From the Archives

We dig through our archives for the obscure, random and memorable moments of Montreal & Concordia history.

  • The CFS Saga

    The current legal fight between the Concordia Student Union and the Canadian Federation of Students reflects their rocky relationship since the CSU joined the CFS.

    Immediately following the victory of the 1998 referendum to join, CSU councillor Al Feldman alleged that ineligible students voted in the referendum and that the CFS violated the election regulations by “providing the “Yes” committee with campaign workers who were not actually electors.”

    In February 2010, as the CSU was preparing a defederation campaign from the CSF, the federation claimed the CSU owed them more than $1 million in outstanding fees.

    In March 2010, the CFS bought a full-page ad in The Link lobbying a “No” vote in the defederation referendum. So on the next page, then Editor-in-Chief Terrine Friday argued in favour of defederation, pointing out the lack of services by the CFS, high fees ($1.23 per class) and a bylaw passed by the CFS before the referendum preventing more than two member-associations from holding a defederation referendum within a three-month period.

    At the time, she noted that “defederation petitions and lawsuits have been filled […] There are 13 schools in all.”

    “Is the $700 of your money that the CFS spent on this ad enough to buy your vote?” concluded Friday.

    For more on the rocky relationship between the CSU and CFS, read the story in our News section with a timeline of major events.

  • Bouchard’s Youth Summit on Education

    The Education Summit promised by the Parti Québécois is only weeks away.

    Universities, student associations and the Education Minister are gearing up in a context of recent cuts to education for this fiscal year.

    The fight over universities’ funding is recurrent in Quebec, and similar summits have happened before. In February 2000, the Bouchard government decided to organize a Youth Summit in Quebec City.

    But the summit didn’t happened as planned. When students showed up around the Centre des Congrès, the police tossed a copious amount of tear gas canisters (at least 20 according to The Link ’s reporter).

    In response, some students starting throwing rocks and other objects at the police, resulting in complete mayhem.

    While the police claimed the students initiated the confrontation, footage of the incident proved otherwise.

    “On Thursday morning, Le Devoir wrote that the images shown on CTV and CBC confirmed that the police had in fact sent the tear gas before the demonstrators started their physical hostility,” wrote Link reporter Pierre-Olivier Savoie.

    The students were protesting the summit, which they saw as a PR stunt by the government since a very limited number of students were allowed to speak.

    “Premier Lucien Bouchard might love them, but summits are not a healthy way to govern a society. And this week’s Youth Summit provided further evidence . Lobby groups haggled behind closed doors,” wrote Josée Legault in The Gazette following the end of the summit.

    In April 2000, The Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec leaked a document from the Ministry of Education revealing a new plan to tie a university’s funding to their performance.

    The schools would have to sign “performance contracts” directly linking numbers such as employment rate amongst recent graduates, to the level of funding received.

    The proposal generated a lot of anger among professors and students in most universities—except within Concordia’s administration.

    Cue this cover by The Link.

    “Schools would have to guarantee the rate of employment among graduates and the number of courses professors teach. That means less art and the more burnt-out profs,” read the cover of issue The Link. “Most universities are aghast at the government’s interference, but Concordia can’t wait to sign on the dotted line.”

    Twelve years ago, Legault concluded her column about the youth summit saying, “This is the first time in a century that a generation is poorer than the preceding one. And things are not about to get better. So, could we kindly get a consensus that if education is essential, the battle against growing precariousness should be the ultimate priority of any government?”

    Let’s hope the upcoming summit goes better than this one did.

  • The Polytechnique Shooting

    Thirteen years ago, on Dec. 6, 1989, an armed man entered Montreal’s École Polytechnique and went on a shooting rampage, killing 14 women and injuring 14 other people.

    The motives of the killer—specifically targeting women—and the methodical nature of the killing shocked the entire country.

    Five days later, the 14 women were given a national funeral.

    The massacre resulted in a countrywide reflection about acts of violence perpetrated against women, and since then, Dec. 6 has been a national day of remembrance and action when it comes to violence against women.

    A week after the shooting, The Link and The McGill Daily came out with a joint issue—a very rare thing.

    “In the wake of last Wednesday’s massacre, some members of Montreal’s student press agreed it would be fitting to collaborate on a joint issue. Students from UQAM, McGill and Concordia have come together to put their thoughts and feelings on paper,” read the opening of the joint issue.

    The issue features 10 articles in English and in French, not only focusing on the massacre but also on bigger issues of violence against women.

  • CUTV’s Troubled History

    It’s not the first time that CUTV, the oldest student-run TV station in Canada, has found itself in trouble. After a string of resignations, the station is now left with only one person sitting on the provisional Board of Directors instead of the three required under Quebec law.

    Click through the above photos to learn about past management issues the campus and community TV station has gone through.

    In 2001, the Concordia Student Union took control of CUTV after approximately $2,000 went missing.

    “Chris [Schulz] just suddenly showed up with Sabine [Friesinger, at the time CSU VP Internal], and the judicial board papers. He said ‘get your stuff, you’re not going to be able to come back in here,’” said Olivia Gottlieb, the CUTV executive producer in 2001.

    But fast-forward 11 years and the tables have turned—Friesinger is currently the only CUTV board member left.

    “When you look at CUTV’s past, there seems to be a pattern of problems that seems to get passed on from group to the next,” then Judicial Board Chair Patrick Gilmore told The Link in 2001.

    —with files from Lisa Cipriani

  • The Student Centre

    Looking in the archives, it’s evident the issue of student space at Concordia and the project of a student centre is nothing new.

    Jan. 29, 1985: Plans for a new Student Centre on the Mezzanine of the Hall Building, due to the new Library Building plan freeing up space.

    2000: “The Space Plan” suggests Student Services, clubs and associations to move from Hall Building to the GM Building. The student associations rebel, calling for a student centre between the GM and the future EV building.

    June 2003: The Concordia Student Union sends the Dean of Students a Space Plan Analysis for the Mezzanine, the Greening of the Hall Building Terrace—to be completed by August 2003. The budget for the mezzanine is $15,000 and the greening has a $10,000 budget. In other words, those four bench/planter hybrids you smoke and sit at are $10,000 worth of student space.

    2003: The student body votes to institute a $1 per credit levy towards a student centre on the SGW campus.

    May 29, 2009: After starting up the Student Centre project with a CSU/Admin working committee, former CSU president Keyana Kashfi signs an agreement with Concordia

    March 2010: 72 per cent of Concordians vote against paying an additional $2.50 per credit to fund a Student Centre. No locations for the site of the centre are revealed by the CSU before the vote.

    Nov. 2010: Sixty-nine per cent of voting students reject an increase to a staggered Student Centre fee levy. Over $7 million has been collected in fees to date. The Link reveals that the Faubourg shopping centre is the destination.

    Throughout the Student Centre campaign, former CSU executives have been resolute that the building would give students greater decision-making power and autonomous ownership over our space.

    But if you read the contract, it’s been made legally apparent how this space might actually work—the administration will retain 100 per cent control over it.

    September 2011: The CSU council unanimously reject the Faubourg as a student centre. Council also voted to take the then $8-million-fund out of Concordia’s responsibility to Scotiabank.

    October 2011: $160,000—the interest generated by the student centre fund in one year— is spent on a space study.

    Today: The topic of the student centre is put back on the table by the CSU and reveal the results of a student space survey.

    — with files from Laura Beeston