CSU Council of representatives approves budget

Concordia’s new council of representatives appointed a chair for council
and approved next year’s budget at their first meeting of the year held
June 12.
Before the regular issues for the first meeting of the year could be
dealt with, though, councillors had to finalize an issue left over from
a councillor elect meeting held in May. At that meeting councillors were
to elect their chair for the upcoming year. The vote was carried over to
the next meeting when councillors could not break a deadlock over whom to elect.
Candidates Omar Badawi and Youri Cormier gave speeches a second time and were again grilled by several councillors concerning how they would handle meetings which became heated (a typical occurrence in the previous year), as well as on how well they knew Robert’s Rules – the rules are used to run council meetings.
In a secret ballot vote councillors chose Badawi.
The most questions that came up during the meeting was when the CSU executive presented its new budget for the year. Although the budget was very similar to previous years, councillors still had questions concerning some vaguely defined terms.
Councillor Seanna Miller requested a copy of the previous budget in order to compare the two. VP Finance Sameer Zuberi had not brought copies with him, but said they would be available upon request. Other items questioned were $45,000 set aside for “CSU Special Projects”, $30,000 for “New Initiatives” and $20,000 for “Donations/Solidarity”.
CSU President Sabine Friesinger said the first two are meant for unforeseen student projects for the upcoming year and the funds will be distributed to student groups who present projects to the council throughout the next three semesters. “Donations/Solidarity” would go to various groups on and off campus that request or demonstrate financial need. In total, the budget predicts a revenue total of about $1.2 million and total expenses of just over $1.1 million with a predicted surplus of about $144,000.
Further debate arose over the appointment of students-at-large to council sub-committees. Both Miller and fellow councillor Jonathan Laberge questioned students’ application process and whether there was a truly open call for interested applicants. Although Laberge originally proposed to postpone the appointment of students-at-large until September, all positions were filled at the meeting once it was agreed that positions could be filled if students had already applied.
Laberge and Miller later decried the process, saying the application process was not rigorous enough, sometimes simply consisting of brief e-mails to council or executive members. Of the half dozen students appointed, only one attended the meeting itself. Other councillors defended the process, maintaining the students deserved the positions because they had taken the time to seek out which positions were available and request a nomination, even if they could not
Councillors also voted to send a letter to Board of Governors (BoG) asking them to reject a vote by the university senate blocking independent students from to sitting on the body. The letter said the move would deny the university’s 3,000 independent students the ability to represent themselves on the school’s highest academic committee. Passed unanimously, it should be reviewed at the BoG meeting
on June 19.
Also decided at the meeting were which executives and councillors would sit on BoG and the university senate, as well as the date for elections for the previously appointed student positions. Friesinger and VP Academic and Advocacy Ralph Lee, along with councillors Adam Slater and Maiko Ishii, will sit on senate, along with student-at-large Sobia Virk. Appointed to BoG were Friesinger and councillor Chae Dickie-Clark. The student positions will be decided during the byelections scheduled for Oct. 1 to 3.
Also announced was a cabinet shuffle for the executive, put to council for
approval. The proposal – passed by a large majority – switched Yves Engler and Kealia Curtis, the former becoming VP communications and the latter VP internal.
Since the power to appoint and dismiss executives lays with Friesinger, there was some debate over whether executives should be allowed to change portfolios once elected. Some councillors, including Laberge and Miller, felt the executives were elected on the basis of their ability to perform in their portfolio and should not change. The majority, led by councillor Louis Eric Simard, agreed the election of a slate was based more upon voting in a team than voting for individuals in certain positions.
Also ratified was the constitution of the newly formed Concordia’s Afghan
Student’s Association.


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