Home CommentaryEditorial Out with the old ASFA, in with the new

Out with the old ASFA, in with the new

by The Concordian February 2, 2016

ASFA’s proposal for a new federation step in the right direction

What has ASFA accomplished in what may well turn into its last year of existence?

Should we talk about the Mei-Ling sexual harassment case peppered with sexist and racist slurs that was settled recently? Should we reminisce about Frosh (which we now have to call Launch Week), which reportedly cost over $80,000 for a select few froshies—sorry, launchies—while the rest of the federation looked on in sad exclusion. Or should we dabble in the conversations of consistently over-budget events, the revolving door of executives who tend to quit mid-council meeting, or about the alleged misuse of ASFA funds for personal gain, as ASFA reported in its own proposal to reform itself?

Sure, ASFA has been known to throw the occasional wine and cheese event, or to hand money out to its member associations to throw food and various types of goodies at students. But when was the last time the positive news outweighed the bad news coming out of the student federation?

It’s not that we here at The Concordian have been ignoring it. It simply doesn’t exist. There aren’t any positive things to report on. New execs come in, promising change and a better and brighter future, only to get bogged down with the ongoing issues and quickly lose steam, positivity, and willingness to try and turn that ship around. After all, there is only so much you can do when the vessel is already half-sunk.

Which brings into question the usefulness of ASFA.

After all, what crime has the organization not been found guilty of? As academic terms come and go, leadership changes hands again and again, and yet ASFA’s list of infractions only grows. It’s not a question of nuts and bolts or errant bad apples anymore: something has set into the bones, and it’s permeated the very structure of the association as a whole. Something smells, and students are bound to be getting tired of that funk.

After all, these are not petty crimes. While there can be little denying that there is a toxic culture within the organization itself, it was clearly given a ripe environment to grow.

Fortunately, ASFA is finally working on ways to actually systematically change itself rather than hoping the incoming executives—this time surely—will really be able to make a difference.

This week, ASFA passed a motion asking its lawyers to draft bylaws for a new ASFA: one whose role is grounded in financials and support for more independent member associations, and it is a step they should be applauded for.

But it is only the first step of many: those associations still have to discuss with their constituents, and then vote on whether or not the bylaws should be put to a referendum, and if so, it then has to make quorum and actually pass. Already associations are showing their lack of faith in ASFA to do any more than continue to downwards spiral, such as the Political Science Students Association, who last week voted to become independent from ASFA.

Maybe ASFA’s lawyers will be able to draft a new federation which will rise from the ashes like the phoenix it dreams of being.

However, all of this hinges on the bylaws that are drafted being acceptable.

Not everyone agreed that ASFA needs a page-one rewrite. After all, it’s easier to try to change something than it is to build from scratch, right?

But that’s exactly what ASFA needs: a complete overhaul, likely from scratch, to rework and remake the federation. Only then can we—the Concordia community—be sure that something will change.

Maybe ASFA will be able to be like its asfa.ca website. Deleted, only to (one day) return better than ever.

We are done airing out ASFA’s dirty laundry: it’s time to throw it out. All of it. And rebuild.

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