Another Open Letter to McGill University

McGill Tribune

I recently read that you placed extremely well in various rankings of universities around the world. Congratulations! You must be very proud. I hope you realize, that, as Heather Munroe-Blum herself said, this is in large part due to the students and alumni.

In light of this, my question to you is as follows: As an institution which prides itself on the calibre of its student population, who claims that its graduates are in a league of their own—that they are leaders and innovators in their fields—would you not be proud to see the fruits of your labour right in front of you?

Wouldn’t your eyes swell with tears at the sight of individuals, in whom you have invested so much of your time and energy practicing what you have apparently taught them? Wouldn’t you feel a sense of accomplishment in knowing that students from different faculties, faculties that wouldn’t necessarily have anything to do with each other, are willing to work together for a common goal that does not in any way have a grade or money sign assigned to it? This unifying goal is one that is pure, simple, and good. Aren’t those the values you want to teach?

When your students stood together in front of Leacock before Senate, did you not feel a tugging at your heart strings? How could you not be moved—even if you disagreed with them—by their passion and fervour and dedication?

Life and death do not depend on your decision, but confidence in ourselves and each other does.

This issue of the Architecture Café is greater than brownies and zaatars. It’s about us; it’s about the students—the reason that this university exists in the first place. It’s about us having a voice, and a place to belong to, grow, learn, and share. It’s about sometimes putting the quality of life before the dollars and cents of it all.

We’re not asking you to say yes to the Architecture Café right away, but only to let us try and convince you of what we the students are so convinced ourselves—that the café is integral to the life and history of this esteemed establishment and that we can find a way to make it work. Let us try to devise a sustainable business plan that pleases both you and us. But really, it shouldn’t be you, the university, and us, the students. Shouldn’t it just be an all encompassing us?

We’re asking you to let us put in practice the skills and knowledge you pride yourself in having instilled in us. We understand that you have a contract with Aramark, and in a way, I guess we should feel proud that they truly viewed the Architecture Café as competition. We understand that you’re trying to honour your agreement with them, but wasn’t your first agreement with us, the students?

Katherine Messina is an Architecture Master’s student. Reach her at [email protected].

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