After almost two years of campaigning for tuition freeze with Free Education Montreal, I can say with all certainty that I have never seen a CSU executive work so hard for tuition freeze and student democracy as Morgan Pudwell. During and leading up to the WHALE and SGM on February 14th, I personally saw Morgan have sleepless nights, attend countless meetings, post countless posters, make countless phone calls, and coordinate an enormous part of what had to happen for WHALE. Sure it was part of her job; yet Morgan did more than was expected, and clearly she was often alone within the CSU executive doing it. Yet I did not realize until reading her letter of resignation just how alone and excluded she was. I remember being in Morgan’s office one Friday watching her multi-task everything from phone calls and emails to equipment reservation. We had finally found the one place in Montreal that seems to rent out patio heaters, for WHALE, and Morgan did everything she could to make sure we had the safest yet cheapest heaters (a whopping $604.09), so as not to overspend the CSU budget of $1900 for WHALE. This is not an executive who flung money around thoughtlessly. This is an executive who sacrificed her own mental and physical health, not for her career, as is obvious from her resignation, but for her beliefs and convictions, and mostly for the students she represents. Let me tell you that’s rare these days in student politics. We should praise Morgan for her honesty and hard work, and hope that future executives and councillors are inspired by her. With our tuition likely to double starting in 2012, believe me, we need it.
When you get involved with fighting for accessible education (and against tuition increases) you quickly discover that a lot of student representatives are virtuosos at pretending to do something about it and taking credit for the work of others.
Believe me, this is not a hopeless fight, and a lot more could be accomplished at Concordia if all undergraduate student representatives were giving their best effort. Unfortunately, when I was involved in organizing the WHALE, of the CSU executives it was only Morgan Pudwell that was around. Of the executives, it was only Morgan that gave material organizing support, and in fact she did an inhuman amount of work. I’m a graduate student, I don’t need to give a damn about the ins and outs of CSU politics, but I hate to see someone who works so hard, and who actually blew me away with her effectiveness, punished because she made Heather Lucas and Adrien Severyns look bad.
Undergraduates, please don’t make me deal with people like this next year.
Morgan has taken the courageous step to resign because of her sincere commitment to students’ interests and her conviction for an accountable and transparent student union.
I have seen her put forth incredible efforts during this school year to carry out her mandate and to represent students on issues including eco-awareness and sustainability, corporate influence on campus and tuition fee increases.
Her tremendous contributions in working together with students-at-large to put together the Special General Meeting WHALE on February 14th have especially left an impression on me.
Morgan has consistently put students’ interests first and her resignation is a testament to that. The factors leading to this are clear.
Morgan was expected to comply while the rest of the executive silenced her and acted directly in conflict with the concerns that students have voiced about purchasing the Faubourg for the student centre and the disarray of the university due to corrupt governance. She was expected to straight-out lie about their finances, while the Student Union was being steered by external forces in a direction detrimental to student interests. That disregards actual student representation and favours instead the administration.
I am certain that in making this difficult decision Morgan had the best interests of the student body in mind and that this was the only way she could be honest and transparent to her constituency.
Morgan has chosen to defend the rights of over 30,000 students she could not know individually, above many of her personal relationships, her reputation and her job. This is admirable. It is the first time I’ve seen real courage and loyalty (to students!) coming from the CSU.
I have the utmost respect for Morgan and I wish her the very best.
The Cinema Students Association is disappointed to learn that the current CSU executives were not willing to work with Morgan Pudwell, an outstanding leader who has represented students with integrity in her term as VP Promotions and Sustainability.
She was invaluable to councillors during a conflict within the Fine Arts Student Alliance at the beginning of the year, providing support and guidance, and her leadership helped strengthen the Alliance as a whole. She has attended many FASA Council meetings as the Fine Arts representative on the CSU, going above and beyond her position, and was a resource regarding the CSU bylaws during the rewriting of the FASA Constitution.
Morgan Pudwel has been a fierce defender of student rights, active in protesting the tuition increases proposed by the Quebec government. She participated in the student demonstration in Quebec City on Dec. 6, as a representative of the thousands of Concordia students who would be affected by these increases.
Morgan Pudwell was also integral to the WHALE campaign in organizing activities, postering, and cutting through the red tape that accompanies a student assembly of more than 800 people. Though CSU President Heather Lucas spoke on behalf of the executives during WHALE, the organizers relied on Morgan Pudwell for the assistance of the CSU.
The Cinema Students Association witnessed her intense devotion to the campaign at several planning meetings as well as during the assembly, which greatly influenced the success of the campaign.
The Cinema Students would like to extend our gratitude to Morgan Pudwell and her continued dedication to the Fine Arts and Concordia communities.
Cinema Students Association
Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema