Last week’s CSU council meeting was an astonishing display of contempt for student democracy and parliamentary procedure. All undergraduate students enrolled at Concordia are welcome and are encouraged to attend CSU council meetings as long as they respect the rules in place and the authority of the chairperson.
Council voted in favour of going into closed session to discuss the serious allegations put forth by the ex-VP promotions and sustainability. The parliamentary procedure of “in camera” closed session meetings should be used sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.
CSU councillors take their jobs very seriously and constantly strive to best represent students while respecting the integrity and reputations of others. Do not be fooled by those who would tell you that the last council meeting was a victory for anyone. It was in fact an unfortunate loss for all undergraduate students. Because the council meeting was adjourned prematurely, we were not given the opportunity to address the allegations of financial mismanagement and barely covered half the points on the agenda.
Both the CSU’s VP finance and the general manager had gone to great lengths to prepare a comprehensive presentation of the CSU’s operating budget in order to ensure full financial transparency. Presentations from Five Days for the Homeless and the CSU legal information clinic were not given, nor were students able to learn the details of the CSU’s pending lawsuit with the Canadian Federation of Students.
Councillors work hard for students and we want you to know that we are always willing to open a dialogue and are always open to constructive criticism. Disrupting council meetings is ultimately counter -productive and does not accomplish anything meaningful. We plead with undergraduate students to please respect Roberts Rule of Order in the future and allow us to have civilized meetings with productive discussions and resolutions.
After watching some of CUTV’s footage of the CSU meeting that took place on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 I feel obliged to say something. This is not an attack on any individuals; this is not in defence of any of the executives or council members. My goal is, quite simply, to get as many people that read this to think carefully when they vote in this years elections and to encourage as many people as possible to vote [â€¦] . Because after watching that meeting, this vote seems more important than ever.
First of all, I am certainly disappointed in all the execs that resigned this year, with the exception of those who did so for job/scholarship reasons. I voted for you, I followed your campaign and I supported you. To see someone resign so close to the end of their term tells me that my vote did not matter. If there were deep seeded issues to be addressed, they should have been addressed with more than four weeks left in the semester.
Secondly, I am flabbergasted at the way the students sitting in on the meeting behaved. Interrupting the Chair, under any circumstances, is (at least to me) uncalled for. Regardless of whether or not I agree with the vote that was passed to enter a closed session, I disagree with the means that opposed it. There were important issues on that agenda, which will now have to wait. That is unfair to the majority of students; who were not at this meeting. Again, the fact that this all happened with four weeks left in the semester and so close to the campaigning season raises red flags for me, and I hope it does for you, too.
Thirdly, do not forget that most of our representatives are not paid. They donate countless hours for you, for me and for themselves. On top of this they are students with exams to study for and essays to prepare. There needs to be a level of mutual respect, and if that cannot be upheld then student politics at Concordia are, pardon my rashness, pretty doomed. If the current union is so corrupt, and I am not arguing one way or the other, then it is a good thing their term is almost up, right? Let us allow cooler heads to prevail on this one. If a similar situation arises with next years student union, let us not wait until the last month of their term to call them on it. To do so is unfair for everyone and will solve nothing.
Lastly, and most importantly, this makes it more important than ever to be active come elections. Encourage your friends and classmates to pay attention to the campaigns and encourage them to vote. Just give yourself five minutes less of Facebook-ing a day and your studies will not even suffer at this crucial time of the semester. Make your vote educated, make your vote count.
It’s in our hands Concordia.
BA Political Science
I am a student who was in attendance at the CSU meeting on Wednesday evening. I am greatly disturbed by how the meeting was handled by the CSU and I am left with very little faith in them. Well before Morgan Pudwell’s resignation was discussed, the CSU’s lack of responsibility was revealed with the issues surrounding Queer Concordia and Void Magazine. It was clear that the only reason these issues were being discussed was due to the CSU Executives not fulfilling their duties.
When Pudwell’s resignation came to the table the CSU failed to be open to discussion with the students and a closed council was purposed too soon for the council to understand the student’s perspective. In Heather Lucas’ statement in response to the resignation she spoke of having an open office and being willing to answer questions. However she barely spoke at the meeting and did not show any sign she was interested in students’ concerns.
I am very disappointed by the urgency with which the CSU suggested a closed session. I found a lack of listening from the VPs, especially Hassan Abdullahi, whose quick temper should be an embarrassment for the CSU. I urge students to think carefully about the upcoming elections and not to believe in everything that is promised. Last year I voted on the issue of transparency and this is not what I am seeing.
I am an engineering councillor, a position I’ve held for two years consecutively. In these years I have not seen a more uncivilized and disappointing council meeting as the one last Wednesday. The utter disrespect and undisciplined conduct of a certain group of students was unprecedented and it’s my strong conviction that their behaviour does not represent the majority of the student body.
As councillors, we’ve been elected to represent students in a fair and democratic election. Our duty to the students is to oversee the decisions taken by the CSU and monitor its conduct. First and foremost, we ensure that the bylaws and the standing regulations that this union abides by are followed. These rules ensure an efficient and ethical democratic process.
The closed session that was required was not meant to shut out the students but to provide an individual evaluation to a former executive that would guarantee her right to privacy, after which the meeting would have proceeded as usual. The reaction of the visiting students was unjustified and demonstrated that they were unaware or misinformed about the procedures council is required to follow. I stand by the decisions of the council in that meeting.
MSA Concordia president
CSU engineering councillor