Groups try to challenge legitimacy and scope of referendum
The CSU Judicial Board (JB) rendered a decision on March 18 concerning complaints brought to it by several fee levy groups against the wording and legitimacy of the per-faculty fee levy referendum question, and protocol irregularities.
The complaints, brought to the JB by the Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG), the Concordia Greenhouse, and the Center for Gender Advocacy, alleged the referendum questions are ambiguous and legally inadmissible when compared to provincial and university rules governing student associations and Concordia’s Student Union.
The first complaint, arguing that CSU membership referred to a singular undergraduate student body of voters unorganized by faculty and reasoned allowing individual faculties to vote would create “faculty-based distinctions” splitting CSU membership, was unanimously denied by the JB. The board reasoned the referendum affected groups with overlapping memberships and not the council itself; thus, any splitting occurring from a passing of the referendum question would not affect the CSU itself.
The JB said that “while the CSU has a duty to maintain a single and equal membership class it does not have the responsibility to ensure that the membership in fee levy groups is not divided on a per-faculty or other basis.”
The second issue dealt with whether or not proper protocol was followed by the Council, whose regulations demand that “prior to any motion being voted [on] at Council that would affect space or funding of another student group outside of the CSU umbrella, the Council Chairperson must give a minimum five days notice to the group(s) concerned.”
The groups said that these documents, outlining the time, location, and agenda of the meeting, were never received for the March 14 session. In response, the Judicial Board unanimously ruled that the meeting did not concern space or funding, but the tallying of votes.
Only a complaint about the ambiguous nature of the original referendum question, in particular a clause tasking the CSU “to take whatever steps are needed to ensure,” with the “shortest delay possible,” all future fee levy questions are asked and applied on a per-faculty basis, was successful. The clause was considered too broad and was removed, with the referendum question itself slimmed down and simplified.