CSU may sue B’nai Brith over ‘racist’ remarks

The Concordia Student Union held a special meeting on Oct. 24 to appoint a Chief Electoral Officer (CEO). What was meant to be a brief meeting turned into a longer one with the introduction of several emergency motions.
The CSU may be preparing for a face-off in Quebec judicial court against B’nai Brith. VP Internal Laith Marouf confirmed a preliminary letter penned by his lawyer has been sent to the organization, demanding an apology for remarks made against the CSU.
Marouf says the remarks are libelous, racist, and defamatory. If B’nai Brith does not respond to the request, legal action could be taken against them in the form of libel and discrimination suits.
At the council meeting, a major concern was the financial cost that such an endeavour would entail. VP Finance and interim President Patrice Blais has been designated to investigate just how much the case could cost before the official go-ahead is given from council.
Marouf has solicited the services of Julius Grey, a prominent human rights attorney, and said the possibility exists that he may take on the case pro-bono, which means he would provide his services at no charge.
While B’nai Brith is not under deadline to respond to the letter, should the CSU decide to go forth with the case, they will send a second letter to B’nai Brith.
New CEO appointed
Also at the meeting, the CSU filled the long vacant post of CEO in anticipation of the CSU elections to be held Nov. 27 to 29.
Ali Abbas, a fourth year computer engineering student, was selected from a shortlist of 3 applicants and will be responsible for ensuring that the elections are fair and run smoothly.
“Because of the short notice [of the elections], we felt it would be good to have someone with a springboard of experience,” said councillor Melanie Anestis, a member of the committee that overlooked the application process.
According to his resume, Abbas once organized a student’s union election at the University of Baghdad in Iraq, which he said had a student population of 150,000. He said he has also been involved with elections at the provincial level.
“It’s definitely a good asset, I have a good feeling about this candidate,” said interim president Patrice Blais.
Abbas will be provided with an office this week. A Deputy Electoral Officer (DEO) was also appointed. Jessica Lajambe will assist Abbas with his duties.
New election regulations
Candidates in the upcoming CSU elections will have to disclose the source of any funding received in the pre-campaigning period, and detail any contact they have had with university administration regarding the CSU.
The motion, proposed by councillor Tom Keefer, was passed almost
unanimously.”It’s a big concern in terms of the extent to which the
administration has meddled in CSU affairs,” said Keefer. “We’re trying to
safeguard the interests of students. The CSU shouldn’t be a tool of the
administration.”
Keefer also wants all candidates to be on equal footing in terms of funding received to fuel their campaigns. Under a CSU by law, each slate is permitted to spend a maximum of $750.00 to further their campaign.
Two weeks ago Chris Schulz, who is running for CSU president, had bailiff letters hand-delivered to the CSU executive and council ordering them to attend a council meeting on Oct. 18. Council said the expense is something the average student cannot afford. Schulz said he has an arrangement with his lawyer.
Schulz says that if the CSU is trying to force him to disclose how the bailiff letters were paid for, it is not going to work. “CSU law cannot override Canadian law. No court can make me disclose it, and CSU council certainly can’t.”
Keefer said the motion does not target anyone in particular. “It’s nothing
personal at all. On the contrary, it’s a very political thing.”
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