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ASFA to pose four referendum questions

by Candice Pye March 27, 2018
ASFA to pose four referendum questions

Federation to consult their electorate on fee levy and bylaw alterations

During election polling on March 27, 28 and 29, the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) will be posing four referendum questions to their electorate. They will include two fee levy questions and two bylaw questions.

Increasing ASFA’s fee levy

The first referendum question will ask Concordia students whether or not they support increasing ASFA’s fee levy to $1.40 per credit—an increase of $0.18. According to ASFA president Jonathan Roy, the association’s fee levy has not been increased in a few years, and while they are the association with the largest number of students, they ask for the smallest amount of money per credit.

“Inflation plays a role,” Roy said. “Things get more expensive, and we’ve also been growing.” He said ASFA has added three new Member Associations (MAs) this year, and they may be adding several more. Roy also stated that ASFA plans to increase and improve the projects and services they offer students. This includes providing support to their Task Force on Sexual and Racialized Violence and Harassment—a new initiative that is fully backed by ASFA. According to Roy, the association plans to expand their advocacy projects as well, by hosting lecture series, mental health talks and providing MAs with more funding.

“We can’t do that without money,” Roy said.

CUCCR seeks funding

The Concordia University Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR) will be the subject of ASFA’s second fee levy referendum question. The centre is seeking funding from students to upgrade their facilities and continue to provide free, reusable items and tools to the community.

Although the funding will not be supplied to CUCCR directly by ASFA, the association will be proposing the implementation of a $0.04 per credit fee levy on behalf of CUCCR as a referendum question.

According to Roy, ASFA is advocating for the implementation of the fee levy as it will help with CUCCR’s basic operations and allow the Concordia community to benefit from the centre’s resources.

ASFA bylaw revisions

When it comes to the current state of ASFA’s bylaws, Roy said they have a reputation for being “convoluted,” “confusing” and “a hot mess.” This is why ASFA will be asking its voters to approve a general bylaw revision that will make the administrative aspects of the association more fluid. Roy said the “stripped-down version of the bylaws” will allow ASFA to run more efficiently in the future.

Indigenous sovereignty

Finally, the ASFA executive is asking that their electorate vote “yes” to a bylaw that would require ASFA to take no action in opposition to Indigenous sovereignty. Roy said implementing this bylaw would reaffirm ASFA’s “commitment to supporting Indigenous peoples’ rights.”

According to Roy, in the past, ASFA has taken positions that support Indigenous sovereignty and rights, such as reciting a territorial acknowledgement before every meeting.

Elliott Boulanger, a First Peoples studies student and an ASFA candidate on the Fill In The Blanks slate, said their team endorses a “yes” vote to this bylaw.

“It would show that ASFA is taking a stance on Indigenous politics and sovereignty,” they said. “I think it’s long overdue. It should have been done a long time ago.”

To students who may be opposed to the addition of this bylaw, Roy said it’s not about disregarding the rights of any other particular cultural or ethnic group, but about ensuring equality and respecting the “various cultures and communities that live in the Montreal/Tiohtiá:ke region.

He said having the bylaw implemented would ensure that anyone looking to change it would have to endure a much more laborious process than simply discussing it at a council meeting.

“It makes it a lot harder for anyone to oppose this attempt at standing in solidarity with Indigenous people,” Roy said. “We hope that students see the merit of this question and will stand with us.”

Graphic by Zeze Le Lin

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