The Concordia Student Union byelection is now over, exams are about to kick off and soon everyone will be able to get the hell out of here for at least two weeks (maybe even three for the lucky ones) of pure, holiday bliss.
The upcoming, much-deserved winter break also means that 2011 is on the verge of ending. It is a year Concordians will remember as packed with firings, severance packages, accusations of corruption, lack of transparency, hostile Board of Governors meetings, controversial student elections, and last but not least, tuition hikes.
The upcoming year offers Concordia students as well as the administration (don’t think we forgot about you) the opportunity to essentially start over and make 2012 as dissimilar from 2011 as possible. That opportunity for change begins with the results of the recent CSU byelection, which concluded on Dec. 1.
During last week’s byelection, three JMSB students were elected to council, while an independent student claimed one of two seats that were up for grabs. By winning these spots on CSU council, these four students must realize that they have been given the mandate by their constituents to adequately represent students’ priorities and concerns to all of council.
What these new councillors must also realize is that by receiving a mandate, they are obliged to show their faces (and hopefully speak up) at every single CSU council meeting. Because let’s not forget that during this past semester alone, some councillors have missed several council meetings, while others stop by but say nothing at all and some have even resigned completely, which is part of the reason this byelection came about.
If these four new councillors really want to implement change at Concordia, they must perform their duties to the best of their abilities, and even ensure that that the rest of council, including the executive, is doing the same.
Also during the byelection a majority of students voted to support the CSU’s position on tuition hikes and on cutting undergraduate representatives from four to one on the Board of Governors. In other words, a majority of students want their tuition to remain the same or even lowered, and they want to be properly represented on the BoG.
When senior administrators and their entourage begin trickling back onto campus in January, they should take note of the very clear messages that Concordia students have sent them during this byelection. Students, so often accused of being apathetic to university affairs, obviously want their fair share of the seats on the BoG. And why shouldn’t they, seeing as students do form the largest faction of the campus community.
As for tuition hikes, the position of students on that hot topic was already painfully obvious even before the byelection results but the Charest government is still turning a blind eye to students’ very pressing concerns.
Is it too much holiday-induced optimism to say that student, university and government leaders will take into account the message sent by students during this byelection and work to make things better? Perhaps, at least where university and government leaders are concerned. But that only means that students can’t give up. Concordia students have proven to be incredibly perseverant up until this point and there’s nothing to prove that this sense of determination will not remain in the new year.