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Evolution edges out Conscious Concordia

by Archives April 6, 2005

After the closest Concordia Student Union election in recent memory, Evolution emerged as the winner for the third straight year. The Evolution slate garnered 1637 votes, compared to 1526 for Conscious Concordia, a margin of only 111 votes.

Anastasia Voutou, Conscious Concordia’s candidate for CSU President, said that given the circumstances, she was pleased with her party’s strong showing.

“We were the outsiders, the underdogs,” Voutou said. “I’m pretty proud of us having come that close.”

Though Conscious Concordia came a close second in the vote for the Executive slate, the party edged out Evolution 15 seats to 14 in council, with one independent.

“Everyone we ran got in,” she said. “The independents got in as well, so basically we swept Arts and Science.”

Voutou added that the narrow margin of the executive vote empowers her party’s councilors. “We had such a strong showing, we split the vote [with Evolution], so we can be a very vocal voice of opposition,” she said.

Voutou also believes that the vote results vindicate Conscious Concordia’s campaign strategy.

“It was a very grass-roots approach that was different from any approach taken in the past,” she said.

“I think the achievements of our campaign will serve as a lesson for how to do things differently.”

When asked about her party’s priorities for next year, Voutou listed several key areas where she believes action is necessary. “Calling them on their broken promises, and also making sure that the sustainable postering policy gets through,” she said. “Action on the tuition hike issue is also going to have to be a priority, because they’re not doing enough in that realm.”

Voutou admitted that being in opposition limits her party’s ability to set the agenda. “Our priorities are somewhat dictated by their shortcomings,” she said. “It doesn’t allow us to focus on what needs to be done, it makes us focus on what they’re not doing enough about.”

Mohammed Shuriye, next year’s CSU President, said that he was pleased with his Evolution slate’s electoral win, but the closeness of the vote came as a surprise. “We’re satisfied with the result, but we were obviously hoping for a higher margin of victory,” Shuriye said.

Shuriye went on to say that he really didn’t mind having a minority on council. “I think we have to work with councilors who didn’t run with Evolution, but fundamentally have the same goals, which is to make the school better,” he said. “We’ll present each issue and we’ll work on each issue without having the whole party affiliation getting in the way of it.”

Shuriye said that Evolution wanted to start the year strong during orientation week. “We want to make the CSU accessible. In the first month of school, everyone should know who the CSU is, what the CSU can do for them, and how they can get involved,” he said.

Other major priorities of the new CSU executive will be working to increase membership and involvement in Concordia’s clubs and associations, as well as finding a way to ensure that student space projects like the seventh floor of the hall building and the Hive move forward.

“We suffered a setback with the student center,” Shuriye said. “Students rejected the idea of two dollars [each in fees to build the center]. That requires us to educate students on why it’s important to invest now for the future.”

Shuriye also said that poster policy reform is high on the agenda. “I want to sit down with council as of June and set up a special committee to look at electoral reform, how we can increase voter turnout, cut down on poster space, and other effective ways to engage Concordia students.”

Postering reform is also very much on the mind of Mark Small, Concordia’s Chief Electoral Officer, along with the party affiliation system. Small said that this election showed where the support for each group really lies. “12 out of 15 seats for Arts and Science council went to Conscious Concordia, and they also had a very strong showing in Fine Arts,” he said. “Evolution got all of the council seats from John Molson School of Business and Engineering. If you follow Concordia politics, this is where you assume all of the support lies.”

Small is concerned with the fact that there were 1000 fewer votes cast than last year, but said there were several possible reasons for this, among them the four-day weekend between campaigning and voting and the overall stability at Concordia compared with previous years. “There were no riots, there was nothing to really get people charged,” he said.

Small also wants to find new ways of getting students interested and involved in the student elections. “Maybe the only way to do that is by having an online voting system,” he said. “I think a lot of people are just on their way to class or on the way home, and they don’t have the time.”

“Things were a lot calmer this year than they have been in years past, which I think is a good thing,” he concluded. “I think that at the end of the day, we’re all mature young adults who should be able to handle an election and the results, whatever they may be. Everyone has to trust each other a little bit, but overall I think it went very well.”

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