By David Demers
Gaining trust seems to be a challenge these days, and the Umbrella Party said they are up to it.
CSU President hopeful Zev Tiefenbach stresses trust as a major concern for the Umbrella Party. “I want to be able to work with all students here. To build things that have a direct impact on their lives.”
The Umbrella Party’s first priority will be to set up an advocacy office. The office, where students can address issues of housing, labour and immigration, is how the Umbrella Party said it will regain student trust. “We feel we can offer students a better way of life,” said Tiefenbach.
Another priority for the Umbrella Party is to determine what became of student finances. “We want to figure out where all that money went and put it back into student life on campus,” added Tiefenbach.
A former People’s Potato Project Co-ordinator and current Financial Co-ordinator, Tiefenbach is confident his experience will show. “The union has to defend the interests of the students. I’ve done it once before. I’ll sure as heck do it again this year.”
Because of the limited amount of time, the Umbrella Party said they are not making promises they cannot keep. “Right now we have to go back 15 steps and start over from there,” admitted Tiefenbach, referring to the recent negative publicity of the CSU. “We want our students to be able to say what they want out of the CSU.”
While Tiefenbach will do his best to have a respectful relationship with the administration, he also understands that the union’s primary concern is the students. “Sometimes the administration has made decisions that do not benefit us, the students. We understand that while we must have an outstanding relationship with them, we want to be clear that we are here to defend everyone’s interests.”
Tiefenbach’s reasons for running stem from his love for Concordia. “I wanted students to be supported by the union. Students should feel proud to be a part of this.” He added that his entire team shares his sentiments.
Democracy in Action
Slate decides to back out, will run again
By Julia Gerke
Jonathan Guido concluded his contention for CSU president last Tuesday after his slate decided to cancel its candidacy.
“The clash of ideologies at Concordia is holding us back from accomplishing what a democratic CSU is responsible for. We are going to take the next semester to study how to be more effective in accomplishing the tasks of the CSU,” said Guido.
Even though he did not make the decision himself, he chose to see the positive side. “I think it’s smart not to run this semester. It means we can get back to our original work,” he said.
His party, Democracy in Action, started out earlier this year as an organization that recruited students and demonstrated the principles of participation in the democratic political process. Students are shown how to turn their issues into resolutions and to have them adopted by authorities. The issues can encompass anything from human rights to environmental concerns. “If we don’t participate in our democracy, then who will?” Guido asked, pointing out that there will always be people with opposing views.
The 19-year-old political science student decided to run for president in hopes of ending the ongoing tussle between ideologies in the CSU. Rather than choosing an extreme of the political spectrum, his party, instead, focused on a middle position. “We are moderates,” said Guido about his party, explaining: “By leaving the ideologies aside, we can focus on what is important, the students.”
Guido and his slate wanted to be seen as mediators between conflicting parties, extremely open to constructive criticism and able to learn from past experiences. They hoped to increase the student involvement and boost confidence in the union by working closely with them.
Guido plans to stay involved in Concordia politics. “We are going to regroup, reorganize, and prepare for future elections.”
New Organized Way
New Organized Way wants to build relationships with corporations
By Lucy Teagle
The New Organised Way aims to get Concordia back on track. Set up this year, this slate wants to introduce a variety of new strategies to Concordia with the goal of cleaning up its public image.
President of the New Organised Way and third-year political science student Luis Diaz said that, if elected, he would rework the student union policy and set up a new working relationship with the university administration.
“The current state of Concordia’s public image is mostly due to inappropriate political action carried out by CSU. These issues should be dealt with through student organizations. We aim for an impartial union that promotes student issues – most students don’t even know they are entitled to health and dental care,” Diaz said.
“We do not foresee any difficult relationships with the administration. We want to work alongside them, and co-operate in dealing with Concordia’s student affairs.”
The New Organised Way is made up of full-time students that are active in university issues. They want to involve and inform the student body through activities, debating clubs and assemblies, giving all students a medium to express themselves.
Priorities include replacing the agenda and improving the financial situation of the union.
“We are currently under-funded, and so we want to rebuild public relations with corporations to support careers fairs and funding. However, we want to listen to students before making decisions.
“We will then restructure union expenses, as the current union is not funding [groups] properly and money is disappearing. They are randomly giving money to groups and some are under or over funded. We need to keep public records, and allow access to information.”
