Guest Letter: Vote Yes for the Change We Need

Support Diversity and Social Solidarity Economic Development at Concordia

Over the next few days, students will be capable of voting in the Concordia Student Union (CSU) 2021 by-election. This year’s ballot is quite large with 13 referendum questions. Those referendum questions include: five fee levy referendum questions, two bylaw amendments, and six questions of importance. With a baker’s dozen worth of questions to be voted upon that stretch from student rights, to economic revolution, to issues of social justice and everything in between it may be hard to assess what’s in front of you.

In my role as general coordinator of the CSU, I have seen all these questions scrutinized and debated by the CSU Council prior to being sent to be voted on in this election. I would like to personally encourage everyone to vote yes to all the questions on the ballot but would also like to highlight certain questions which I believe will be quite impactful for students not only this academic year, but for many years into the future. Namely, the foundation referendum question and the creation of the diversity services fee levy.

The Diversity Services Office is a long overdue and sorely needed addition to the CSU. The creation of this fee levy by the CSU BIPOC Committee will support marginalized communities to proactively lead responsive and targeted initiatives. This office will advocate for a wider and more diverse community than the CSU has been previously capable of advocating for. Diversity Services will create a space in which marginalized students can embrace their identities, form solidarity, access leadership opportunities/resources, connect to diverse community organizations doing crucial work, and support ongoing student demands on how Concordia must do better. Given the many incidents of discrimination and marginalization happening across campus, students must have access to a space in which they feel safe, heard and represented. Overall the goal of the Diversity Services fee levy is to create an institutionalized branch of the CSU capable of fighting discrimination on campus and to give marginalized communities the support they currently lack. Lastly, I would like to thank my co-executives Camina Harrison-Chéry, Faye Sun and S Shivaane for the time and effort they put into spearheading this project to its current state, and to Sandra Mouafo who has recently joined the team to lead Diversity Services into the future!

The foundation referendum question asks students if they want the CSU to explore the possibility of using a portion of the interest from the investments in the CSU’s Student Space, Accessible Education, and Legal Contingency Fund (SSAELC) to support the social solidarity economic development on campus. While the words “social solidarity economic development on campus” is a mouthful, some prominent examples of these are the Hive Café and Reggies.

It is impossible to talk about the launch of these projects without talking about another referendum question on the ballot tomorrow, which is the SEIZE Concordia fee levy. If the funding for future student-led and democratically run projects comes from the passing of the foundation referendum question, the knowledge and training for students to learn how to operate them would come from SEIZE Concordia. Between both questions, a future in which students will be able to run their own campus via cooperative organizations is far closer than previously imagined.

Overall, this election sets the foundation for the CSU and students for years to come. It is inspiring to see so many great initiatives being spoken about, the energy these initiatives bring out of the student body and of course the potential they promise. And with that, I wish you all a happy election!

By: Eduardo Malorni, CSU General Coordinator. You can contact Eduardo Malorni at ([email protected]).


Photograph by Lou Neveux-Pardijon

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