Students voting in the CSU byelections from Oct. 1 to 3 will have a say on which students will represent them on Concordia’s highest governing and academic bodies: the Board of Governors (BoG) and the Senate.
While the CSU used to appoint student representatives to these bodies, now they will be democratically elected by their peers.
“The process of direct, general elections to BoG is a democratic and welcome change,” said Sobia Virk, a candidate for a seat on the Board of Governors.
Nominations, which require 25 signatures, closed on Sept. 17. The CSU holds byelections every October to fill council seats that have been vacated since the general elections were held earlier in the year. But this fall, they will have more to vote on.
Three students are running for two fine arts council seats, and one for a single seat in computer science and engineering.
Ten students are vying for two available positions on the Board of Governors and nine students for five positions (representing five faculties) on the Senate.
There are a total of four student positions available on the BoG, while ten undergraduate students sit on the Senate.
Students may want to have their say as to who is elected, as the Senate can influence curriculum and academic regulations, while most of the university’s most important decisions are made by the BoG.
According to Virk, the composition of the BoG is “largely corporate and not necessarily in sync with student concerns.” Among the corporate muscle on the BoG are Eric Molson, the CEO of Molson Inc., and John Parisella, president of Quebec advertising firm BCP.
The byelections require 2.5 per cent of undergraduate student participation, or about 500 votes, to be recognized. According to Stephan Herman, the CSU’s Chief Electoral Officer, voter participation has increased in recent years but remains “woefully small.”
Virk said it is especially relevant for students to vote this year, given the “sweeping curtailment of information tables and Mezzanine exhibitions, which has adversely affected all student clubs and campus life.”
Students can vote on Tues., Oct. 1, Wednesday, Oct. 2, and Thursday, Oct. 3 from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. at various locations on both campuses including the Hall Building and the Webster Library. Concordia student ID is required.