The Concordia Student Union’s Judicial Board nullified the opening of the VP academic and advocacy executive position by council while simultaneously deciding that additional Arts and Science councillor seats could be opened for the upcoming byelection.
The three members of JB discussed the case Friday afternoon with respondent and Chief Electoral Officer Justin Holland before issuing a statement later that day. As per the CSU’s request stemming from a regular council meeting Nov. 14, JB investigated the legalities of the vacant executive position and the potential opening of new seats following a slew of resignations.
Hajar El Jahidi, the only candidate for VP academic and advocacy, VP Loyola Stefan Faina and Holland were the parties present for the hearing. Councillors and plaintiffs, Chad Walcott and Melissa Kate Wheeler, cited work obligations for their absence.
The written decision produced by JB states that CSU bylaws and regulations were not adhered to when the vacant executive position was issued for the byelection, therefore legally never opened. In accordance with bylaw 7.3, council does not have the power to appoint an undergraduate student to the position but “should the president of the Concordia Student Union wish to appoint a vice-president academic and advocacy, he should do so with regards to Concordia Student Union bylaw 7.3.”
Furthermore, following numerous departures from council of Arts and Science representatives, JB rendered that all three positions were eligible for byelections if Holland so chooses to open them.
Faina stressed that retracting the executive position from the ballot and not opening the three seats would be detrimental to the CSU and representing the undergraduate student body.
“Technically should we allow these three seats to be open? No. Should we? Yes,” said Faina. “It’s miraculous to have people running for the CSU at this time. So let them, please.”
This was a choice Holland favoured when asked by JB Chairperson Nick Cuillerier if he felt it was appropriate to open the seats.
“I think it’s a grey area,” replied Holland. “I think if the position is in the same faculty and they have willing candidates, it would be in the best interest of the CSU.”
Since councillors April Underwood, Adriana Farias and Haneed Alatrash resigned prior to the campaign period, contrary to the plantiffs’ claim as proved by Holland, these additional seats can be opened. Therefore, if Holland does add the three seats, six Arts and Science seats will be opened for a council that is dwindling in numbers.
Walcott disagreed with the conclusion JB issued, feeling uneasy about opening the seats.
“I’m a little worried this decision will favour Arts and Science councillors,” Walcott told The Concordian. “It’s problematic.”
According to Walcott, he believes that concerned councillors will address this at the council meeting Wednesday.