Commentary  Renting space to grad students a step in the wrong direction

Re: “Mmm… delicious stale Aramark food” | Letters | September 20, 2010

I am glad to see that the administration has taken my advice about charging a study space toll, which was published in a previous edition. As highlighted at the Town Hall and in The Daily, grad students will be charged to rent study space. This is exciting news. I’ve always looked at graduate student offices with envy, thinking to myself, “Boy, these guys have it made!” with their spacious vintage 1970s desks and the close company of six other students in the room.

McGill’s spirit of make-money-wherever-you-can has really inspired me, and I plan to follow in the grand footsteps of the administration. During exam period, perhaps I shall sit at a desk in the Cyberthèque with a “for rent” sign on my seat. At the modest price of $1 per hour, a student can rent a window seat from me. Too pricy? We have an affordable option at 25 cents per hour somewhere on the fifth floor. I’ll donate five per cent of my profits to the HMB Relief Fund (a.k.a. “Capital Campaign”). I don’t have a memorandum of agreement (a contract with McGill allowing groups to do anything on campus); I don’t plan on paying taxes on my profits either; and maybe I will call my business “The McGillian McGiller Study Space Rental Program of McGill… McGill McGill.” Seems like a liability issue… I wonder how long it will take until my enterprise gets taken over by Ancillary Services?

Back to reality. The rent will be $200 for an eight-month period. There are certainly students paying a monthly rent for about $200. Remember: small steps accumulate. We are moving toward a less accessible educational model and must fight each step along that road, no matter how small.

Guy Lifshitz

U4 Computer Science

Letter received November 19, 2010