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Blais appoints new VPs

by Archives January 9, 2002
Concordia students may wake up with a new student executive on Thursday morning if the council of representatives gives the green light to a transitional government proposed by interim CSU President Patrice Blais.
The remaining vice-presidents of the Access slate resigned individually in December. None of them could be reached for comment.
The new VPs are Marie-Pier Kerr, Ralph Lee, Louis-Eric Simard and Sameer Zuberi.
The purpose of this interim executive would be to make sure the CSU is well run and capable of offering services to Concordia students, said Simard, who is slated to become the new VP Finance.
By Thursday, the interim executive said it would begin a massive polling campaign to find out what services Concordia students want, then act upon the response. This executive would remain in place until the judicial board makes a firm decision about the controversy surrounding the November byelections, Simard said.
“I want to release control [of the union] to whomever is duly, legitimately and properly elected,” he said. “We need to clear out the cloud that’s there. The CSU’s been shaken. We need a solid, well-built institution. Once the process is finished, there will be no more questions.”
He added the process should be allowed to take all the time that’s necessary “to assess the true will of the people,” not unduly influenced by events and actions taken by sources outside Concordia.
Zuberi added the extra time is needed because the current set of election bylaws were not written for byelections. “We can’t leave it to chance. The Chief Electoral Officer made many mistakes. It’s a good thing that she decided not to rule [on some issues] herself. A lot of people have no more confidence in her.”
Zuberi said he left the Representative Union mainly because he was unhappy with the way information was shared within the slate. He was also upset with the use of RU presidential candidate Chris Schulz’s lawyer to send letters to CSU councillors in November. He said pressure from Muslim groups did not affect his decision.
“I believe in honesty and integrity,” Zuberi said, characterizing some of RU’s decision as counter to that ideal.
“I never thought I’d be getting back into [student politics] at the time, then Patrice Blais approached me and [RU co-candidate] Arielle [Reid] and I said ‘I don’t mind working with you,'” he said.
He said he agreed under the premise that this arrangement was temporary.
The Representative Union VP finance candidate Jonathan LaBerge said Zuberi quit because of pressure from “various Concordia ethnic communities, one of them being the Muslim community.”
“Most of that pressure was based on information that was false,” LaBerge said. “He felt the pressure and decided to react upon it. Sameer Zuberi is a unique individual. He sees things only in black and white terms. He does not see mitigating factors.”
He also said certain individuals within the CSU giving by-laws new interpretation simply because Chris Schulz leads their slate. “By-laws have considerable room for interpretation. This room is being used to prevent Mr. Schulz from taking power.”
But people should not interpret the so-called transitional government as Access doing all it can to stay in power and prevent the Representative Union from forming the new executive, Simard said.
“It’s not Access that’s in power now, it’s Blais who’s in power,” he said. “It’s not a Blais vs. Schulz issue. It’s not a power struggle.”
Zuberi said students were dissatisfied with Access anyway. “There was a petition against them. I don’t see any reason for them to stay. In order to run a union, you need someone qualified.”
Simard said the inclusion of Lee, one of the leaders in the petition campaign to oust the Access executive, and Zuberi, a former member of the Representative Union, shows this new executive is committed to merely baby-sit the union through the current crisis.
He added that invitations were given to current members of the Representative Union to share ideas and information on running the union, but they were rejected. He did not elaborate on what was said or who was asked.

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