With the elections for next year’s Concordia Student Union less than a week away, the different slates’ campaigning has shifted into high gear. The two most serious slates (read: ones that don’t have positions like “VP Eating Planets and Drinking Molten Suns” or “VP Custard-Like Substances”) are Evolution, which currently holds the CSU executive, and Conscious Concordia, their main challenger.
Anastasia Voutou is Conscious Concordia’s candidate for CSU president, and she believes her slate’s platform reflects the current priorities of Concordia students.
“The key difference between us is that [Evolution] got elected on a platform of non-action after the Netanyahu riot,” said Voutou, “but it’s a different political climate now, and their approach no longer applies.”
Mo Shuriye is Evolution’s presidential candidate. He agrees that things have changed over the last two years, but says the people running on this year’s Evolution slate are different, too.
“In name, we may be the same, but our platform isn’t the same,” he said. “As far as depoliticizing student clubs and being representative of all students, we keep [those goals from the last two years], but that’s where the similarities end.”
Shuriye dwelt on the theme of experience, saying that Evolution knows how to work with students and the administration. When asked whether he was worried about appearing too comfy with the administration, Shuriye said that impression was false. “Personally, myself and Russell [Lobo], who’s also running on our slate, we worked against the $2000 tuition increase for international students,” he said. “We worked against the administration’s interests in that, because we believed it was wrong.”
Voutou spoke about the issues of honesty and realism in Conscious Concordia’s platform. “I’ve had people come up and ask me why we don’t have grand plans and promises in our platform,” she said. “We’re not going to promise things we can’t deliver on, like Evolution last year saying they would give free laptops to all students with a GPA over 3.7. Where’s that money supposed to come from?”
She also said that sustainability and local involvement were important to the Conscious slate.
“Why is Concordia considering signing an exclusivity contract with Chartwells, the biggest food services company in the world, instead of inviting local small businesses to participate?” she asked. “Also, we have international students who can only work on campus, so why are we giving those jobs away to a multinational? They supply food to prisons, the U.S. Army, and we let them come to Concordia and gouge students for their gruel.”
When the subject of bursaries came up, both had plenty to say. “We’ll continue the strong opposition to the $103 million cut from bursaries,” said Shuriye. He also said that if elected, Evolution would continue working with the FEUQ to keep pressure on the government during the summer.
“We’re also looking to expand the number of CSU bursaries from 10 to 30,” said Shuriye, “and we want to change the rules so more people are eligible for them, like international students who can’t get most of the other ones.”
Voutou said she and the other members of Conscious Concordia planned on leading by example. “Instead of giving ourselves a pay increase, we’re willing to take a pay cut of $2000 each, which would be put into a bursary fund for students,” she said. “I haven’t heard of anyone else ever proposing that. It’s a symbolic gesture, but it shows that we’re for real.”
Both presidential candidates agreed that the Loyola campus needs to be given a bigger role in the university.
“We want to revive the Hive [student bar at Loyola] and have Concordia’s Loyola campus revitalised,” Shuriye said. “As part of that, we’d like to alternate the location for CSU council meetings between downtown and Loyola.”
“We want to create a real community spirit at Loyola,” said Voutou. “We’re considering using the football fields to hold all-night dance parties during orientation week.”
The subject of campaign posters around Concordia was a sore spot for Voutou, given Evolution’s overwhelming dominance in this area around campus.
“We wanted to see a moderate postering policy,” said Voutou. “One was proposed to council, but they sat on it.” She said that plastering the school with posters could be visually alienating to the student body. “Evolution defends the posters, saying it increases voter turnout, but I don’t see how putting 17 posters on a bulletin board instead of one increases turnout.”
Suriye said that the proposal came too close to election time to be feasible, and was incomplete. “The change to postering rules that was proposed wasn’t well thought out,” he said. “It changed the poster policy but didn’t address ways of keeping voter turnout high.” He suggested that online voting and a voting break during class time might increase turnout without relying on posters.
“We don’t really think the number of posters is going to decide it one way or the other,” he said. “Students have to educate themselves so they can make an informed choice, and then students have to come out and vote.”
For more information about the different slates and their platforms, visit: