The CSU council chair confirmed on Friday that two councillors have resigned, an announcement that comes just days before council’s first meeting of the year.
In an email sent out on Sept. 16, Nick Cuillerier confirmed that independent student councillor John Bellingham and JMSB councillor Gregory Synanidis had both resigned for “personal reasons.” The email reads that Bellingham’s resignation was linked to “his plans towards his commitment to academics at Concordia University,” while the email indicates that Synanidis resigned for “personal and academic reasons.”
Cuillerier later indicated during a phone conversation that Bellingham’s official letter of resignation was received on Aug. 16, while Synanidis gave notice on Sept. 14. Cuillerier said he has notified the chief electoral officer of the resignations, but has yet to receive a response. He said that the power to call a by-election ultimately lies with council.
Bellingham wrote in an email that his resignation was due to his decision this summer to no longer pursue his studies as an independent student at Concordia.
“I have decided to devote my time and energy this academic year to completing a Graduate degree at McGill before moving out of province for a position that suddenly opened up in my field following the election,” he wrote. “I sincerely regret any inconvenience this has caused.”
Reached by phone, Synanidis said that because of his involvement with JMSB’s academic case competition team and its case class on Wednesday evenings, he realized he would not be able to attend council meetings.
“I was really going to try to balance both, because I did get voted in so I didn’t want to just drop it,” he said. “But I realized it wasn’t physically possible for me to be in both places the same night. It was basically a time conflict. My first priority remains academia.”
The loss of Synanidis reduces the number of councillors from the Action slate to five, all from JMSB. The councillors, as well as all members of their slate, had originally been disqualified last April along with opposing slate Your Concordia by former CEO Oliver Cohen, mainly for allegedly violating rules during last March’s general election. In an April 27 decision, the CSU’s judicial board decided to overturn Cohen’s decision with regards to Your Concordia, but upheld the disqualification of Action. The slate’s councillors were ultimately reinstated by a vote at CSU council in early May.
Synanidis indicated that whether his seat is eventually filled by an Action candidate or a student from Your Concordia – the winning slate in March’s election – it is really no concern of his.
“It’s about having a council that is there for the students. As long as the seat is properly taken, it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s Action or Your Concordia,” he said.
CSU council chair Cuillerier is scheduled to make an official announcement regarding the resignations in his report at CSU council this Wednesday.