Refugee Centre is established for 37 cents a credit
ACT Together swept the Concordia Student Union (CSU) elections, claiming every executive position for the 2016-17 academic year. All referendum questions passed with over 1,000 votes each.
Lucinda Marshall-Kiparissis of ACT Together will be the general coordinator of the CSU next year. Her team consists of Loyola coordinator Marcus Peters, internal affairs coordinator Rami Yahia, academic and advocacy coordinator Sophia Sahrane, sustainability coordinator Lana Galbraith, external coordinator Aloyse Muller, student life coordinator Rachel Gauthier, and finance coordinator Adrian Longinotti.
Among the referendum questions passed was one giving permission to the CSU to oppose future tuition fee hikes on international students, and to “work collaboratively towards increasing the accessibility of and defending the right to quality education for international students.” The CSU also gained the mandate to oppose the Energy East and Line 9 pipeline projects, and any future tar sands development.
The International/Ethnic Association Council, which promotes international culture and heritage, also saw its fee levy doubled, from $0.06 to $0.12 per credit. The CSU Health and Dental Plan also saw its annual cap increase by a maximum of $30 in order to maintain coverage and adjust for inflation and increasing costs.
One new fee-levy group was also created as the Canadian Refugee Initiative got the green light from students to establish a Refugee Centre on campus. The Refugee Centre will receive 37 cents per credit to assist students who are refugees or recent arrivals to the country. Their services will include legal aid, counselling, mentorship and housing assistance.
“We were super, super ecstatic,” said the Refugee Centre’s Abdulla Daoud, who said he stayed up all night waiting for the election results. “We got a lot of support during campaigning, and we’re excited to get started working right away.”
“When you feel that people need such services and dream of this happening … [now] these services will be given and they’ll get to the people who really need them,” said the Refugee Centre’s Kinan Swaid. “Hopefully it’s going to make a difference.”
Daoud and Swaid confirmed that work on the Refugee Centre will begin immediately this summer, with the aim of having a soft launch in September and a grand opening in October.
They believe the Refugee Centre is more relevant than ever, with the recent government announcement that 10,000 more refugees will be accepted into Canada. “The 10,000 extra refugees the government announced are specifically for post-secondary education,” said Swaid.
“I wanted to thank the Concordia student population for all their support, all the people we talked to while campaigning, all the people who offered their help,” said Daoud. The Refugee Centre, when it opens, will aim to give back to the Concordia community by helping its refugee population and offering internships to students in a variety of disciplines, according to Daoud and Swaid.