Steep Against the Machine

überculture Holds Third Annual Tea-In For Public Space

Members of überculture are putting Concordia’s new public space policy into question. Photo Christopher Curtis

Armed with a thermos and bags of Earl Grey, überculture took a stand for student-friendly public space in Concordia’s Hall building on Sept. 16.

überculture—a student-run organization that advocates for the public reclamation of public space—served tea in the Hall building lobby to promote discussion about Concordia’s ambiguous new public space policy.

Under the university’s new policy, all temporary use of public space must be reserved in advance through Concordia’s booking system. When The Link asked Concordia’s VP Services to define a temporary use of public space, he came up with five different answers.

“[Concordia VP Services] Michael DiGrappa can’t come up with a clear definition for the temporary use of public space,” said Lex Gill, one of the event organizers. “This is student space and we shouldn’t have to clear everything we do with security.”

The tea-in was überculture’s third since 2008, when security called police after they could not force participants to disperse from the lobby. This year’s event attracted about 20 students, including Concordia Student Union President Heather Lucas and VP External and Projects Adrien Severyns, who both expressed support for überculture’s event.

Security never came by and the tea-in went ahead without any snags.

Gill also voiced opposition to what she said was an increasingly corporatized campus.

“It seems as though Concordia’s administration gives precedence over public space to corporations,” said Gill.
“Last week, during orientation, TD Bank handed out credit
cards to students. We got our hands on some and just cut them up.”

Chris Mota, the university’s spokesperson, said überculture is blowing the new policy out of proportion.

“All we’ve done is formalize our public space policy,” she said. “I don’t see what the issue is here.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 06, published September 21, 2010.