A student’s guide to who council is and what they do
The Concordia Student Union (CSU) represents and provides services for over 30,000 undergraduate students at Concordia University, but did you know that the decision making force behind the executives are the councillors?
With most of the attention focused on the executive candidates, The Concordian wanted to reach out to councillors and councillor candidates to share with students a better understanding of what they do, and why it is essential to look into students running for councillor positions as well as the executive spots.
The council is the CSU’s board of directors. Council is made up of 30 students; 16 from Arts & Science, three from Fine Arts, three Independent students, six John Molson students, and four Engineering and Computer Science students. Your elected councillors are responsible for representing your wants and needs as a student at Concordia. A councillor position is unpaid and is thus comprised of a group of students who are passionate and dedicated to advocating the wants and needs of their peers.
“It’s council who makes the decisions, and directs the executive. We’re literally directors, the board of directors for the union, and we’re the ones who pass resolutions, change laws and bylaws, develop policy, and can direct the executive to participate or not participate in certain campaigns and initiatives as we wish. And they are required by law to follow our instructions. So it’s pretty critical people figure out who their councillors are. A strong council can easily stymie any plans an executive has, and a weak council can be ineffective at preventing any disasters an executive may be in the midst of trying to create,” said Wendy Heitmann, current Arts & Science councillor who is running again this year.
“If there is anybody students should come forth to with an idea, it’s your representing councillors so we can get that idea to grow. This is why the councillors are as important, if not more important than the executive team,” said Kyle Arseneau, current Engineering and Computer Science (ENCA) councillor who is also running again this year for council.
Vicky Rodgers, running to be a John Molson councillor explains that she is running to enforce more diversity at Concordia, and for her, becoming a councillor is the best way to do so because “councillors are there to ‘check and balance’ the executive. If there is no strong voice on council to challenge them, this is when the problems start.”
Marcus Peters, an Arts & Science councillor candidate explained that if students care about what the CSU will be doing next year then they will take a proper look at all the running candidates.
“The interaction between council and the executive is how the CSU makes its decisions, and a wise voter would know not to focus on half the equation.”
James Tyler Vaccaro, current VP Internal & Clubs,is running to become a member of council for 2014-2015.
“At the end of the day, the executives are mandated to do the work council tells them to…it is important that councillors are aware of the issues and history of the CSU, and can think critically while making objective decisions. This is a really important role because the decisions made in council affect thousands of students,” said Vaccaro
For a more in-depth look and bios on all the councillor candidates please visit csuelections.wordpress.com.
List of councillor candidates:
Arts & Science:
Edith Gaudreau Lebel
Thomas James Radcliffe
James Tyler Vaccaro
Engineering & Computer Science: