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Rules, regulations and red tape

by Kalina Laframboise January 29, 2013
Rules, regulations and red tape

Confusion over the Concordia Student Union’s bylaws and standing regulations has left council in an awkward position when it comes to enforcing its own rules.

Standing regulations

During a regular meeting Wednesday, it came to light that student representatives violated the CSU’s standing regulations when executives appointed Councillor Ramy Khoriaty as orientation director. In that position, Khoriaty was in charge of organizing Concordia’s two-week long frosh event that kicks off the start of every school year.

According to the CSU’s standing regulations, article 225 states that a member of council is subject to disqualification for six outstanding reasons. Councillors Chad Walcott and Melissa Kate Wheeler explained that Khoriaty broke article 225 when he took his position of orientation director. Point E states that a member of council must resign:

“If he or she becomes an employee of the student union after taking office,” standing regulations read.

Khoriaty is a former executive, who served as VP finance during the 2010-2011 academic year and, under standing regulations, cannot technically be employed by the CSU following his mandate.

Three executives of the A Better Concordia slate interviewed Khoriaty, apparently without realizing his employment was in violation of the standing regulations. VP Loyola Stefan Faina, VP sustainability Andrew Roberts and VP student life Alexis Suzuki interviewed him initially.

“I have to apologize that we missed that important standing regulation,” said Roberts. “But [Khoriaty] has experience and lots of knowledge.”

Council was torn over what to do despite the implications of the breach of rules. Walcott explained that while it may not directly be Khoriaty’s fault, council had to either follow its standing regulations or “ignore” them.

“This is the time to enforce the bylaws and not send it to the policy committee,” said Walcott. “All of these people should have known the standing regulations and bylaws.”

Councillor James Vaccaro expressed his disdain at the oversight and stressed the importance of reading and knowing the rules that keep council in check.

“This is the ultimate example of how this can go wrong if we don’t know our own rules,” said Vaccaro. “The CSU has failed its students.”

Since council was at an impasse over the potential to force Khoriaty to resign, the Judicial Board will take on the case and render a decision.

Councillor and former VP finance, Jordan Lindsay, resigned from overseeing a project for the CSU Wednesday in order to avoid the same situation. Council initially appointed Lindsay to address ongoing issues with the student association’s information technology services.

CSU bylaws

During the meeting, members of the Fine Arts Student Alliance and the Engineering and Computer Science Association emphasized that there was little communication going on between their associations and the CSU.

Council remained divided over Suzuki’s involvement with student faculty associations, an activity that is loosely mandated in the VP student life’s duties in the CSU’s bylaws under article 7.12.

“The vice-president student life is responsible for the organizing of student orientation and the major events related to student life on campus,” reads the bylaw. “The vice-president is also the liaison for faculty associations.”

While Suzuki was not present for the meeting, it became apparent that certain councillors feel she is not performing her duties to the best of her abilities, following a failed motion to appoint a liaison between FASA and the CSU. Councillor Veryan Goodship emphasized that Suzuki already neglected her mandate prior to Walcott suggesting a “dereliction of duties” which implies a failure to fulfill responsibilities.

Furthermore, while council solved the incomplete bylaw 10.2 regarding membership status, the bylaw itself wasn’t adhered to. The bylaw states that the chairperson of the CSU must verify the student status of the representatives and executives of the student union every semester. Chair Jean-François Ouellet failed to submit his report by the first meeting following the Did Not Enter date at Concordia. Ouellet did inform council that the verification would be completed for the upcoming meeting in February.

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