What’s in a Chair?
The first order of business was to appoint a new Chair, the previous Chair having stepped down for personal health reasons. Applying for the job of council Chair means you need to have a bit of the daredevil, mixed with more than a dash of determination in you because baby, Question Period on Parliament Hill has nothing on this council.
The Chair is charged with ensuring that meetings follow procedure. They have to be able to keep their cool when people talk out of order (or are being fractious and mounting a protest in the middle of a meeting) and occasionally, they must remind hot-headed young politicians they are actually adults.
Four brave souls applied: Sergio Lando, a first-year student in mechanical engineering, who said he was confident his experience chairing meetings at Vanier would stand him in good stead; Yura Golov, a second-year business student fr om the Ukraine, who replied like a good handyman when asked what he would do if things got out of hand: “there is always a way to fix it”; Beizan Zubi, who could easily win a prize for having had the most experience but the least success in getting a position in the CSU (fired from her job as Chief Electoral Officer before last year’s elections because of a conflict of interest, she subsequently ran for election, and lost, with the slate Impact) said she will do whatever it takes to get involved, and Sarah Rodier, a first-year commerce student who said she had never chaired a meeting before but that she knew the rules “pretty well.”
Rodier won the big prize and was elected. Best of luck, Chairperson Sarah.
Crimey, them be good cookies, Aunt Leah!
Apparently, Leah Del Vecchio’s cookies are so good, they are worth making an impromptu, unscheduled com-motion about, which is just what VP Communications Noah Stewart did at precisely 9:35 p.m.
At a point when things were starting to drag (a motion to provide council with snacks at every council meeting, at an estimated cost of $1,500, had been shot down), Stewart proposed that Del Vecchio bake homemade cookies for the next council meeting. The motion was quickly seconded and passed without delay.
It is not clear at this point whether observers and students will be included in this cookie fest. Students are encouraged to go to the CSU council and ask Del Vecchio in person. Unless she’s in the kitchen.
Film stars or a threat to safety?
A motion by Catherine Cote that council should “consult a lawyer to see if it is legal to film councillors without their permission” before any further filming of council meetings, did get passed.
Cote said she was concerned about her personal safety. “I understand that Concordia students want to know what’s going on,” said Cote, “but putting it online is kind of dangerous.”
The original motion to begin filming council meetings in the interest of accountability had passed 10-2 in June. Three councillors, including Cote, were absent.
Jason Gondziola, station manager for CUTV, the campus media group who had taken on the job, was disappointed with the result.
“I do respect Catherine Cote’s feelings about her safety,” said Gondziola, “but at the same time I think that people who are going to get involved in student politics have to have a good understanding of what rights and responsibilities they have and are sacrificing. And one right they are sacrificing, to a certain extent, is the right to certain aspects of their privacy.”
“I don’t feel that what we’re doing is pushing anything too far,” said Gondziola, who also offered to blur the faces of anyone who felt uncomfortable being filmed.
Stewart estimated the cost of consulting a lawyer for advice to be about $1,000. The cost for filming 10 council meetings this year was projected at $1,500.
Risky business and the rest of the motions
The controversy over the university’s handling of events deemed a “risk” for the school to hold was hotly debated. A motion to call on the university to make public any secret “risk assessment committees” that exist – which the administration categorically denies conducting – as well as including students in a new, formal committee, was passed.
The CSU formally decided to join a coalition of about 20 different student groups in the province to fight for accessible education. “The CSU has always been a part of these meetings,” said CSU President Angelica Novoa, who was also acting as Chair. “For the Board (CSU council) to officially join the coalition, it’s just a formalization of what has already been done.”
A charter has been already voted on and there will be no fees to join the coalition since it’s an ad hoc organization.
“Individual associations take up the burden of their own activities on campus, or their own manifestations, activities and strikes . . . it is not a [group] for raking in money,” said Kate Bouchel, a VP from the F