A frustrated student body called on the CSU last Thursday to take a tougher stance on the Board of Governors, namely to revisit a motion it rejected in council that called on all 23 corporate BoG members to resign.
More than 100 students were in attendance at the student union’s informational general meeting and voted overwhelmingly in support of a motion presented by undergrad Alex Matak that would oblige the CSU to call for those external members to step down.
The same motion had originally been presented at the CSU’s council meeting in early January by independent councilor Ethan Fox, but was voted down despite Fox calling it a “no-brainer.’ However, because motions passed at last Thursday’s IGM are not legally binding, Matak’s motion will now have to return to council for a vote.
“These concerns were definitely something the CSU needed to hear,” said CSU president Heather Lucas. “Now that the motion is returning to council, maybe council will reconsider it. But if council decides to strike it down again, that’s council’s prerogative.”
Matak said she was hopeful the support her motion received at the IGM will nonetheless have sent a strong message to the CSU. She also called on the executive to better inform the student population regarding the current BoG situation.
“I would like to see some of the CSU multi-million dollar budget spent on a massive information and mobilization campaign directed at governance at Concordia, as well as putting their massive financial and human resources towards reforming the governance system from within,” said Matak, a member of the People’s Campus Coalition and creator of the Facebook event “Take back the IGM.’
Other BoG-related motions passed at the IGM had already received the backing of the CSU council and other bodies, such as the university senate. Students voted in support of a motion that called on all external BoG members who have served more than two consecutive terms to not seek re-election. They also passed a motion which mirrored the one passed at the Senate calling for the establishment of a new nominating committee for community-at-large BoG members.
A second batch of BoG motions that came out of the IGM called specifically for the resignation of BoG chair Peter Kruyt and demanded that interim president Frederick Lowy clarify his position on the calls for Kruyt’s resignation.
Cinema professor, university senator and the only faculty member present at the IGM, Dave Douglas, applauded the students for their motions, but conceded that getting rid of Kruyt will be far from easy.
“Peter Kruyt is nowhere nearer to the door than he was last Thursday,” he told the crowd. “The motions we passed at senate are non-binding, so we’re no closer to seeing him leave. But you guys have a vote on the BoG, you can help make sure he goes. I cannot think of another university in Canada that has unanimously told the chair of their board of governors to leave.”
Motions unrelated to the BoG passed at the IGM called on the CSU to denounce the imminent hikes in tuition fees, demand that the university ban bottled water, and ask that the administration post all non-disclosure contracts online.
By the end of the meeting, a petition signed by 100 students was presented to the CSU executive calling for a special general meeting to be held on Feb. 14 on the Reggie’s terrace, with Lucas confirming yesterday that the meeting would go ahead as planned. Motions passed at such a meeting would be considered legally binding.
But for an SGM to happen, the CSU will need to assemble 2.5 per cent (around 825 people) of its membership to have quorum. It was then suggested that at the SGM, a motion could be presented to have quorum set at 1.5 per cent of the membership for all future SGMs due to space issues.
“There was no political will in the past to let us have our voices heard, but this SGM is the most direct way to express yourself,” said Matak to the crowd. “The CSU is a couple million dollar union, and judging by their brilliant student centre campaign, they can manage to get 800 students out that day.”