Stea resigns because of outside interference

At a special council of representatives meeting, council appointed Patrice
Blais, the current vice president finance, as Concordia Student Union’s interim president.
Blais was voted in by a majority of representatives after a motion brought forward by councillor Abdel Beedassy at the Oct.18 meeting. Blais said that his selection came as a result of his experience as a member of student organizations.
“After discussing with other councillors, we decided to choose Patrice as
interim president because he deserved it. He was the hardest working executive and he gets things done on time. We believed that he was the best person for the job,” said Beedassy, a councillor and a spokesperson for council.
According to CSU bylaws, once a president resigns an election for the presidency is held within thirty days. But council decided to wait a little longer to hold them from Nov. 27 to 29, so that they could appoint a chief electoral officer and give students time to put their slates together.
When asked whether he would run for president in the elections, Blais said he had not determined his immediate political future.
Former CSU President Sabrina Stea made her resignation official. She addressed council at the meeting and read from her letter of resignation: “I want to make clear that our student union can no longer tolerate the interference in internal student union affairs by the Concordia University administration.”
The current CSU was elected in March 2001 on a mandate that was based in the fight for democracy, accessibility and human rights. However, the administration’s latest acts of banning postering on campus and calling an investigation of CSU publications convinced Stea that the students were losing their democratic rights. She hoped her resignation would bring this fundamental problem to their attention.
“If students need another election, I’ll give it to them,” she said. “With a new election, we can continue to discuss important issues.”
The voters had in fact demanded a new election via a petition started by
commerce and engineering students and it was signed by 3,200 undergraduates. The petition requesting the president’s resignation was handed in after her official announcement and despite having knowledge of its existence, Stea played down its role in her decision.
“If it hadn’t been a petition, it would have been something else. What is
important is that the students voiced their opinions,” she said.
Council member Sabine Friesinger admitted that what Stea had to go through was unfortunate but there came a time when she had to decide whether she was in office for herself or to support the democratic process.
Conversely, the Arts and Sciences Federation of Associations (ASFA) vice- president of finance Riccardo Filippone believed that the reasons given by Stea for her resignation were not advocating democracy but rather epitomizing CSU propaganda. “She clearly resigned for no other reason than the fact that she was going to be recalled.”
Filippone added that he was resentful toward the CSU for not fully acknowledging the petition’s significance. “It was cowardly of the union not to issue an apology to the over 3,000 students who obviously disagreed with its policies.
That is unheard of in politics.”
Stea has yet to decide if she will run for re-election. What she did affirm was that she would continue to speak for the marginalized and oppressed voices on campus. “The struggle is what university is about,” she said.
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