CSU president steps down

Photo by Madelayne Hajek
Photo by Madelayne Hajek

President Schubert Laforest officially resigned from the Concordia Student Union citing health reasons last Thursday night.

Laforest addressed the issue in a public letter stating that due to a case of mononucleosis and strep throat, he was unable to withstand long workdays and properly lead the executive for the remainder of his mandate.

“This is really the only option,” said Laforest. “It’s just irresponsible for me to put myself at risk and put the CSU at risk by staying in that position — I have to put the wellbeing of the CSU before that.”

The executive discussed other options but Laforest said it was ultimately his resignation that would be best for the union and stated that it was the “hardest decision of his life.”

“My doctor said that that the way it looks now is it might last another seven weeks to, worst scenario, six months,” said Laforest. “It could be indefinite.”

The resignation is effective as of 5 p.m. Tuesday. Laforest pushed the date past the weekend to have the opportunity to finish initiatives taken regarding ongoing problems with the information technology services issues and the search for a new general manager.

In an open letter to council and students, Laforest stated that he had tried to work through his illness but it was simply not manageable.

“Before receiving the latest results, I had hoped that if I was adamant enough I would be able to recover quickly or, at the very least, make myself work through it. However, I have come to realize that is neither feasible nor in the best interest of all the parties involved. It would not be fair for me to delegate my duties to my executives in the hopes that I recover rapidly, nor would it be fair for the Concordia student body to be represented in this manner,” the letter read.

Schubert Laforest. Photo by Madelayne Hajek

Shortly after the resignation came to light, the A Better Concordia slate issued a statement of its own, commending the now former-president’s “selflessness to put the executive and that of the Concordia Student Union above those of his own.”

“Obviously, we’re very grateful to Schubert for all he’s done this year, including all the long nights and rough days. Struggling with health issues recently, he’s still stayed strong in his conviction to serving the Concordia Student Union, leading us as a team and helping us individually with our mandates,” the letter read.

At the upcoming meeting this Wednesday, council will appoint a new president. Furthermore, should the executive’s recommendation for VP internal and clubs Nadine Atallah as president be accepted by a simple majority of council, then a second appointment will be made to fulfill the vacated role of VP internal and clubs.

Left in the dark

Most councillors were unaware of the resignation of Laforest until they read about it in the student press Thursday night. For Councillor Chad Walcott, there was no indication of Laforest’s departure prior to articles detailing the resignation.

“As far as I know, no one knew,” said Walcott.

Walcott explained that the lack of notice reflected the year the executive was having in terms of communicating with council.

“It’s unfortunate that it got leaked but at the same time but we could have been given a preemptive heads up and that’s indicative of this year where things have been brought up at council,” said Walcott. “When do we get consulted on this?”

Councillor James Vaccaro said that he was informed that the email server used by the executive crashed and that the email forwarding the resignation letter didn’t make it to council as Laforest intended. However, Vaccaro told The Concordian that ceaseless infighting and “petty arguments” over the undelivered email was affecting the productivity of council.

“We should be acting towards the best interests of the union at a time that is clearly difficult instead of continuously infighting,” said Vaccaro. “It’s frustrating to see bright and passionate people fighting amongst each other instead of working together to bring great things to Concordia.”


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