The Fine Arts Student Association voted unanimously to accept a motion that would grant them three ex-officio seats on the Concordia Student Union’s council after byelections last November left Fine Arts students without representation.
At their meeting last Wednesday, FASA voted on the motion originally introduced at the CSU’s last regular meeting on Jan. 23 as a partial remedy for the lack of representation on council.
The motion passed by FASA accepted the three seats offered by the CSU. The same motion included amendments on issues like postering and communication with faculty associations to pressure the CSU to make changes to avoid similar situations in the future.
Iain Meyer-Macaulay, a Fine Arts student who attended the previous CSU meeting when the issue of representation was being discussed, said that the motion in question was an acceptable alternative to another byelection.
“It’s a pretty good offer considering what is able to happen now,” said Meyer-Macaulay.
He also gave some context to the issue and spoke of the petition authored by FASA VP clubs and services Erika Couto that first brought the lack of representation to light.
“This petition was sent in November to CSU council, and nothing really happened out of it,” he said. “However, because of time constraints and other issues within and without the CSU, these ex-officio seats are probably the best we can do to get representation for Fine Arts students.”
Another sore point for some of the FASA councillors and executives was the fact that in the CSU’s standing regulations under article 181, the Chief Electoral Officer is not required to post flyers in the VA building where a large percentage of Fine Arts classes are held. VP external Simon-Pierre Lauzon explained that the issue of electoral postering was not one that the CSU had direct control over, but that they would work to amend the standing regulations if necessary.
“When it comes to election posters, it’s very much separated from the executive,” Lauzon said. “It’s handled by the Chief Electoral Officer, and he of course has policies that he has to follow, so when it comes to the postering it’s not our personal decision where the electoral posters go, it’s the CEO’s job to make sure that everything’s postered with the appropriate resources.”
VP clubs and internal affairs Nadine Atallah was also present at the meeting to answer questions about the last byelections and what is being done to avoid a similar situation occurring in the future.
Atallah also discussed an idea she originally included in her campaign platform, to have emissaries between the CSU and student faculty associations like FASA, that is now being revisited as a possible solution to a lack of communication between the two groups.
“The way that it would work, and this is up to discussion, is that every year there would be councillors who would be appointed to faculty associations and the idea would be that the faculty associations would choose which councillors they would want to be their emissaries, so to speak,” she said. “So the idea would be that you would ask this councillor if they would be willing and if they are then we would appoint them to the faculty association and their job would be to be the go-between between the CSU and the faculty associations both by speaking about what happened at your meetings and what are your concerns and also bringing the CSU’s concerns back to your table as well.”
Atallah said that the original idea was first conceived when she was running for her current position, but that a lack of response from faculty associations on the project created concerns that implementing it without their involvement would encroach on other associations.
Under the CSU’s bylaws, it is the role of VP student life to act as a liaison between the executive and faculty associations. Bylaw 7.12 outlines the duties of VP student life to collaborate with the the other unions.