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Council appoints a new president

by Kalina Laframboise March 19, 2013
Council appoints a new president

The Concordia Student Union is no longer leaderless as VP sustainability Andrew Roberts was appointed to the position of president during last Wednesday’s regular council meeting.

The CSU was without a president since Feb. 12 following the official resignation of Schubert Laforest, who cited a decline in health as his reason for leaving.

The executive began by presenting four candidates as options to council: VP clubs and internal Nadine Atallah, VP external Simon-Pierre Lauzon, VP Loyola Stefan Faina and the absent VP academic and advocacy Hajar El Jahidi. Atallah, despite receiving zero votes from councillors during the contentious Feb.13 council meeting, did not rescind her candidacy.

Immediately following the announcement, Faina withdrew his name prior to the discussion held by council over potential options for a new president. This left three options from the executive to be voted upon.

Lauzon stated that he was ready to take on the position despite adamantly declining the opportunity in February. He explained that as president he would have clear modes of communication with the executive and council.

In a snap decision, Roberts offered to be considered — a suggestion he refused at the earlier date of Feb. 13, stating he did not want to deal with the “politics” that come with the role of president.

“I’ll throw my name in,” said Roberts.

Upon saying that the room was too tense, Roberts put forward his candidacy and council quickly passed a motion from Councillor Gonzo Nieto for Roberts to be the fourth candidate on the list.

Some councillors expressed concern over appointing Roberts since he was initially reluctant to even be considered for the role and were uneasy about putting Roberts in such a position.

“Andrew is awesome,” said councillor Hardial Rosner. “But he really, really doesn’t want to do it.”

However, councillor Chad Walcott argued that Roberts was the best outcome for appointing a new president from the executive.

“Andrew is trying to step up and do the right thing,” said Walcott. “He’s the only one who I would vote for.”

Following tense discussion surrounding all four candidates, council went to a secret ballot to determine the next president of the CSU. Roberts will continue as president through the end of his mandate until June 1.

The CSU was at an impasse for more than a month following the Feb. 13 meeting that left both the executive and councillors unhappy with the outcome and one another.

The executive recommended that Atallah replace Laforest following his unsuspected departure but this didn’t sit well with council. It quickly divided the room, pinning the executive, who felt Atallah was best suited for the position, against councillors, who refused to appoint Atallah. Councillors demanded other options but no other executive was willing to take on the portfolio at the time.

The discussion ended as contentiously as it began, with councillors Nieto and James Vaccaro pursuing a complaint with the CSU’s Judicial Board over bylaw 7.4. The bylaw states that should there be a vacancy in the presidency, council shall appoint a president from the vice-presidents; should no vice-presidents be willing then a councillor may be appointed with two-thirds majority of votes.

However, the bylaw does not instruct what to do should the only vice-president who is willing be rejected by council but does not withdraw their candidacy.

JB ruled in favour of council but allowed the executive to first present other options than Atallah for councillors to choose from.

Now that council has appointed their new president, it seems as though it will not appoint another student to take on Roberts’ portfolio. The new president said he would continue to work in both capacities but that council must move forward together.

“This isn’t a be all, end all,” said Roberts. “It’s a group effort.”

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