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by Archives March 24, 2009

Since 2003, the executive of the Concordia Student Union (CSU) has been controlled by a small, select group of students. By now almost everyone agrees it’s time for something new, something deeper than a name change. When Evolution, Not Revolution left office in 2004, they were replaced by their hand-picked successors, New Evolution. Then it was just Evolution, then Experience (who actually had no experience). And then Experience begat Unity and it was so good. So good they used the exact same name for two years, a CSU record.
Actually it wasn’t very good. Evolution, Experience, and the first Unity played fast and loose with the rules; but they threw good parties, and they focused on student services instead of international politics, and they seemed to enjoy a measure of popular support.
But the second Unity: with their failed attempt to dismantle biggest source of funds for student-initiated sustainability projects on campus; the endless lawsuits; hacked e-mail accounts; and cover ups; has managed to piss off almost everyone on campus.
Like the Republican Party under John McCain, no one running this year wants to be associated with this year’s executive.
Especially Change.
“We really want to bring change to Concordia,” Kurt Reckziegel, Change’s candidate for president told The Concordian. “Get rid of the petty politics.” But the voting hasn’t even started and Change has already stooped to petty politics. The slate has filed 12 contestations with the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), in an effort to get their competition kicked out of the elections. We think this behaviour is an affront to democracy, and more deplorable than anything Vision has been accused of.
From what we have seen, the majority of these charges are unsubstantiated, misleading or false. Most shockingly “Change” has called for Vision to be fined $350 for “slandering” them in classroom speeches. They are also calling for “Vision” candidate Gregory Johanson to be fined $100 for comparing them to George W. Bush on Facebook.
We find these demands insulting to all students and anyone who believes in the principles of democracy and free speech.
If Change is unable to take criticism during an election campaign, we shudder to think about how they will react to criticism if they are elected.
We, like many others on campus, also have concerns about Change’s ties to the current executive. Andre Leroy, current VP finance is running with their slate. As are current councillors Catherine Dicare and Samantha Banks, who have supported the current executive on council.
As well Change was the only slate not to attend a recent debate on sustainability. Their candidate for VP clubs and sustainability, Cathy Lin, said she was sick and had to attend the ASFA ball and that none of her fellow candidates felt comfortable talking about the issue.
We find this surprising as their candidate for university affairs, Audrey Peek, sits on the board of the Sustainability Action Fund. Perhaps it’s because she helped the current executive in their efforts to end the fund? When ASFA council removed her from the fund’s board of directors, she resorted to questionable means to be reinstated.
Change stands for everything that is wrong with the CSU; electing Change means another year of backroom shenanigans, dirty tricks and lawsuits.
Vision is led by councillors who broke with Unity about halfway through the year. Since that time we have generally supported their actions on council. However, we question the wisdom of electing yet another group from the Unity clique. As well, during this campaign, Vision executive candidates Amine Dabchy and Prince Ralph Osei have been claiming they fought to save the Sustainability Action Fund; this is untrue. In fact at a special meeting called to reconsider the council vote that put the Fund on a referendum, Dabchy proposed the motion that cancelled the meeting. While we do not doubt Vision supports the SAF now, they need to be upfront about the time they spent supporting “Unity.” We find this disingenuous at best. We also have concerns that some Vision candidates we have spoken to seem not to know the role and structure of the CSU; nor do they seem to know how it is related to the university, or the structure of the university’s governance system. While we do think Vision would be a superior choice to Change, we have far too many concerns to recommend them.
Overall, we have been most impressed with team Fresh. Unlike Vision and Change, and their slates of student politicians, Fresh have not been tainted by the CSU’s past excesses. We feel their candidates have been upfront and honest. The have admitted what they know, and what they don’t, and most importantly they have shown a willingness to learn.
They haven’t promised much, but that’s probably a good thing. The other slates have promised the CSU election perennials: reopening a bar at the Hive and bike rentals for students. Or they’ve promised the unachievable: a “spring break” in the fall, or a student centre.
“Fresh” presidential candidate Joel Suss, said he wants to do a survey of students to see what they want from their CSU, we think this is a good idea. It’s also achievable.
Suss told The Concordian, “we just said ‘hey, this is ridiculous, they’re not helping us, we’re paying them and they’re not helping us’ and we thought ‘hey, why not just run for the CSU?'”
The CSU has become ridiculous; it’s time to bring some people in who agree.
Concordia students need a student union who will put students above their own self interest, and who will listen to what students want. That is why we are voting for Fresh.

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