Home News CSU on the fence over Faubourg centre while ConU waits

CSU on the fence over Faubourg centre while ConU waits

by The Concordian August 30, 2011

Graphic by Katie Brioux

While the university remains committed to a student centre at the Faubourg Ste-Catherine, the Concordia Student Union has yet to pronounce itself one way or another.
Meeting every two weeks throughout the summer, the CSU and representatives from facilities management have been discussing aspects of what could become the Faubourg agreement.
As media relations director Chris Mota explained, the university’s option to buy the building expires in April 2012.
“The university is prepared to move forward,” Mota confirmed. “As soon as there is a signed agreement then we will proceed.”
She added that, “The university remains committed to a student centre, there’s no question about that, and there have been meetings throughout the summer with the new student executive to talk to them about the project.”
However, at least officially, the CSU remains on the fence regarding any potential agreements.
“As of yet we have not come to an official decision regarding the Faubourg,” acknowledged VP clubs and student space Gonzo Nieto. “When we came into office, we were told that we had approximately three months from the beginning of our mandate to give the university our answer on a $51 million-partnership for 25 years, effectively.”
Because of the time constraints imposed by the September deadline, he said, “There wasn’t much time, had we wanted to look at other options.”
“A decision has to be by the end of September […] because it has to go through a series of approvals at the government level. Any investment on that level needs government approval. There are three ministries that would have to grant their approval.”
“The Faubourg is the only choice at this point, with the students maintaining a $2 per credit fee towards the student centre,” Mota said. “There is no other option that the university can consider at this point with the budget it would have.” Mota affirmed that the budget will remain undisclosed until the agreement is finalized.
While Nieto maintained that a decision has yet to be made by the student union, he didn’t feel that he had the information necessary to consider other options at this point.
“[The fee levy currently being collected] essentially implies that the money can only be used for one centralized building, but again, as to specific of what alternatives exist, I don’t know,” he continued.
Students currently pay $2 per credit towards an accumulating fund intended to finance consolidated student space. As of May 2011, the amount collected for the student centre is just under $6.8 million. There is no end date for the fee levy, so students will continue to finance the project indefinitely.
Last year’s CSU executive campaigned for the Faubourg to become the next student centre. It was sold as the option that was “the most realistic, the most affordable” by then-president Heather Lucas. And it would be achieved, it was added, before current students graduated.
They also brought a potential fee levy increase to the table, looking to add 50 cents per credit over five semesters to bring the levy to a total of $4.50 a credit, but a majority of students shot it down through referendum.
This year, winning slate Your Concordia ran on the basis of public consultation of the student body about student space but are having difficulty fulfilling that mandate, with the university asking for a response on the student union’s part by the end of September.
Under the terms that are currently being discussed, the CSU has a 51 per cent proportionate share of the building, while the university has 49 per cent, Nieto said.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment