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Last Council meeting before elections

by Archives March 15, 2006

Last Wednesday, CSU council member Justin Levine attempted to forbid Noah Stewart from attending CUSACorp Managment Ltd. hearings. The CSU is being sued by a former roommate of Stewart, Phillip Ilijevski for close to $1 million.

“This motion is simply a political attack on me. Justin suspects that I am running again in the upcoming CSU election and this is a pre-campaign jab,” Stewart said. “This is further evidenced by the fact that we only have two CSU council meetings left in the year, and as far as I know there is no plan to hold another CUSACORP meeting. ”

A motion to include a discussion about having independent observers for the upcoming election was rejected. The motion was submitted by Conscious Concordia councillors Chris Schwartz, Melanie Kinsella and Melissa Anne Ledo. It was rejected by Evolution councillors Levine and Rachel Guy.

CSU President Mohamed Shuriye explained why the motion was shot down.

“The motion was not rejected because of its content but because of its nature. The chief electoral officer plans to have independent observers for the election as we have had for the past three years. Council, I believe, shot down this measure because of its last minute nature and redundancy. I don’t think there is a question of trust here. The chief electoral officer is committed to having a fair and transparent election.”

Other councillors expressed different opinions.

“As far as the motion being last minute, the chair of the council had not checked his e-mail in the correct amount of time and thus hadn’t seen that this was mailed in. And as to its redundancy this raises questions for me. If the motion was already happening then why not simply allow council to vote on the issue right away? Since this is so black and white, and is already happening, then presumably there would be no discussion,” said Conscious Concordia’s Stewart.

Current judicial board (JB) member Jason Manchester, independent from either party, also spoke out at the meeting.

“I’d say both the amendment and the rejection were clearly politically motivated. We can ask why it wasn’t added to the agenda at the appropriate time, which could have prevented its rejection.

Chief Electoral Officer Danniella Brazel confirmed that there was going to be a representative from Elections Quebec to monitor the Concordia elections. Elections Quebec works on the Federal and Provincial elections to ensure that they are fair and transparent.

“I feel that when it comes to my own ability and political agenda, I have the ability to stay detached and unbiased because I’m not deeply involved in Concordia politics,” Brazel said. “I have the advantage of being the average student who is involved here and there but not on a governing level.”

Brazel also mentioned that she was not given much training and is facing some logistical issues.

“The last CEO, Mark Small, left me with very little to work with and I had to reconstruct this operation from the bottom. I was not given a list of people to contact or procedures to follow in terms of my communications with Council or the Exec.”

The CSU recently provided Brazel with a small office and a cell phone.

There were also three new judicial board officers appointed by Council. The judicial board is the authority for resolving issues within the CSU. Appointed by council for indefinite terms, they investigate and settle conflicts with the bylaws, standing regulations or between parts of the CSU.

“All of those who were appointed I personally encouraged to run for the position,” Manchester said. “I even recommended one or two of them to certain councillors, although this simply took the form of me saying, ‘I think these people are dedicated, competent and reasonably unbiased.’ And that is not political bulls**t, I actually do believe it.”

During the meeting, Manchester was repeatedly ignored by the chair to participate in a discussion about banning Stewart from CUSACORP meetings.

“I was annoyed both at not being able to speak before the motions regarding the sanctions on Noah Stewart and at being asked to leave the room while the council debated the JB nominees. On the first point however, I do understand that procedures are procedures. I always tell people if you don’t know the rules you’ll get screwed by them. On the second point, they were out of line, I have a legal [and] constitutional right to be there, but it would have made the proceedings uncomfortable if I had been.”

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