This week, it became brutally apparent that members of the Concordia Student Union executive and council representatives do not know the organization’s own standing regulations. Nor do they seem to be able or willing to consult these regulations when in doubt of the rules. This we have long suspected, but now, with the most recent council resignation announced Monday evening, there is no escaping the cold hard truth.
The people who run the CSU either don’t understand or don’t care about the rules which govern the union and it has lead to yet another bump in the road for this year’s set of student representatives. And it has been one hell of a bumpy road.
Early in the year, Councillor Ramy Khoriaty was hired as the fall 2012 orientation director. According to standing regulation 225, article C, a candidate for employment can be disqualified from eligibility if hired after taking office. This was the case with Khoriaty and hours before the Judicial Board hearing to deliberate on the matter, he officially resigned, claiming that he had not been aware of the regulation until it was brought to his attention.
Considering Khoriaty’s experience with the CSU, one could make the argument that the blame in this case lies with him for applying to and accepting a position which he was not technically allowed to have. And yet, is it not the duty of the people doing the hiring to know these rules beforehand and adhere to them?
The answer is an unequivocal yes. The hiring committee, made up of VP student life Alexis Suzuki, VP Loyola Stefan Faina, and VP sustainability Andrew Roberts were responsible to know what was required of them and should be held accountable for the consequences of their mistake.
Why should Khoriaty have to step down when he was not the only person at fault? If the executive wanted to change the standing regulations regarding the hiring process, they should have brought that before council. Side-stepping the rules and pleading ignorance later on is no way to get things done. Whether they knew at the time or not, it is reasonable to expect that at least one of the three of them would have read and understood the implications of the document which governs the CSU.
At its core, this isn’t even about Khoriaty. This is about the systematic neglect of the standing regulations and bylaws of the CSU and the laissez-faire attitude towards accountability. On top of that, it’s not clear to us why this issue took so long to be addressed. Councillor Chad Walcott confirmed that he knew about it in October 2012 and yet no one took any action for months.
Why does this even matter anyway, you ask? Excellent question. It basically doesn’t. If the rules aren’t respected then they may as well not exist. Sure, they were created for a reason, but if the students who make up the CSU executive continue to ignore the rules to suit their agendas, then there is no point trying to keep them honest.