Last Thursday’s slate debate was poorly attended, with only two of the three slates and about a dozen students showing up at a small fourth-floor room in the Hall building.
The conspicuous absence of the UNITY slate made the issues of approachability and accountability even more relevant. The two participating slates, IMPACT and Go! Concordia, both capitalized on UNITY’s absence to make those issues the focal point of the debate.
The debate got underway after delaying half an hour for UNITY to show up.
Go! leader Mina Etezadi stressed the need for the CSU to be a leader in the student movement. She suggested the CSU set up an opposition seat on the executive to make the system more accountable.
IMPACT’s president, Youri Hollier, said the CSU shouldn’t be the big, complicated bureaucracy it is now. Rather, it “needs to get people more involved” and engage students by talking to them.
CEO Jason Druker asked questions encompassing campus sustainability, political experience, loyalty in promises, tuition freeze, student space, Loyola, Concordia’s athletes and the slate’s priorities.
Both leaders stressed the need to make realistic promises. Hollier and Ezetadi compared their promises to those made by the current executive, who campaigned last year as ‘Experience’ and said their promises were on a more manageable scale. Etezadi said her slate is making “small tangible promises” her slate is capable of realizing.
Hollier and Ezetadi disagreed on what action they would take if the tuition freeze was lifted. Hollier said that his team would accept a tuition increase if the money were to be redistributed in the university. He would like to see this money profit Concordia’s support staff.
Ezetadi disagreed with Hollier, saying a lift in the freeze would not create extra money for the school. She said her slate would “fulfill the mandate the students gave [them]” and fight for the freeze. If tuition were to be raised, Go! would push for more loans and bursaries to compensate.
Of the dozen students in the audience, many expressed that UNITY’s absence meant it was time for a more accountable slate to be voted in.
Fine Arts Alumni Anastasia Voutou, still interested in Concordia student politics even though ineligible to vote, said UNITY’s absence showed a complete lack of respect for democracy. She compared Concordia politics to a “one-party system.”
“The system is such that people in power stay in power and [they] bend the rules so that no one else has a chance to put their foot in the door,” said Voutou. “[The situation] is really sad for democracy.”
After the debate, Druker said he was “disgusted and embarassed” by UNITY’s absence, adding that it was disrespectful and not professional on their part.
Druker said he had not been informed that UNITY would not show up. UNITY’s presidential candidate, Angelica Novoa, said she was held at that day’s Youth Action Montreal conference. On Friday, Novoa sent out a communiqu