With Concordia Student Union elections three weeks away, two fee levy requests that were approved by CSU council in January and February have been struck from the ballot.
Queer Concordia, which received its approval at February’s council meeting, was looking to establish a fee levy of $0.02 a credit in order to be able to establish a service centre for queer students. Creative writing magazine The Void came to council in January also seeking its first fee levy ofÂ $0.02 per credit in order to establish a steady source of funding. Normally, the magazine is supported by funds from the CSU, Arts and Science Federation of Associations and other sources.
Both groups received a conditional acceptance for their fee levy questions; each had to become incorporated with the provincial government before the announcement of polls, which was posted March 4. Because neither group had achieved this by last week, they were taken off the ballot.
“This is not an arbitrary or discretionary decision as the CEO has no authority to override these regulations,” explained CSU’s chief electoral officer Oliver Cohen in an email on Monday. “Any referendum questions not included on the announcement of polls were excluded because they were not in compliance with the requirements of the regulations as per Article 136.”
A minor detail in the motion approving QC’s fee levy question differs with Cohen’s statement. Reviewing the CUTV footage from the Feb. 9 meeting, QC members observed that councillor Lex Gill’s amendment to the motion called for the incorporation to be completed by the day ballots are printed, and not the announcement of the polls.
Queer Concordia representative Joey Donnelly issued a release on Monday, stating, “We are on the right side of CSU bylaws and the CEO is being heavy handed.” Cohen apparently notified the group of being struck from the ballot when he was contacted by QC on March 2.
Adding to The Void’s troubles is the fact that its required petition has gone missing – seemingly in a careless act at council. Each group seeking a fee levy must bring a petition signed by at least 750 students to council. Editor-in-chief Cole Robertson maintains that he brought his petition to the January council meeting, but that he did not know he had to hand it to the chair, Marc-Antoni Tarondo.
It seems that at the meeting, the petition was misplaced. Robertson was informed by the loss on Friday by CSU president Heather Lucas. He expressed frustration by not being instructed on how to handle the petition. “I’ve been met at almost every step of the fee levy […] with misinformation,” he said, adding it almost amounts to negligence. He claims that he was only informed of the incorporation requirement the day before the Void’s presentation to council.
Lucas admitted that she neglected to inform Robertson on the protocol for handling the petition. “It’s my fault for not saying something, but it’s also council that needs to be held accountable as well for not saying anything, either,” she said, suggesting that councilors should have spoken up.
Lucas also said that she is working on adding incorporation as a requirement for fee levy applications. Currently, groups seeking a fee levy do not need to be incorporated, according to CSU regulations; however, the university will not transfer fee levy funds to a non-incorporated group.
CJLO radio station is the remaining organization headed to a referendum on its fee levy; the station is asking for a $0.09 increase to $0.34 per credit. Concordia students will take to the polls on March 29, 30 and 31. Both QC and the Void can apply again for a fee levy in the fall.