More on the CSU and Concordia admin

12.08.02

The following comes courtesy of an e-mail from Jon, and explains further the distinction between the two legally separate bodies:

Everyone who gets upset with what’s going on at Concordia blames the administration, but they are totally powerless on the issue. The CSU is a separate and legal institution, and as such the admin has no recourse against them unless they start breaking laws. I know that it’s hard to understand, because the CSU is ON university premises, and therefore people wonder why the admin just doesn’t step in and stop them.

Problem is, the CSU successfully won an “accreditation” vote in September 2000, which gave it official status as the representative of Concordia undergrad students. It legally owns it’s office space on the 6th floor, it owns the Reggie’s space, it owns the Java U space, it co-owns the Mezz space on the 2nd floor, it owns the Hive at Loyola, and it collects approximately $600,000 from students every year, which is part of it’s annual overall budget of approximately $1.2 million. This is not a trivial student club; it is a powerful, legal, and resourceful institution that is being run by legally elected members of the student body. The admin is literally not allowed to step in and do anything to it unless it has just cause. And as long as whatever the CSU is doing only affects students, the admin can’t do a damn thing: in the eyes of the law it’s up to the students to change things because they’re the members of the student union.

So, as a result, it’s pointless to attack the admin because they are the CSU’s BIGGEST enemy, and the enemy of your enemy is your friend. Trust me when I tell you that if the admin could take down the union in ANY way possible they’d do it at the drop of a hat.

In other words, the fight is against the CSU, not the Concordia admin. The real change needs to come at the ballot box.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 harry 12.08.02 at 10:50 AM

I was an pro-Israel activist at SUNY Albany in the early nineties. Granted, nothing I experienced can be compared to what the Jewish students of Concordia are going through today.

We did though experience a large amount of anti-Semitism masked as anti-Zionism by the student government. There wasn’t a large Arab community on my campus but rather radical African-Americans, “socialists” and communists.

It was also pre and post Oslo so there was a lot of hope in the air so anti-Israel activity was at a minimum.

For the most part the student population was incredibly apathetic to student politics. We ran about ten candidates for Central Council, the legaslative branch of the Student Association. We campaigned our asses off. Focusing on segments of the student population who had no voice whatsoever. The athletes, the republicans and many, many drinking buddies. We even ran non-Jewish friends of ours. We managed to get eight seats in the election and were able to build a coalition with other moderate council members. It made all the difference in the world. Two members got their way onto the budget committee and looked out for our interests and other moderate elements of the student population.

You are absolutely right when you say the real change needs to come at the ballot box. It has happened before and can happen again. The students must target the largest group of students on campus to be successful. That group is “Students who do nothing” of course!

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2 Shlinkin 12.08.02 at 12:43 PM

While it is true that the CSU and Admin are at odds, and while it is also true that the admin can’t control the CSU, there is something that the admin CAN do which they refuse to do: use their moral authority to combat the CSU. Free speech is important, yada yada yada, but there is no reason why the admin can’t use its own free speech to condemn the CSU as the virulent anti-semites that the entire school knows them to be. This failure to speak out against the CSU’s activities reminds one of the silence of the German and Austrian universities as the aryan youth began their judenrein activites. This is the major failure of the admin.

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3 Lent 12.08.02 at 10:51 PM

“Yup. Pass the buck and blame the administration. It’s not like the Jewish students at Concordia or the community at large didn’t know this was coming.”

Ah yes. Let me draw an historical analogy and replace some names: “It’s not as if the Jews in Germany in the 30’s didn’t see it coming.” What in the heck does that have to do with the price of tea in China? So then we can conveniently blame the victims for a pathology (anti-Semitism)? Or is it the case that the University has remained silent for fear that asserting a position against these currents wouldn’t conform to a PC code of silence because it would cause the University to particularly single out Arab Islamic students?

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4 Dave 12.09.02 at 1:54 AM

Yup. Pass the buck and blame the administration. It’s not like the Jewish students at Concordia or the community at large didn’t know this was coming. The CSA reps have been more and more outrageous in their anti-zionist and anti-Jewish incitements. The last election would have been the perfect opportunity to make their voices heard on the ballot box. It wouldn’t have been hard – less than 10% of the student population actually votes. All of this could have been nipped in the bud with a couple of weeks of work and organization. This represents a failure of leadership.

What leadership? The local federation united all the anglophone Hillels under one umbrella (easier to control). There is a Hillel Montreal President and he’s based out of McGill. I’m sure Yoni is a great guy and all that but it was funny how quickly the Concordia Hillel president ceded the podium to Yoni during the candle lighting imbroglio.

We’re not developing leaders at Concordia. Without local leadership familiar with the inner workings of both the University and the Student administration and bureaucracy, we as a community have allowed the hijacking of the CSU by a bunch of extremists. We could have done something about this last year. We didn’t. We can still do something about this this year. But who’s going to step up? Is there anyone at Hillel Concordia up to the challenge?

