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CSU has four referendum questions for Concordia students

by Matthew Lapierre March 27, 2018
CSU has four referendum questions for Concordia students

Library and bookstore funding, two-round voting and more student spaces on the ballot this week

From March 27 to 29, Concordia students will go to the polls to elect representatives and executives for the Concordia Student Union (CSU), but candidates’ names will not be the only things on the ballot. There are four issues students will be asked to vote on this week.

Library services

The Library Services Fund is due for renewal. According to Veronika Rydzewski, the CSU’s internal affairs and clubs coordinator, the fund was first established in 2009 but was only ratified for 10 years. The contract will expire in 2019. Without the fund, students would lose 24-hour access to the Vanier and Webster libraries and services, including laptop and tablet lending and access to course reserve textbooks.

This week, students will be asked if they agree to continue contributing $1 per credit to the Library Services Fund. A Quebec resident student who completes a major (90 credits) will contribute $90 to the fund during their time at Concordia. If approved, the project will be funded for another 10 years, until the fall of 2029.

Two-round voting

In January 2018, the CSU resolved to adopt a two-round voting system for electing executives to fill positions vacated before the end of the mandate. This week, a referendum question will ask students if they agree with that decision.

According to the motion, the two-round system would guarantee executives are voted in by a majority of representatives on the council. According to CSU documents, there is currently no system in place for choosing an executive to fill a vacant position, which caused delays when electing a finance coordinator to replace Soulaymane El Alaoui, who resigned for personal reasons in November 2017.

Co-op bookstore fee increase

Question three on the ballot will ask students if they agree with an increase in fees to fund the Concordia Community Solidarity Co-op Bookstore. If accepted, the fees alloted by the CSU to the bookstore would increase from $0.10 to $0.14 per credit for every undergraduate student. The bookstore also asks shoppers for a one-time $5 fee to become a member of the co-op.

“It’ll pay for itself,” said Eamon Toohey, a part-time employee at the co-op bookstore. According to Toohey, co-op shoppers collectively saved $3,500 through subsidized textbook purchases during the winter semester.

“The bookstore is growing in popularity as textbooks get more expensive,” he said, noting that the co-op bookstore currently has over 7,000 members.

According to Toohey, the additional funds would allow the bookstore to sustainably pay its employees a livable wage of $15 per hour, increase their inventory and expand into online book sales. The bookstore currently employs three Concordia undergraduate students, but with the funding increase, Toohey said they might be able to hire more.

More student and club spaces

The final question put to voters will be whether or not they support the CSU expanding and improving spaces for students and clubs on campus. “This is purely to mandate the future CSU executives to start investigating what is needed to improve current club spaces,” Rydzewski said. “There is no cost associated to it.”

Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth

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