Home News Unity to run almost entirely unopposed in CSU election

Unity to run almost entirely unopposed in CSU election

by Archives March 11, 2008

Blue and white posters filled up the halls Monday night as the CSU kicked off their annual spring election; but after the dust settled on Monday’s poster night, only one slate appeared to be running for executive, “Unity” – extending the office of the current party for another year.
Supporters were surprised to see little opposition to “Unity’s” second year as a political party at Concordia – save an “affiliation” party of candidates campaigning for CSU council. Named “Be the Change,” the slate is fielding 16 candidates for council, although only five members of the group were present for postering. Unity, in comparison, drew between 30 and 40 supporters.
Keyana Kashfi, “Unity’s” presidential candidate said she was disappointed by the lack of opposition. “I want students to have the option … I think student involvement is really important.”
Chief Electoral Officer Jason Druker did confirm that a second party, named “Change”, had stood candidates for the executive positions. However due to the fact that no one from the party was present at poster night, he believes that the mysterious party may be a “ghost slate,” created to confuse voters wanting to vote for the similarly named “Be the Change.”
Kashfi said that working to keep tuition and auxiliary fees low is a major goal for “Unity.” “We want to make sure that if any kind of fees are added on to anyone’s tuition, student’s are getting a service.” She said the party had success this year in preventing a proposed increase to international student tuition.
VP Communications candidate Elie Chivi promised that there would be no fee increases for students, including CSU fee levies, if elected.
“Yes. We’re here to fight for students and not raise their tuition,” said Chivi. Much of the “Unity” campaign is built around expanding services for students. “One of the big things we want to do for students is putting course packs online.” Kashfi says online course packs would be more environmentally sustainable and would save students money, by saving money on printing costs.
Other promises include a free bike rental program and working with the city of Montreal to put recycling bins in the areas around Concordia. She also said she wants to expand the CSU’s subsidized tutoring centre.
“Be the Change” on the other hand is pushing for greater oversight of the Union’s budget. “Every year we spend $1.8 million dollars of student’s money,” said Be the Change leader, Andrew Fernandez, “There’s no accountability in terms of where that money goes or how it’s spent,” he added.
“Be the Change” also intends to lobby the Quebec government to increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour, or as their posters put it, “increace” [sic]. He believes the increase could be achieved by working with labour and other student unions, however Fernandez said that because the campaign was only an hour old he did not know if any other unions supported the increase.
Campaign posters for Fernandez’s affiliation may be short-lived. Current VP Noah Stewart, who was observing the event, took issue with some of their content, which stated that the CSU spent $200,000 on orientation, $200,000 on “expenses and salaries” for executives and that it does not have a financial controller.
“I don’t want [people] to be defamatory to the CSU. I care about [having] an honest reputation for [us],” he said.
“It [has] to be fair play, you can’t lie,” he added.
Stewart said he would be filing a contestation with the CEO, as soon as possible. According the CEO’s election directives, released last Friday, “the rules of fair play include, but are not limited to, breaching generally accepted community standards,” and forbid, “misrepresentation of facts.”
While in past years poster night has been a chaotic affair, Druker described the event as “perfect” with no violations or complaints committed by the participants.

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