Space Man

ConU’s Good Decision Just Out of This World

  • Graphic by Paku Daoust-Cloutier

Something crazy happened last week.

For the first time in recent memory, Concordia administration made a prudent, difficult decision on an important issue, dropping all security-related charges against students for their actions during the student strike in March.

Anyone paying attention to Concordia’s administration over the last few years could be forgiven for having to sit down and process the information. Simply put, the university and its higher-ups have gotten a bit of a rep for doing the wrong thing lately. It would be a comedy of errors if it wasn’t so frequently just a tragedy of errors.

Two consecutive presidents hired and fired in less time than it takes to complete an undergrad. Millions of dollars tossed out the window on departing administrators.

Board of Governors members staying years past their term limits. A two-million dollar fine from the provincial government. The infamous “culture of contempt” that an independent report found at the university.

When Concordia President Alan Shepard was hired in early May, there was dancing in the aisles. Finally, Concordia had got their high-profile candidate to lead them out of their low-rankings slump: none other than the first American in space.

And when it turned out that this was a different Alan Shepard than the deceased American astronaut, and that, compounding their error, Concordia had not hired the first Canadian in space, Marc
Garneau, Liberal Member of Parliament for the Westmount—Ville-Marie riding (in which Concordia is located) the dancing in the aisles was lessened.

Having never been to space, could this Alan Shepard bring the goods?

But a few hours after copies of last week’s The Link hit newsstands, including Graduate Students’ Association President Daria Saryan’s letter to Shepard, calling for the charges to be done away with, that’s just what happened. He brought the goods! Like magic! If only Concordia started working like this more often.

The construction ongoing on the Hall Building’s elevators might have been finished before the fall semester started—or, say, years ago. Concordia might have resolved the ongoing disputes with, oh, most of the unions its workers belong to.

Heck, we might get back some student representation on the Board of Governors, if all it takes is for the president of the Graduates Students Association to write a pointed letter.

Now, some people—the so-called “reasonable” ones—might argue that there was more to it than that. That Shepard’s decision came as a result of months of discussions between the university admin, the GSA and the Concordia Student Union, and that the proximity of Shepard’s response to the publication of the letter was only “coincidental.”

People will believe anything, these days. For those of you with your heads on straight, let this be the moral of the tale: If you need something done at this school, you just need to know the right channels to go through.

Next time you’re stuck behind some doofus standing on the left side of the escalator, just say a silent prayer to the GSA. If they take mercy on your plight, someone will write a letter to Alan Shepard, and you’ll be set.

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