Stuck on specifics

Your story “Student union addresses concerns with student centre” (Vol. 30, Iss. 29, Apr. 6) contained statements by Alex Oster regarding the Student Centre Agreement which are misleading or false.

The Student Centre Agreement, signed by former Concordia Student Union President Keyana Kashfi, states plainly and repeatedly that Concordia University will be the sole owner of the building. It says so in the preamble, and it says so in the body of the agreement (e.g., 4.14, 13.03 ©, 13.04, 26.14 (b)). The specific purpose of the University’s ownership, as opposed to co-ownership or CSU ownership, is not explicitly stated. The foundation is never mentioned, except where it is defined as a “university-related person” to which the university may lease space.

Management of the building will fall to a committee made up of CSU and university appointees called the Board of Co-Management. No fewer than twenty-three (23) specified University policies, including regulations controlling postering, distribution of publications, filming and photography, emergency response and requiring minimum security for events, will apply to the whole building including student space, and will supersede any decisions taken by the Board of Co-Management. Moreover, this list can only be changed by a unanimous vote of the Board of Co-Management, so the university can veto any change.

As to the figure of 32 per cent, it is simply wrong. The calculation in Appendix A provides the university with 38 per cent (38 per cent is also the number in the Agreement’s section 1.69) Another six per cent for “Student Life Administration” is inexplicably counted as CSU space.

Oster’s statement that “all this preamble stuff, if you’re in a court of law, is not meant to influence the interpretation of specific articles regarding who controls what and who contributes to what,” is incorrect. The preamble sets out the purpose of the agreement, and contains explicit instructions as to how the agreement is to be interpreted.

The Link’s statement (and the Fusion slate’s campaign promise) that if students vote for the increase they “can expect a $43 million student centre on the downtown campus in January 2011” directly contradicts what the university has had to say about the project.

According to the 4 June 2009 Concordia Journal, “The specific site is yet to be chosen and is hoped to be determined by 2012. The eventual target date for its opening is 2015.”

I call on The Link to publish an independent, objective analysis of this agreement and its context.

_Robert Sonin,
MA Philosophy_

This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 30, Issue 30, published April 13, 2010.

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