All six slates in last Wednesday’s Concordia Student Union (CSU) presidential debate highlighted the importance of cleaning up after the current CSU’s mistakes by having next year’s CSU represent all students equally, and be financially transparent.
“We would be interested in achieving total invisibility,” said Simon Reader, who is running under the pseudonym Psyman Queero for the Free Thinkers Parliament. Reader read poetry and sang a song from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the debate, to rousing applause from the audience of about 200.
“I would suggest you speak to the physics department, but I hear they’re going to close it down,” retorted Stephan Herman, who was moderating the debate.
“The fact that there’s even a question of conflict of interest brings up the problem of financial transparency,” said Joseph Burchill, president of the New Vision slate, “We have to go through the CSU with a fine-tooth comb and root out corruption.”
The remaining parties, Renaissance Concordia, Evolution, Aspiring Students Promoting Educational Responsibility (ASPER) and the Clean Slate all promised to be financially transparent and accountable to students; Evolution leader Natalie Pomerleau said the bylaws would be changed to prevent someone on the finance committee from disbursing money to a club they participate in.
The potential presidents also agreed that an inquiry into racism was much needed.
“Never have I seen such blatant racism as when I walked in the door of Concordia University. There is no question that we need an open inquiry into racism and discrimination,” Burchill said.
Burchill warned that such an inquiry would be a lengthy process, because of the lingering “untrust between cultures, races, and religions.” He said New Vision would begin by providing open forums for discussion and ensuring fair judicial hearings for students.
Youri Cormier, presidential candidate for the Clean slate, was one of the students to put forward a motion to carry out an inquiry into racism on campus at the March 5 General Assembly. “An inquiry is the first step to dealing with institutionalized racism,” said Cormier, “There are ways to deal with it that are already in place but there are also a lot of barriers in place.” Cormier said he would focus especially on diversifying Concordia’s Board of Governors, which he dubbed a, “bastion of oppressive values.”
“Nominations for the BoG are done by a sub-committee of itself,” he added.
Cormier also said his party had started working on a plan to provide a used bookstore online, expand daycare services, and allocate more resources to the Job and Housing Bank so they may be available once a week to advise students on tenant rights.
The ASPER party said Benjamin Netanyahu should be invited back to Concordia to salvage its tarnished image. President Justin Levine also promised to clean up the washrooms and fully automate them, legalize marijuana on campus and make Bonkif its smoking headquarters, as well as ban all McGill paraphernalia from campus.
Levine also said he planned to have his hands in the back pockets of the administration, and the administration’s hands in his back pocket. “No, not in a sexual way, in a co-operative way,” he responded to heckling from the audience. Levine went on to tell the assembly the ASPER slate plans to form a CSU for life by changing the bylaws accordingly and turn the library building into a three-floor, fully automated Tim Hortons.
Marc St. Martin, president of Renaissance Concordia, said he would push to get socially conscious advertising in the school. Some students complained the current advertising made them uncomfortable. Pomerleau and Burchill agreed to take measures to clean up the advertising on campus.
Also at issue was the fact that several slates witnessed members of the current executive, namely Kealia Curtis and Sameer Zuberi, putting up posters for the Clean slate. The other slates accused the Clean Slate of being a continuation of this year’s CSU. But Herman, who in addition to being the moderator is the Chief Electoral Officer for the upcoming elections, said the executive were within their rights to put up posters.