FEUQ in the rearview mirror and new fee-levy group on the horizon
The Concordia Student Union approved the addition of several initiatives to be voted on during this month’s byelection. During their regular council meeting on Wednesday, council agreed to ask students to allow the CSU to join a new provincial student union and to vote on the creation of a new fee-levy group.
CSU V.P. external affairs and mobilization Gabriel Velasco presented two motions to council about the decline of the Fédération Etudiante Universitaire du Québec (FEUQ). The first was so the CSU could advocate for the FEUQ archives to be transferred to a public archival space and to allow the CSU to be a part of the dissolution of the FEUQ.
“The idea is to give all this documentation to public archival space so it doesn’t get lost and anyone can access it,” said Velasco. In particular, the first and second points of the motion tied in with the CSU’s hope to get the data gathered by the FEUQ on students’ financial information.
“For the past eight years, the FEUQ has been running surveys on the campuses of all of the members,” he said. The survey asked students about topics including student financing, levels of debt and employment situation.
Velasco said having the raw data from the surveys conducted on campus could be useful for the CSU. “It could be really interesting to write a report on debt levels over the past eight years,” he added.
The third point of the first motion was to allow the CSU to help dissolve The FEUQ. “As all of [the FEUQ’s accounts] are being paid off or settled, there’s still going to be a certain amount of money remaining in the coffers of the FEUQ,” said Velasco. “We want to make sure that the money gets evenly distributed back to member associations.”
The second motion involved approving a referendum questions for a fee increase to pay membership costs for the Association for the Voice of Education in Quebec (AVEC). The CSU wants to increase the $2.50 students pay per semester into FEUQ by $1 to pay $3.50 for membership into AVEC.
… and hello CURE?
CSU council also approved a referendum question for byelections asking students to create a new fee-levy group . Community University Research Exchange (CURE) facilitates research collaborations between Concordia students and grassroots community groups. CURE, which is a working group of the Quebec Public Interest Research Group at Concordia and has more than 75 current projects for students, can help students work and do research for which they can receive class credit.
CSU V.P. academic and advocacy Marion Miller told council that the Policy Committee reviewed the group’s proposed bylaws and recommended that the question move forward to the by-election.
“We found that the organization seemed very well organized and their structure made sense to us,” said Miller. “We really trust this group will be able to operate as a fee levy group.”
Cassie Smith, a coordinator with CURE, said the group helps around five to seven students a year work on projects. “We’ve also had professors actually re-organize their course outline around CURE projects,” Smith said.
CURE is requesting an eight cent fee levy to increase the number of students they can pair with grassroots groups.
Smith said that with proper funding, she believes CURE could help four to five times more students. “Thus far we’ve just been funded through work studies and short-term grants so it’s hard to have somebody that actually puts a lot of time and coordination [into CURE].”