Diaz believes that his main opponent in this election is apathy. “We hope to see a high turnout this year. The turnout for the last election was just four per cent, and that is how the current student union got there in the first place.”
The Left Opposition Party for a Really, Really Democratic Representative Union
‘Left’ to democratize admin
By Laura Lovasik
The Left Opposition Party for a Really, Really Democratic Representative Union is inspired and lead by Tom Keefer, the CSU student accused of uttering death threats to a Concordia security guard last July.
According to party members, The Left Opposition was formed to ensure that all genders, races and religions of Concordia students would have equal rights in the university.
Consequently, the party has made democratizing administration a main point in their platform. Such changes would entail major management restructuring, namely having the rector, the dean of students, the Board of Governors, and all administrators directly elected by the students, faculty and staff. Keefer even vowed that if his party is elected, the first thing they will do is put the Dean of Students, Donald Boisvert, out of office.
Additional points in The Left Opposition’s platform are intended to improve student services. The party plans to obtain free education, fair university trials, new self-awareness and self-knowledge classes and adequate prayer space for Muslim students.
Equally important, the party intends to remove aspects of Concordia they consider problematic. This would mean eliminating all profit corporations, including those that are linked to prison murders of union activists and/or building of weapons of war. They also plan to ban CSIS and military advertising from Concordia.
According to Keefer, students should vote for The Left Opposition to ensure they’ll truly be represented democratically. He said his party would hold monthly assemblies and distribute regular newsletters to keep students informed and opinionated. Keefer is confident that such a routine will help students and the CSU build a lasting and secure relationship.
Experience is key: Schulz
By May El Habachi
Chris Schulz president of the Representative Union slate said that experience in politics is necessary to implement platform ideas. He added that his slate has the experience needed to run the CSU.
According to Schulz, the Representative Union consists of students from different backgrounds, different disciplines, and different political beliefs. “I believe by having a mix of political beliefs the union will be less prone to adopt a narrow political agenda,” said Schulz.
He added that he decided to run because he has been active in the CSU since he came to Concordia. Schulz was a councillor and a clubs commissioner, so running for CSU president was the next logical step. Last year he ran for president and lost.
However, Schulz is still determined to run again because he said his team has an important contribution to make to student life.
According to Schulz, the main idea of the platform is the establishment of a student fund. This fund will be financed by the university and its aim is to absorb assorted costs for students. For example, students would not have to pay to use the audio-visuals and they would not have to pay to hold a theatrical production in the Oscar Peterson Concert Hall.
It is crucial for Schulz to be accessible to students. “We’re going be there when students want to talk to us, and we’re also going to be in classes telling students what’s going on,” said Schulz.
When asked why students should vote for him, he replied by saying that the Representative Union brought change to students through a petition of 3,200 student signatures who wanted to have a presidential recall election. Schulz added that students should vote for his slate because they have experience in student politics.
Students who have an understanding of Lampoon and have tremendous zeal
Co-operation with administration, corporations needed
By Vince Carpini
The people who make up S.H.U.L.T.Z. really want to offer a response to what’s been going on in the CSU over the last six months. “We plan to take an approach that we’ve heard a need for,” said candidate for vice-president of university affairs Michael Amin.
Amin said that students should vote for S.H.U.L.T.Z. because they are nice. More importantly though, is the fact that S.H.U.L.T.Z. is committed to bringing money into Concordia through corporate sponsorship. Corporate sponsorship is at the heart of the party’s slate. They hope to build relationships with corporations in order to secure funds for what Amin said are some badly under-funded programs. The money would be used to buy better equipment, hire new teachers and improve salaries for existing professors.
The first thing S.H.U.L.T.Z. will do if elected, said Amin would be to bring back ZOOM Media. “They were a major contract for the school and it was completely wrong to oust them.”
Amin emphasized his party’s desire to work with the university administration, and not against it. “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you,” he cautioned and added that the administration is not against students, but rather is there for them.
The biggest challenge will be restoring voter confidence in their union, and the S.H.U.L.T.Z. slate said they recognized this. “Whoever wins the election will need a long time to get back the confidence of the students,” said Amin. S.H.U.L.T.Z. will work to earn the trust of students by being honest and public in all matters. They will maintain open forums with students and the administration. “We’ll have no secrets,” promised Amin.