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Faculty association takes hit

by Archives April 4, 2001
It may be time for Concordia’s Arts and Science departmental associations to start worrying. A crucial vote which would have allowed for the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) to collect fees was defeated by fewer than 20 votes.
Until this year, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) provided funding for ASFA.
This group represents the Arts and Science faculty as a whole and helps to coordinate the many different activities of the various Arts and Science academic bodies.
This year, the CSU decided it would decentralize, meaning the Arts and Science
and Fine Arts faculties would have their own budgets to fund departmental associations. It needed approval for a 60 cent per credit fee from Arts and Science students.
Dave Harrison, member of the Political Science Student Association (PSSA), is among a large group of students that cannot understand why ASFA lost the referendum. “It’s unfortunate that it didn’t pass,” he said. “Besides a covert
conspiracy, which I doubt was the case, I can’t understand it.”
According to Mistie Mullarkey, CSU vp academic: “It’s a real problem.” She said
that ASFA will have to run another referendum in February to try to get a fee because the CSU does not have the money to fund them.
Both Harrison and Mullarkey predict that an agreement could be reached with the CSU, with the faculties or the Dean of students.
If none of these approaches pans out, the departmental associations will not be receiving any money next year. This is particularly important because Arts and Science is Concordia’s biggest faculty. No money means no activities and no special events for students in its various departments.
Harrison said that although the CSU is not obligated to fund ASFA, it barely has a choice. “Otherwise, we’ll be stuck with whatever is left in the bank. Yay, $500!” he exclaimed.
He’s not the only one bothered by the apparent lack of funding. The Journalism Student Association’s (JSA) Andria Riti, who is responsible for public relations, is just as concerned. “The JSA will be in jeopardy if we don’t get any money,” she said.
According to Riti, the budget allocated to this particular association was already considerably lower than usual this year. It was received in installments three-quarters of the way through the first semester.
As a result, the number of activities was greatly reduced and paper and printing
supplies were extremely limited. The graduates of the journalism program had to pay out of their own pockets for memorabilia and a goodbye bash. The department’s annual trip to New York was also severely affected. The JSA was
forced to plan two parties in order to raise enough funds for the trip.
Like Harrison of the PSSA, Riti predicts another referendum for next year because students appreciate their associations and really take them seriously.
“It’s nice to have a group within a department to motivate students. If there’s no money, every single association will suffer,” she said.
ASFA’s Vice President of Finance, Ricardo Filippone, is just as worried about the situation as the student associations, if not more. He and his colleagues assumed that if the referendum was lost, the status quo would maintain itself and the CSU would continue to provide for ASFA’s funding. This does not seem to be the case.
“If nothing happens, the Arts and Science associations will receive nothing.
We’re not accredited and we’ve always been under the umbrella of the CSU. It’s
their mandate to take care of the students and the Arts and Science has about 27
associations of students,” he explained.
Filippone is outraged that people are even considering the mere possibility that
ASFA not receive any money next year. “We’ve been the cash cow of the CSU since the beginning, paying over half of its operating expenses,” he said.
If the CSU refuses to fund ASFA, when school starts next year, each Arts and Science faculty association will be faced with either this year’s balance or zero funds.

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