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Wheeler takes the vote

by Matthew Guité April 2, 2013
Wheeler takes the vote

Photo by Sophia Loffreda

Despite some late night hiccups and with only one contested position, the ballot counting for the Concordia Student Union elections finished with the CSYou affiliation being voted in for the upcoming academic year.

The only contested position, VP Finance, went to CSYou candidate Scott Carr with 617 votes in his favour. Competitor Pierre Tardivo had 364 votes.

The other CSYou candidates all received a similar number of votes. Roughly 900 students voted for CSYou, approximately 60 to 100 voted no and there were approximately 250 abstaining ballots.

All of the candidates running for council were also elected, including outgoing executives VP academic and advocacy Hajar El Jahidi, VP student life Alexis Suzuki and VP clubs and internal affairs Nadine Atallah who received 244, 279 and 41 yes votes, respectively.

The three referendum questions included in the voting were all passed by wide margins. The Greenhouse fee levy was granted its request for $0.12 per credit with a vote of 1142 for and 234 against. The Sustainable Concordia fee levy was granted its increase of $0.10 per credit, raising it to a total of $0.15 and the Concordia Food Coalition received a vote of 1,219 for and 145 against, in its request for support.

Three changes to the CSU’s bylaws were also adopted by the student body, despite a procedural mistake that almost let the alterations disappear since they were not initially included as referendum questions. A notice of requirement was not fulfilled and the CSU was forced to abide by a notwithstanding clause since the changes weren’t formally announced during postering.

In total 1,438 students voted out of more than 30,000 undergraduate students over the course of the three-day voting period, with women outvoting men by 783 to 655. The majority of the votes were cast by Arts and Science students, 816, with the second most common being Fine Arts students with 257 votes. John Molson School of Business and Engineering and Computer Science students voted the least with 182 and 133 votes cast respectively.

A last-minute mistake caught by Chief Electoral Officer Andre-Marcel Baril has forced a recount of the ballots in the JMSB building, but Baril has stated that the recount can in no way affect any of the results. Nevertheless Baril says that the recount must be done for the sake of procedure. An error left certain polling days with an irregular amount of votes and other dates with none for VP sustainability candidate Benjamin Prunty and VP student life candidate Katrina Caruso. The mistake is not expected to change the outcome of the vote but there will be a recount.

Speaking to The Concordian a few days after the ballots were counted, upcoming CSU President Melissa Kate Wheeler said that she and her team not only plan to shadow current executives in the coming weeks, but will also seek out past executives for advice and guidance. Wheeler gave Caruso as an example, saying that the incoming VP student life will be seeking out former VP Laura Glover for advice.

“Given that this year was not so great, it would be great to get a couple of extra people for training because I’m not convinced that this year’s executive knows what they are doing,” she said.

When asked about the fact that some of the current executives, such as Nadine Atallah and Alexis Suzuki, will be returning next year as councillors, Wheeler said that she was not concerned despite a history of butting heads this year.

“I trust that their intentions are good,” she said. “I think everyone has the best intentions at heart.”

No Fine Arts representation

Despite the intense campaign to fill empty Fine Arts seats on the CSU council earlier this year, not a single Fine Arts student ran for the CSU council for next year, leaving the department in a similar situation they faced after this year’s byelections. Steps taken during this election period, including specifically postering and campaigning in the Fine Arts VA building, did little to encourage students to involve themselves in next year’s CSU.

Recently-elected Caruso, herself a Fine Arts student, told The Concordian that while she was disappointed with the lack of Fine Arts students on the ballots, she understood the disconnect that made participation in the CSU’s affairs so uncommon.

“As a Fine Arts student, I’ve felt little connection with the Concordia Student Union prior to this election – and this is my third year at Concordia. Fine Arts students are incredibly under represented at Concordia, which is unfortunate because we have so much to offer,” she said.

Caruso added that the issue of communicating with Fine Arts students was one she hoped to address by fostering connections and building new relationships between students and the CSU.

“The major issue with the union is the lack of new blood — time and time again, people join the CSU because of their friends,” said Caruso. “I’d like to change that. I’m going to be working with FASA to have Fine Arts students at large run in the byelections, and win those seats.”

Any student wishing to see a full breakdown of the votes for and against each candidate and question can find them at the CSU elections website: http://csuelections.wordpress.com/

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