Concordia Hillel used to have a permanent staff person representing continuity. Concordia Hillel used to have its own Jewish student leadership, not subservient in any way to that of McGill Hillel. Federation and the Hillel leadership have seen fit to change all this. That was dumb. DUMB, DUMB, DUMB. Now we are suffering the consequences.

You want to ask me who’s at fault? We are. The extremists on the CSU and their Palestinian cohorts are simply following their own conscience. They have always had clearly articulated policies and they are carrying them out.

What are we doing? Shooting ourselves in the foot with short sighted policies. J’accuse the Federation fat cats and their toadies the Hillel Board of Directors. You were supposed to inspire and develop leadership. Not eviscerate it!

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5 ronnie schreiber 12.09.02 at 1:55 AM

[The CSU] collects approximately $600,000 from students every year, which is part of it’s annual overall budget of approximately $1.2 million.

I wonder what’s their budget for legal fees? They are going to find out that defending their position is going to start costing money. I’m sure that Hillel has some heavyweight legal help.

The administration could have more backbone but their statement on the issue makes it clear that they’re going to let CSU twist slowly in the wind. If the CSU feels that it cannot carry out its legal responsibilities in a manner that is fair and equitable, and if they believe that they require help to do so, then they may turn to the government for help in the form of a government-appointed trustee who would be legally empowered to oversee the CSU.

That’s pretty rich sarcasm for a college administration.

Of course a forthright condemnation of the bullying tactics of the campus barbarians might be a bit much to ask.

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6 Dave 12.09.02 at 2:11 AM

“Ah yes. Let me draw an historical analogy and replace some names: “It’s not as if the Jews in Germany in the 30’s didn’t see it coming.” What in the heck does that have to do with the price of tea in China?”

Lent – I’m sure your heart is in the right place. But now you’re playing the holocaust card which ought to make everything you say correct. But it doesn’t. Comparing the CSU to nazis? Now really…your analogy is weak if not outright offensive.

I’m not saying that Hillel created the anti-semitism. I am saying that Concordia Hillel’s students could easily have rid themselves of this piddeling problem had they had some leadership and direction. Instead they allowed a tiny irrelevant portion of the student population to take over the CSU and create these massive headaches. I am also saying that this leadership vaccuum was caused by the Hillel board of Directors and Federation policies.

As for the administration, had you read their statement properly, you would have read as damning an indictment of the CSU as has ever been written. And while your self-righteous moral indignation demands a target, I would urge you to target the right parties.

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7 Dave 12.09.02 at 2:16 AM

“If the CSU feels that it cannot carry out its legal responsibilities in a manner that is fair and equitable, and if they believe that they require help to do so, then they may turn to the government for help in the form of a government-appointed trustee who would be legally empowered to oversee the CSU.

That’s pretty rich sarcasm for a college administration.”

That’s not sarcasm. In this key statement, the Administration, wisely seeing through the CSUs idiotic ruse, states that the CSU is incapable of running itself. Oy. It’s like no one understands anything….

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8 Lent 12.09.02 at 5:09 AM

I agree with Shlinkin as I’ve said on a couple of other posts on this issue. The University administration must provide the leadership to root out this anti-Semitic fever gripping portions of our universities. The area of this fever is found amongst the Arab Islamic students who have joined at the hip with leftists in promoting their bash-Israel agenda. And guys like Mate are the incipient Finklesteins, Shahaks, Illan Papes, of the world who help feed an always resident anti-Semitic element in our world.

If the University wants to play the legal sphere issue then they have missed the point of where these currents are heading and how to stop them.

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9 Lent 12.09.02 at 5:31 PM

“In the university’s opinion, the current sanctions against Hillel are wholly disproportionate and should be modified.”

Oh yes. That’s a really convincing position the University has taken. Sorry, it’s about as limp wristed an assertion one would expect from a PC-ridden administration.

” But now you’re playing the holocaust card which ought to make everything you say correct. But it doesn’t. Comparing the CSU to nazis? Now really…your analogy is weak if not outright offensive. ”

No I’m not playing the Holocaust card. I’m stating to you that incipient anti-Semitic acts lead to more dramatic acts. Emboldened by their primary steps it’s not hard to envision further objectionable acts in this direction. To saddle Hillel with the guilt of acts committed by the CSU has sufficient analogical similarities to the German historical process. The analogy may be offensive but only to those intent on finding a way out for the University in its paltry and wholefully inadequate position on this issue and what’s gripping the student politic.

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10 thingie 12.09.02 at 11:46 PM

By the standards of University discourse, the administration’s condemnation is SCATHING.

Trust me. This is a population that uses terms like “Disturbing” to describe rape and pillage. Spitting babies on sticks and roasting them rates an “extremely disturbing”.

They’re furious.

I find the info about the autonomy of the CSU interesting: it’s a large, rich plum, and it makes sense that the current holders of office want to keep it. One question, though: does anyone have the power to call for an audit of the CSU’s books, or are they only responsible to themselves?

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