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Breaking down byelections

by Kalina Laframboise November 20, 2012
Breaking down byelections

Photo by Madelayne Hajek

The Concordia Student Union may have to rescind its decision to open the seat of VP academic and advocacy after the Judicial Board hearing set for this week.

During a regular council meeting Wednesday, councillors brought forth concerns regarding the legalities of the positions up for grabs in the upcoming byelections on Nov. 27, 28 and 29.

Chad Walcott, former VP external and current councillor, suggested that all candidates be rendered ineligible for the VP academic and advocacy position. Walcott was the councillor who initially motioned for the position to be opened despite reservations from the executive including President Schubert Laforest and VP external Simon-Pierre Lauzon during the meeting of Oct. 24.

The motion was amended by Councillor Melissa Kate Wheeler, who stated that it was not a matter of ineligibility but that the position was not legally opened to begin with.

The opening of the position was not initially announced and revised posters had to be issued to rectify the matter.

The executive took issue with the motion, including VP internal and clubs Nadine Atallah, who stressed that backtracking now would set a “dangerous precedence” for the CSU by deeming candidates ineligible. Laforest agreed, stating that Walcott’s proposed way of solving the problem was not proper.

“This is not done maliciously, it’s an error, but we have to recognized this error,” said Walcott. “Our standing regulations and bylaws were not followed.”

Councillor Rami Khoriaty expressed concerns with the motion, stating it was a “political move” before Gonzo Nieto, former VP clubs and student space, tabled the motion to render the candidates ineligible indefinitely.

The issue of legalities regarding vacant positions being opened following the nomination period will be addressed by the Judicial Board this week in order to render a decision before the byelections.

In addition, a mounting number of resignations from council left some wondering if these positions were now opened for potential candidates since it occurred after the announcement of polls.

Three councillors resigned in the span of six days and currently council sits with less than half the seats filled. As it stands, three seats for Arts and Science, three for John Molson School of Business, one Fine Arts seat and four independent spots are available in the byelections.

However, if the last three seats that were vacated by an influx of resignations from Arts and Science councillors were to be opened for the byelections, six Arts and Science seats would be available. It’s up to the discretion of JB to decide whether or not this is legal. Members of JB will also have access to a lawyer for an hour of legal consultation from the CSU.

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