot this election regarding the funding of fee-levy associations, which could have serious consequences for student-run organizations such as The Link.

As the Board of Directors of The Link Publication Society (TLPS), we have been following the situation developing around fee-levy groups with avid interest and increasing concern over the last few months.

Our worry is not only for this impending vote, but also for the future of fee-levy groups on campus in general. Funding—or defunding—these groups on a per-faculty basis, we fear, could mark the beginnings of an eventual decline that would harm Concordia’s student life.

We believe that student groups are an integral part of making our campus an active, engaged and enlightened place to learn and be.

This is why we urge you not to make a blanket statement or set a precedent with this vote.

Creating disincentives for future students in your faculty to get involved, and financially sweeping away a tradition of support is not the solution to making our groups stronger, more accountable or better able to serve your needs.

Besides, we can all benefit from our groups if we implicate ourselves within them in a meaningful way.

When you walk out of here, your degree will be worth far more to future employers if you’ve shown initiative on campus. An involved student body makes Concordia University look good, too. (In 2003, the seminal Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities listed _The Link _as part of ‘What’s Hot’ about Concordia, for example.) And these groups offer students a number of practical opportunities that you simply cannot gain from a classroom experience.

Fee-levy groups allow students—from every department or discipline—to get out of their segregated-by-faculty buildings, meet and build something together. Fee-levy groups are a testament to the value that we place in being a collective, and creating a campus that serves the needs and interests of our diverse student body.

Year after year, TLPS will hear from our alumni and contributors that getting involved with the student newspaper has enriched their university experience for the better and given them skills, colleagues and friends they may have otherwise missed.

Most importantly, what would Concordia’s student life even look like without these groups? What if there was one less opportunity for cross-faculty cooperation and school spirit? At a time when student space is at a premium (or, some would argue, in decline), this is another hugely important consideration implicated in this vote.

Disinvesting in student groups—and student life, more generally—is not the solution to the legitimate criticism being levied at student groups, nor does it excuse work that could be done within the university to serve you better.

Undeniably, there are groups that need the services and skills you are learning in school—but they can only improve with your involvement.

The beauty of the current system also means that if you feel your interests aren’t represented by a current group, you can start something new yourself and will be financially supported by the community—just as you support the interests of others by paying into these groups. And if you’re still not convinced that student groups are for you, there are already mechanisms in place to get your money back.

This is why we urge you not to impose a blanket choice to support or disinvest in student groups on behalf of your entire faculty. Concordia University is enriched by student involvement.

Join us in keeping Concordia’s student life active and engaged by voting “no” in the per-faculty fee levy referendum question from March 25 to March 27 so that we can continue to make Concordia a community, not simply a university.

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