Undergraduates missing from major governing bodies
Several important undergraduate positions in student and university government remain vacant more than three months into the academic term.
More undergraduates need to be appointed for the student tribunal pool, the judicial board of the Concordia Student Union (CSU) and to member-at-large positions on CSU committees. The CSU’s appointments committee recommends students for each of these positions.
Patrick Quinn, a councillor on the appointments committee, said the committee is behind on its appointments because it only met once between the end of last semester and the beginning of this term. According to meeting minutes from the summer of 2017, last year’s appointments committee met three times between June and August.
Quinn said the CSU has not appointed members-at-large to any of its committees. Members-at-large are students who participate in committees but are not councillors. Committees do not need these members to conduct business. However, Quinn said filling these positions is important for promoting the CSU within the student body. “The reason not many people know about the CSU is because we’re not taking it seriously, getting students involved,” he said.
Quinn said only four out of 15 undergraduate spots are currently filled in the student tribunal pool. Student tribunals hear cases relating to the university’s regulations, including the Academic Code of Conduct and the Code of Rights and Responsibilities. For each case, students are drawn from a pool of 15 undergraduates and 10 graduates.
Currently, the CSU’s judicial board only has one member. The judicial board interprets the CSU’s bylaws and standing regulations and resolves any related disputes. The board typically receives a high number of complaints during election period. With only one councillor, the board cannot hear cases. Last semester’s general election was especially contentious, with three out of four members resigning following harassment from the student body.
CSU Loyola Coordinator Alexis Searcy, who has chaired the appointments committee since Oct. 31, said all of these appointments will be made “in the very near future.” In an email to The Concordian, Searcy said the judicial board candidates will be chosen at the next council, and that she will begin appointing members-at-large this week. She also said interviews are currently underway for the student tribunal pool.
According to the CSU’s standing regulations, “The Appointments committee recommends appointees to any and all CSU and university bodies and/or committees.” This recommendation is then passed to council for a vote, who “has the right to bypass the consideration of the appointments committee and proceed with the appointment.” In addition to recommending students for the judicial board, student tribunal and various committees, the committee nominates a CEO for the union’s elections.
The committee has faced significant turnover since the beginning of its mandate. Before its first meeting in September, Finance Coordinator John Hutton had resigned and been replaced by Internal Affairs Coordinator Princess Somefun. Somefun resigned in October and was replaced by Searcy. Councillors Quinn, Margot Berner, James Hanna and Rowan Gaudet fill the remaining spots. Last month, councillor Chris Kalafatidis resigned to join the elections participation committee, and councillor Alex Karasick resigned for undisclosed reasons.
Quinn said he wished the committee had dealt with these appointments earlier to avoid potential problems in the future. “We wouldn’t be where we’re at if we were proactive about some of this.”
Archive photo by Nelly Serandour-Amar.
A previous version of this article stated that the CSU’s policy committee recommends undergraduates for the judicial board, student tribunal pool and for member-at-large positions on CSU committees. This is actually done by the appointments committee. The Concordian regrets the error.