An excited crowd of about 100 students attended the second debate between the candidates for president in the CSU elections last Wednesday at the Hall building. The four candidates were heckled throughout the debate and preluded a fiery question period at the end, as the crowd seemed almost equally divided between Conscious and Experience supporters.
Comic relief was provided by ICUPTV’s live video feed as they answered questions from “a secret location deep within Concordia’s grounds.” Witty but irrelevant responses from this slate effectively eliminated them from serious consideration.
Hot topics discussed were the lack of student space and plans for Concordia’s student centre, Loyola campus plans and Concordia’s role within the student federations in Quebec (FEUQ, CFS-Q).
Although the university is the largest property owner in the downtown core of Montreal, students have always lacked a central place to hang out. A fee levy was voted on and approved in the November referendum last year that would see between about $1.5 million annually to go towards building the student centre. If elected, the candidates were asked what they would do with that money and what they estimate the timeline for the completion of the centre.
FOCUS candidate Arielle Reid and Khaleed Juma, running for Experience, both advocated looking for land to buy and build the student centre. Svetla Turnin for Conscious and Kurt Blagden of Justice for Concordia pointed to the immediacy of the need and said that we should make use of space that we already have, rather than spending money into the future.
Reid estimated about five years to gather the money and build the centre, “that is, if the CSU remains faithful to the plan and no one drops the ball,” she added, but Turnin put the estimate at closer to ten years and said we couldn’t wait that long.
The question of student space wasraised again: “How would your slate propose to link the SGW and Loyola campuses?” The candidates debated an old subject that has been brought up in every election in recent memory.
The Hive, the long-defunct bar on the campus above the Vanier cafeteria, has been an issue for almost 10 years as various groups have promised to “revive the Hive” and provide a place where Loyola students can hang out. Last year, Evolution made it part of their election platform but later said they weren’t able to follow through with it because it would have proved too costly.
All candidates more or less agreed that Loyola’s services should be made equal to those downtown and that an equivalent to the People’s Potato and the Co-op bookstore should be started there. In addition, Experience has promised to build a Sports Bar that would double as a student-run caf