The CSU may have almost $7 million gathering dust in its student centre building fund, but several student leaders are quick to oppose the suggestion that any part of that money be used to improve facilities at Loyola.
The idea was put forward at the CSU’s informational general meeting last Thursday as students debated what to do with the money, especially in light of the failed November referendum to increase the student centre fee levy.
Although VP Loyola and Advocacy Hassan Abdullahi said he is always looking for more funding for one of his primary portfolios, he emphasized that allocating a portion of the building fund to improve Loyola’s SC building is not the way to go.
“I would be against that idea because we don’t own the SC building, we have it under lease from the university,” he said. “But a new student centre downtown would be something that we as students would own.”
He went on to say that the CSU has spent more than $100,000 this year alone on the SC building, which includes the expansion of the Loyola Luncheon and the installation of a new sound system at The Hive. He stated that the CSU has worked hard to ensure that, unlike in the past, Loyola would no longer be overlooked.
However, a few students who took the microphone thought otherwise. The motion that was presented at the IGM noted that Loyola is a central location for many sports and clubs and that the SC building was in dire need of renovations. But Abdullahi was still adamant that transferring money to Loyola from the building fund would be “counter-productive.’
“The majority of students are downtown and the idea behind the student centre fund is that, first and foremost, downtown lacks a student centre,” he said. “We set out 10 years ago to build a student centre downtown, and keep in mind that Loyola is in NDG where there is already a lot more green space than downtown.”
He indicated that the CSU was only required to pay approximately $20 to the university in order to lease the SC building from 2009 to 2019. He is confident that when the time comes, Concordia will renew the lease.
“The university knows that the SC building is for student space,” he said.
Abdullahi is not alone in opposing the suggestion presented at the IGM. Aaron Green, president of the Arts and Science Federation of Associations, an umbrella organization that includes Loyola’s student associations, is also against the idea.
“I do agree with Hassan that we should be looking for other sources of funding for renovating our existing facilities on the Loyola campus,” he said.
Green stated that it is up to student groups to continue to lobby the administration to pour more funds into Loyola.
In the end, it was agreed at the IGM that councilor Lex Gill would present a motion at the CSU’s upcoming council meeting to create a plenary commission that would study more carefully the student centre fund question.
In the opinion of the CSU’s lawyer, expressed in a letter read aloud at the IGM, the decision to use the fund for purposes other than building a student centre on the SGW campus would ultimately have to be voted on in a referendum.