Discovery prompts questioning of ASFA’s application process
Messages leaked to student media reveal an executive of the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA), a student group that represents Concordia undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science, is allegedly ineligible for the position they hold.
The revelations have prompted questions into ASFA’s application process. According to messages on the ASFA Slack channel, one executive is not a regular student in the Faculty of the Arts and Science, which may disqualify them from holding the position.
The messages contain statements from John Hutton, ASFA’s general manager, who said the Dean’s Office had inquired whether all executive members are registered in the faculty.
Hutton said the email was unusual and proceeded to ask if anyone in the group is not part of the faculty.
The executive in question then revealed they are an independent student, as well as a visiting student. They expressed confusion over their status, stating that they pay ASFA fees.
The situation has called into question the vetting process for elected ASFA executives and eligibility requirements of independent and/or visiting students.
According to an anonymous ASFA member who leaked the messages, the executive’s status as an independent visiting student defies article 21 of the ASFA bylaws, which states that eligible executives must be “undergraduate students registered in an honours, specialization, major, minor or certificate within a program of study in the Arts & Science Faculty.”
ASFA’s Standing Regulations outline that if an executive was elected while ineligible, they are no longer able to hold their position.
A senior administration officer at ASFA’s Dean’s Office said the administration always checks with ASFA members whether all the students on the committee are actually enrolled with the faculty.
ASFA is currently looking into the issue and will follow up shortly with a statement. The communications team did not respond to requests for an interview, and the executive in question has yet to respond to our request for comment.
Update: In a statement posted to social media on July 15, ASFA referred to the issue as an oversight by ASFA election officials.
“[The executive] believed that she was eligible due to the ASFA fees that she paid,” the post read. “What should have happened was that the electoral officers of ASFA checked her student ID # on the membership list, and told her then that she was ineligible to run, at the time when she submitted her nomination forms.”
According to the statement, a meeting with all ASFA councillors will be called to further discuss the issue.
“ASFA executives who are in violation of the by-laws may be removed from their position with a 2/3 vote of the ASFA council. She is not automatically disqualified from holding the position,” it wrote.
The statement also discussed how visiting students are prevented from “fully participating in their ASFA community.”
“This is concerning to us,” it continued. “Ensuring that all students at Concordia have the rights and protections afforded by a union is something we intend to follow up on and advocate for.”
The statement also contained an apology and message from the executive in question, Phoebe Lamb, ASFA’s academic coordinator.
Lamb wrote that she is hoping to transfer her credits from her university in Halifax, and work on becoming officially enrolled in the Faculty of Arts and Science.
“I want nothing more than to continue to be ASFA’s Academic Coordinator,” Lamb wrote. “It is extremely important to [me] that the ASFA community is aware of, and has a say in this matter.”