Leah Godin, a third-year criminology student, is in the process of making the Criminology Student Society a reality again.
Up until last year, there was a Kwantlen Criminology Club, but according to Godin, the club dissolved after the club’s president graduated and no one took over the role.
Now Godin is encouraged and excited to bring it back to Kwantlen. But this time as a society, instead of a club. One of her instructors just thought it sounded better that way.
“I’ve announced it to a few of my classes, and I’m getting the instructors to tell their classes,” Godin said. “There are a bunch of people who are really excited about doing it, so it’s just the initial bit. You need to get so many people to sign up, which isn’t that much really, it’s only like 10 members.”
Godin had about 10 people sign up at the Kwantlen Club Night alone, which was on March 3 at the Grassroots Cafe.
The society will start out with a general meeting to see what students want from the society. Then, once it’s up and running, there will be field trips, talks given by instructors from Kwantlen and other post-secondary institutions, movie nights, pub nights, discussion groups, as well as information on how students can get involved in their community.
This club is open to all Kwantlen students, not just criminology students.
“I don’t want to cut anyone out of an opportunity because they might actually realize that they really like criminology and maybe later major in it,” Godin said.
It’s clear that Godin is passionate about starting up the Criminology Student Society.
“For some reason, this semester I’ve been getting really involved with what’s going on around campus,” Godin said. “The possibilities are endless, and I just feel that all Kwantlen students should be able to embrace what’s out there and what’s available.”
If you’re interested in joining the Criminology Student Society, email Godin.
Friends 4 Food is not friends with Sodexo.
The reactive Friends 4 Food was formed in opposition to what they see as “a corporate bully”, Sodexo, moving in as operators of Kwantlen’s cafeterias through what they say is an all-too-murky process.
Friends 4 Food is run by a small group of criminology students and serves vegan food to students in the Surrey campus courtyard four days a week, offering an alternative to what F4F sees as overly expensive and unhealthy food, provided by Sodexo at Kwantlen’s cafeterias.
In the first week of operations, F4F was shutdown by Fraser Health Authority and slapped with $615 in fines for various health code violations, but not before being warned by Kwantlen administration of the potential health violations and of not properly booking space in the courtyard at Surrey Campus.
The idea was to serve vegan food by donation to students who don’t wish to spend their money at Sodexo.
“We thought we’d call for a boycott, but we can’t really call for a boycott if we have no means for students to boycott it,” said Eva Botten, who is a lead organizer of F4F.
Started as a research project for a criminology class, F4F organizers looked into the history of the company now running the cafeteria at the school.
“So we’re trying to get [Sodexo] out,” Botten said.
On the Surrey campus, there are other food options, such as the student-run Grassroots Café, but campuses in Richmond, Langley and Cloverdale only have Sodexo-run cafeterias.
F4F has gained wide support from Kwantlen’s criminology faculty in its vocal protests against Sodexo on one side, but has been dealing with Kwantlen aministration and policy on the other.
“In an era where there is so much student indifference or apathy, to have a student who is smart and politically engaged and have some political moxie, is a student to be celebrated,” said Hollis Johnson, the criminology professor who assigned the project.
Johnson also harkened back to an incident over the summer when Emery Warner, another Kwantlen criminology student, was booted off campus for refusing to show identification while handing out leaflets protesting Sodexo’s (at the time) new place on campus.
“Why would anybody get in trouble with the university and members of Sodexo for leafleting, handing out pieces of paper on a university, which to my mind is an open, public institution?” Johnson asked.
“Does that mean that anybody who walks on campus who we don’t like what they look like, or have to say, have to identify themselves?”
Joanne Saunders, Kwantlen’s Director of Marketing and Communications, said,”everyone is allowed to voice their opinion, I don’t have any concerns about that at all.”
“We’re just a university. The only reason we’re really involved, is we need to make sure that everything that the students are involved in, they’re in a safe environment… the proper space has been booked if they’re planning an event,” Saunders said.
Saunders said Kwantlen’s concerns were solely to do with the booking the required space and making sure the group meets the required Fraser Health regulations.
“We’re not there to hound the students to take up their time and ask them to do unreasonable things, but that is the procedure here at the university,” she said.
Jody Gordon, associate vice-president, students, wouldn’t comment on F4F, even though Friends 4 Food has singled out her office as the source of its troubles.
They believe that someone in Gordon’s office is responsible for tipping Fraser Health off, meaning that F4F was inspected even before the newly-opened Tim Horton’s on Surrey campus.
But according to Gordon, during the first week that F4F was set up serving food, Fraser Health Authority was alerted by an article that appeared on The Province’s website, prompting the health to shut F4F down amid concerns over food safety.
“Fraser Health [Authority] was involved… because of the much stricter regulations that Fraser Health has now on serving food. There’s other things that get involved with more than just occupying a small corner of a very large area,” Gordon said.
“What about free speech? What about freedom of academic inquiry, just to name a few,” he asked.
And for Friends 4 Food, it’s a simple choice — a choice between student-made, vegan food — or not. “We’re only serving vegan food, and they do not offer vegan food,” Botten said.
“They offer carrot sticks, celery and French fries for vegan options.”
The Kwantlen Criminology department will host the award-winning film, Warrior Boyz, at the Surrey Campus on Nov. 3.
The film, which is about gang violence and is set in a Surrey high school, was one of 10 winners of a $1 million grant from the Social Sciences and Human Research Council – Community University Research Alliance. The prize money will go towards Acting Together, a project looking to prevent youth from getting involved in gangs.
Warrior Boyz was brought to Kwantlen’s attention by Joan Nesbitt, who’s been part of the Criminology department for 14 years.
Nesbitt originally wanted to show the film to her class, but when she contacted the director of the film, Beljit Sanghra, the simple showing snowballed into a larger, public screening that is meant to be seen as a community event.
“We’ve decided to really open it up to not only the Kwantlen community, but the larger community as well. I think that’s one of the defining features of this event, is we really want this to be seen as a community event and we really want to have a dialogue with the community about gang violence,” said Nesbitt.
She feels that gang violence is a community issue and that many Kwantlen students are involved, peripherally or not, with gangs and it’s not only a good idea to open up talk about gang violence to students, but the community of Surrey and even the Lower Mainland.
“The film is very provocative and I think everyone will be shocked and surprised about the depth. Hopefully, they will relate personally and start larger discussions,” she said. “I want everyone to take home a message, whatever it may be.”
Dr. Gira Bhatt, a psychology instructor at Kwantlen and Acting Together project director, feels just as strongly as Nesbitt does about the issue of youth involved with gang violence.
“The idea of this event is to create awareness and make everyone think about what we can do to help kids involved in the gang life and bring everyone together,” Bhatt said.
“I hope that everyone takes away the message that we need to be guardians, to keep an eye on what is going on with our cousins and other relatives and be aware.”
The Criminology department has no other current plans of getting involved with the prevention of youth in gang violence, but if this event goes well, Nesbitt said that might change.