Back in the ‘90s there was no ASFA, and department associations, the groups most directly connected to their members, were under the umbrella of the CSU. Budgets were doled out sparingly from on high, regulations were onerous, and liberating even a few bucks to throw a start-of-semester wine and cheese party was an ordeal. Department associations were not oppressed so much as ignored.
ASFA was created as a CSU group to demand recognition, and to cut through that red tape and get funding to the people who could put that money to good use in their own departments—its member associations. There was to be almost no structure, other than monthly meetings where representatives from the departments could compare notes and discuss matters that affected the whole faculty, coordinate initiatives, and decide who would take care of things between meeting—an executive in the true sense of the word, a few people whose function was simply to represent and carry out the decisions of the group. That was the ASFA we tried to create.
But that ASFA never really came to be. In subsequent years I was disappointed to see ASFA transform into a CSU in miniature—with an increasingly centralized structure, an executive demonstrating less transparency and accountability while disbursing a much increased budget, hardly governed by a council with diminishing authority, not effectively coordinated, and focusing on ever more dubious social activities at the expense of issues with major implications to students and education generally, issues that concern accessibility, quality, equity, and respect.
There is now an opportunity to reverse this trend—to empower member associations, and the students that make them up—that means you. This plan does not go as far as I (and others) would like to see it go—but it is a good start, and this change will make a significant and positive difference to student life at Concordia—and you can make it happen: Vote!
MARCH 15, 16, 17: vote to make ASFA new again.
ASFA president 1996-’97