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CSU general assembly fails to meet quorum

by The Concordian March 27, 2012
CSU general assembly fails to meet quorum

Students wait to register at the March 26 general assembly. Photo by Navneet Pall.

Unlike its March 7 predecessor, the second general assembly held on Monday by the Concordia Student Union to vote on continuing the strike was met with little success.
While about 2,000 students were present at the first GA, less than 300 showed up on the Reggie’s terrace for the outdoor GA organized by the CSU. After more than an hour of waiting in the cold and windy afternoon, the CSU still had not met the minimum of 450 registrations in order to carry out the vote. Around 3:30 p.m., CSU Chair Nick Cuillerier announced only 12 students had registered in the past hour and declared the GA adjourned.
“It’s a disappointing turnout, unfortunately, and it wasn’t meant to be,” said Cuillerier. “There was a very small amount of time between the calling of the general assembly and the general assembly itself compared to the previous assembly which had six weeks of notice and preparation.”
Shortly after the GA, about 100 students organized a sit-in on the 7th floor of the Hall building and started passing around a new petition to call for a third GA. While undergraduates as a whole are no longer on strike, individual faculty departments are still holding strike GAs and are organizing mobilization movements on their own.
Yesterday’s adjournment struck some motions off the agenda specifically for that GA. Notably, the motion to pass the minimum agreement, which would prevent the CSU from denouncing the actions of other student associations, as well as requiring that all student associations be present when negotiating with the government.
“It’s difficult to do any kind of advertising in this kind of climate of continuous strike,” said CSU VP external Chad Walcott. “If you look at the CSU elections, we barely made quorum. But this campaign isn’t over yet. It will end when the year is over and next year we’ll pick it up if that’s what needs to happen.”
Walcott said he was confident the movement was not losing momentum.
“One thing that we all know is that when people are connected to the movement, they are going to keep going until they run out of steam, and it seems like there’s a couple hundred students here who aren’t running out of steam anytime soon,” he said. “And they’re going to continue mobilizing and I’m going to continue providing them with the resources they need.”
Some students, including those who organized the petition for this second GA, blamed the CSU for the failure to meet quorum, emphasizing a lack of organization and advertising.
“This GA was a disappointment,” said geography student Alex Matak. “I do feel like it was largely an organizational problem why it didn’t happen. The CSU was really busy and it has a lot of other things to do, at the same time I think there is a certain time where if you can’t do something, you need to make that clear. […] I wouldn’t blame them but I would say that they should not have tried to take that on themselves if they did not have the capacity to do it.”
Several students also said that the GA would have attracted more students if it was held indoors. The CSU said it was forced to hold it on the Reggie’s terrace because of a double-booking of the Hall auditorium.
The sit-in of the CSU lounge that came after the GA was a direct reaction to a recent email from the administration warning picketers that they could face formal charges.
The original plan to occupy the GM building was cancelled when a student reminded the group that such action could not be carried out without a plan. Instead, the 100 students headed for the 7th floor of the Hall building to prepare an agenda for Concordia’s future actions in the movement against tuition hikes.
Just like the provincial student associations, Concordia students talked about a radicalization of the movement, notably by increasing the number of acts of disturbance.

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