Concordia Student Union council has approved a package of policy reforms, which creates new guidelines and regulations for the judicial board and the semi-annual CSU elections. The reforms were introduced to avoid some of the problems that emerged with last year’s controversial CSU election.
The new by-law change will allow individual members of the executive to be removed by recall petitions, in the past it was only possible to remove an entire slate. Last year’s CSU executive was targeted by a recall petition, and a bitter dispute was fought over its validity, with the executive ultimately managing to ride out its term. Additionally, an executive may now be recalled by a two-thirds vote in council.
Helen Downie, vp for academic and policy reform, said the changes were partly based on recommendations made by last year’s chief electoral officer Oliver Cohen. “He came to us with a set of recommendations, but they weren’t binding unless they were reflected in the by-laws and standing regulations, so that’s why we brought in these changes.”
A new by-law was also passed that will require proof that a slate committed electoral misconduct, and not just benefited from it, for them to be sanctioned.
After last year’s CSU election, the Change slate argued that the ballot box results, which showed Vision winning the election, should have been overturned because Vision had benefited from illegal campaign tactics, such as defamatory pamphlets. Ultimately the judicial board upheld the election. Other changes include mandating record-keeping for all judicial board cases, as well as publicising the date and time of each upcoming case.
The CSU contract policy was also targeted, with a new stipulation brought in that the CSU could no longer enter into contracts or associations that it could not leave by recall.
Despite the new regulations, Downie cautioned that there was no way of fully preventing outside interference in elections. “No matter what rules and regulations are brought in, I don’t know that we can prevent everything. But we wanted to close out any loopholes we could, and change anything that was impeding democracy at Concordia.”