The executive of the Concordia Student Union will be recommending to council during the next regular meeting Wednesday that Nadine Atallah, current VP clubs and internal affairs, take over the position of president.
President Schubert Laforest officially gave notice on Feb. 7. In a public letter, Laforest stated a decline in health as his reason for departure, citing ongoing mononucleosis and strep throat.
Laforest explained in the letter that he endorsed Atallah as a candidate for his replacement.
“I hope Nadine Atallah, current VP clubs and internal affairs, will take over my position and all my responsibilities with council’s approval. The team and I are very confident in her abilities to lead the union and to carry on with the team of executives through the remainder of the year,” the letter read.
Atallah said that for about two to three days, the executive sat down to speak about the situation and what would be best to move forward. The executive decided together that the best option was that Laforest resign and Atallah to be recommended to the council to take over the position of president.
“The idea was that we would appoint one of us to take over the position and as a team, we felt as if the best person to finish out the mandate is me,” Atallah said.
Bylaw 7.4 states that a majority from council must appoint a new president from the remaining vice-presidents. However, if no vice-presidents will take on the role, a councillor may take the position of president provided a two-thirds majority vote from the council is given.
Atallah stated that there are two significant reasons why the executive felt she would be best to fill the position. One reason being that her job now, VP clubs and internal affairs, is more administrative. According to Atallah, it would be easier to teach someone else her position than any other on the executive.
The second reason is that she and Laforest worked closely together throughout the year. “I’m already in the loop, I know where we’re at and what needs to be done,” she said.
Atallah echoed Laforest’s sentiments expressed in a public letter stating it was a difficult personal decision.
“It’s a big deal, we get attached to the job, the union, the way things are run,” Atallah said. “Unless you do this job, you won’t understand how attached you get and for [Laforest] to resign, it’s an extremely big deal, it’s a sign of how much he cared for the union since he put our interests before his.”
Atallah explained that Laforest was an essential part to the team and although the transition won’t be easy without him, she knows that he will be there as much as he can and that his relationship with the union isn’t over.
Councillor Chad Walcott said although it is unfortunate that Laforest had to resign, he didn’t appreciate that the executive chose who they felt should take on the role of president without consulting council.
“I’m a little confused because Nadine refused to sit on both the Board of Governors and Senate,” said Walcott. “When do we get consulted on this?”
Looking to the future, Atallah says she doesn’t take the position of president lightly and realizes it’s a hard job to perform.
“We want this to be a turning point for us, we’re disappointed for [Laforest] leaving but we want to come out of this stronger than we were,” Atallah said. “But ultimately, it’s the council’s decision.”