The Concordia Student Union’s recent appointment to Concordia University’s Senate, VP Loyola Stefan Faina, is ineligible to maintain his position due to his student status, it was discovered on Thursday, Oct. 4.
Council nominated and then appointed Faina to Senate during a special council meeting Wednesday, Sept. 19 to help fill student representation on the governing body. His appointment was originally scrutinized by council, with some arguing that Faina’s lack of experience would cause him problems down the road.
Faina, who admitted to never having attended a Senate meeting before, was eventually chosen for the position. The only executive acting as a Senator before then was VP external Simon-Pierre Lauzon who was present for the first and second Senate meetings of the academic year.
Following a consultation of university by-laws, Faina realized that he was unable to serve as a Senator because he is currently registered as an independent student. Faina completed his undergraduate degree in psychology last year and registered as part-time, independent student this year, partly in order to maintain his executive position with the CSU. He explained that he was not informed by the university but that he stumbled across the stipulation in Article 57.
According to Article 57 of the university by-laws referring to membership regulations, students must be registered in a program to be eligible to serve on Senate:
“Students elected to Senate shall be registered in an undergraduate or graduate program, be registered in a course or other for-credit activity, and be in good standing. Students who are in failed standing, in conditional standing or on academic probation or who have been sanctioned either under the Code of Rights and Responsibilities or the Academic Code of Conduct within the three (3) years previous to their nomination are not eligible.”
In an interview with The Concordian, Faina expressed his disappointment at being unqualified to sit on Senate.
“I really don’t see why I can’t sit on it,” said Faina. “It’s a little discriminatory and this is a population that has interests too.”
According to Faina, he sent an email to inform outgoing council Chairperson Nick Cuillerier that he would have to step down from Senate to “avoid controversy and drama.”
Faina went on to say that independent students should have representation on Concordia’s governing body.
Under Section 55 in the by-laws, 12 seats are allotted to undergraduate students appointed by the CSU with the obligation of having a representative of each of the four faculties at Concordia. This does not include independent undergraduate students, who are usually part-time students that are taking courses without declaring a program.
VP external Simon-Pierre Lauzon suggested it might be time to reconsider the by-laws to accommodate and represent independent students at the university.
“This is a not a situation that is unheard of,” said Lauzon. “Maybe this is a reform we want to consider because independent students are a student group and they should, in theory, have representation.”
With Faina’s removal from Senate, the CSU will have to appoint two additional students in the near future to fill undergraduate student representation.
According to Lauzon, the CSU believes President Schubert Laforest, who is also ineligible to participate in Senate due to unresolved and undisclosed issues under the same by-laws, will tentatively be allowed to sit on Senate in the near future.