Concordia administration removes copies of student newspaper from stands

Editors question whether move was politically motivated
CUP Québec Bureau Chief

MONTREAL (CUP) — The Concordia University administration removed copies of the Link from stands yesterday, leaving editors of the independent newspaper questioning whether the move was an attempt to interfere in the student union elections.

Tracey Lindeman-Jarvis, Editor in Chief of the Link, was informed on Wednesday at around noon that people were removing copies of the Link from stands in the lobby of the Hall Building, the main building on Concordia’s downtown campus.

The most recent issue, which came out on Tuesday, contained several articles that were highly critical of the Concordia Student Union (CSU) for their treatment of the Quebec branch of the Canadian Federation of Students, a worker’s union, and the People’s Potato, a student-run kitchen. In addition, the issue included an editorial and many letters exposing the weaknesses of Experience, the slate favoured by the current CSU executive.

After going to the lobby and finding half of the newspapers missing, Lindeman-Jarvis and business manager Rachel Boucher went to Distribution Services, the university department responsible for receiving the newspaper before copies are taken to the stands. There, they saw 500 copies of the newspaper locked in a room, which they immediately had returned to stands in the lobby.

According to Lindeman-Jarvis, when Boucher and news editor Maria Abi-Habib later spoke to Facilities Operations director Rick Young about the missing copies, they were given mixed reasons for their removal. Young initially told them that he received a complaint that newspapers posed a fire hazard, and later that the lobby needed to be cleaned up for the student union elections.

“It just seems really suspicious,” said Lindeman-Jarvis. “It’s so obvious that the administration has a lot to gain or lose [in the student election]. It’s all about the university’s reputation.”

Lindeman-Jarvis further described the current Concordia Student Union executive as an extension of the university administration. She said that the university, which is offering thousands of dollars in prizes as an incentive for students to vote.

Young did not return a request for comment. However, Media Relations director Chris Mota said Lindeman-Jarvis’ suggestion was unwarranted, and that the removal of Link issues was an honest mistake for which Young apologized profusely, and immediately rectified.

Once Lindeman-Jarvis and other editors had retrieved the issues, they replaced them on the stands.
“The university has no intention of interfering in student elections. It never has and has no plans of doing so in the future,” said Mota.

The CSU operates with a slate system, meaning that students vote for the student union executive as a single unit, and not as individuals. The current executive, known as Evolution, is seeking to be replaced by Experience, a slate with a very similar platform.

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