ASFA fights for funds

At the last CSU council of representatives meeting, council passed a motion that urges next year’s council to give the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) a loan to fund its associations next year, on the condition that ASFA democriticize their structures and go to referendum in Oct. 2001.
Last month’s referendum question on the ASFA fee, which would have given the association its own funding, was defeated by 19 votes. The question asked whether Arts and Science students if they were in favor of a sixty cent fee levy to fund ASFA and its associations.
In the wake of the defeat, Riccardo Filippone and Yasmin Gardaad, both CSU councillors and executives for ASFA, asked council at their April 18 meeting, that next year’s council stand in solidarity with ASFA and urge that ASFA get funded next year. This motion was substituted with an offer of an interest free loan from the CSU, in exchange that ASFA has a referendum on their fee question and that they implement by law changes to their constitution, so that ASFA holds popular elections for its executives.
“The main goal of the CSU proposing such a motion is to enable ASFA to take the referendum more seriously,” said CSU president Rob Green.
Filippone disagreed. “We campaigned as hard as we could for this referendum question. I didn’t even campaign for my council seat. Also, the fact that the referendum question took a long time to be decided upon left us little time to campaign.”
Green added that ASFA is the only faculty association that does not have popular elections of their executives. “That is why, few people know about ASFA. I had people come up to me and ask me, ‘what is ASFA’.”
“We are a democratic body,” said Filippone, “We are appointed by elected representatives from every department. I find it ironic that Rob Green appointed his executive and that’s democratic and when the ASFA executive is appointed, that’s undemocratic.”
Councillors also suggested at the meeting that ASFA go to referendum in Oct. 2001 to try and get their fee levy. Both Filippone and Green are confident that ASFA will get its fee question passed.
Arts and Science students make up about 60 per cent of the student body. According to Filippone, for the past twelve years, Arts and Science students paid for about eighty-five percent of services that the CSU offers.
Filippone said that at the last ASFA council, they decided that they would not be taking the loan from the CSU, since ASFA does not know how it would pay it back. He added that since all the other student faculties voted for having their own fee levy, the CSU will have a bigger budget and the associations of ASFA will be without funds.
Councillor Omar Badawi, said that it was a shame that ASFA associations will not be getting any funding and that it is not fair that non-Arts and Science students pay for ASFA associations. “It defeats the whole purpose of becoming a faculty association.”
In the end, it is ultimately next year’s council that decides whether ASFA will get funded next year.
Additional reporting by Diana Thibeault


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