New executive, council take office

A messy chapter in Concordia Student Union-administration relationship was finally laid to rest on June 1, when the Concordia Action Network for Democratic Organizing (CANDO) took office as the new CSU executive.
The administration has already signalled it is looking forward to working with the new executive, led by arts and science student Sabine Friesinger. For its part, CANDO has said it hopes to work closely with the administration on several projects affecting the entire Concordia community.
Since CANDO’s win in the March byelections and the eventual out of court release of $200,000 of student funds withheld by the administration, tensions between the CSU and administration have cooled considerably. The new executive and the administration have already been in contact with each other, discussing plans
for the upcoming year.
According to CSU VP External Geneva Guerin, things are already looking very promising for summer projects, including a comprehensive review of the university’s environmental policies.
“We’ve had meetings with the rector and the rector’s office, and they all went extremely well. Things look really good so far,” she said on May 31.
Also in the works is a new student advocacy office, the appointment of this year’s handbook committee, as well as, activities for orientation week in September.
Since last fall, the relationship between the CSU executive and the
administration, as well as several faculty associations, had been on rocky ground. The problems began with the CSU’s release of a controversial student handbook, followed by several corporations pulling out of a Concordia job fair.
Soon after a student-led petition circulated calling for the resignation of CSU president Sabrina Stea.
The ensuing byelection was bungled by then-chief electoral officer Jessica Lajambe, eventually resulting in a complete severing of ties between the administration and the student union. The administration claimed that it could not recognize the council of representatives-appointed interim executive because they did not take office through a legitimate election.
Interim CSU President Patrice Blais maintained that such a claim by the
administration was in blatant conflict with accreditation laws, resulting in a war of words between the executive and administration officials and eventually a lawsuit aimed at reclaiming the recently released $200,000 in student funds.
Also taking office on June 1 was the new council of representatives. Made up of 30 student representatives, only two of last year’s councillors, Tom Keefer and Chae Dickie-Clark, returned.
Over the weekend, some of the new councillors and executive members, along with out-going officers, were able to get to know each other at the annual end of year CSU retreat north of Montreal. The weekend’s activities consisted of both social events and several seminars concerning student issues and CSU bylaws and
Normally, a chairperson would have been elected by this time, but at a meeting held in May representatives were deadlocked over two candidates for the position: former Deputy Electoral Officer Youri Cormier and former Representative Union candidate John Evans. Councillors hope to resolve the issue at their first official meeting on June 12. Also to be presented at the meeting will be this year’s CSU budget.


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