Council appoints a new president

The Concordia Student Union is no longer leaderless as VP sustainability Andrew Roberts was appointed to the position of president during last Wednesday’s regular council meeting.

The CSU was without a president since Feb. 12 following the official resignation of Schubert Laforest, who cited a decline in health as his reason for leaving.

The executive began by presenting four candidates as options to council: VP clubs and internal Nadine Atallah, VP external Simon-Pierre Lauzon, VP Loyola Stefan Faina and the absent VP academic and advocacy Hajar El Jahidi. Atallah, despite receiving zero votes from councillors during the contentious Feb.13 council meeting, did not rescind her candidacy.

Immediately following the announcement, Faina withdrew his name prior to the discussion held by council over potential options for a new president. This left three options from the executive to be voted upon.

Lauzon stated that he was ready to take on the position despite adamantly declining the opportunity in February. He explained that as president he would have clear modes of communication with the executive and council.

In a snap decision, Roberts offered to be considered — a suggestion he refused at the earlier date of Feb. 13, stating he did not want to deal with the “politics” that come with the role of president.

“I’ll throw my name in,” said Roberts.

Upon saying that the room was too tense, Roberts put forward his candidacy and council quickly passed a motion from Councillor Gonzo Nieto for Roberts to be the fourth candidate on the list.

Some councillors expressed concern over appointing Roberts since he was initially reluctant to even be considered for the role and were uneasy about putting Roberts in such a position.

“Andrew is awesome,” said councillor Hardial Rosner. “But he really, really doesn’t want to do it.”

However, councillor Chad Walcott argued that Roberts was the best outcome for appointing a new president from the executive.

“Andrew is trying to step up and do the right thing,” said Walcott. “He’s the only one who I would vote for.”

Following tense discussion surrounding all four candidates, council went to a secret ballot to determine the next president of the CSU. Roberts will continue as president through the end of his mandate until June 1.

The CSU was at an impasse for more than a month following the Feb. 13 meeting that left both the executive and councillors unhappy with the outcome and one another.

The executive recommended that Atallah replace Laforest following his unsuspected departure but this didn’t sit well with council. It quickly divided the room, pinning the executive, who felt Atallah was best suited for the position, against councillors, who refused to appoint Atallah. Councillors demanded other options but no other executive was willing to take on the portfolio at the time.

The discussion ended as contentiously as it began, with councillors Nieto and James Vaccaro pursuing a complaint with the CSU’s Judicial Board over bylaw 7.4. The bylaw states that should there be a vacancy in the presidency, council shall appoint a president from the vice-presidents; should no vice-presidents be willing then a councillor may be appointed with two-thirds majority of votes.

However, the bylaw does not instruct what to do should the only vice-president who is willing be rejected by council but does not withdraw their candidacy.

JB ruled in favour of council but allowed the executive to first present other options than Atallah for councillors to choose from.

Now that council has appointed their new president, it seems as though it will not appoint another student to take on Roberts’ portfolio. The new president said he would continue to work in both capacities but that council must move forward together.

“This isn’t a be all, end all,” said Roberts. “It’s a group effort.”


Putting a face to the name: Know your student leaders

Schubert Laforest

Concordia Student Union President

Laforest’s mandate began on June 1 when he replaced former President Lex Gill.
Laforest is in charge of the student union that represents Concordia’s 30,000 undergraduate students and he is there to ensure undergraduate students’ voices are heard and concerns are addressed during the upcoming academic year. The president’s job is to oversee his executive committee’s management of funds, their promotion of student life, their campaigns and services.

Laforest plans to tackle issues and scandals at Concordia with a sustainable and transparent government approach. Laforest promised that students would feel represented in administrative decisions and the CSU would hold governing bodies accountable for their decisions. The incumbent president said that he will tackle the tuition fee increase by lobbying for change within the internal management of the university.

Telephone: 848-7474 ext. 8899

Simon-Pierre Lauzon
VP external affairs

Lauzon is in charge of handling Concordia’s external affairs and therefore deals with individuals, programs and groups outside of the university institution. VP external is responsible for liaisons outside of Concordia and the mobilization of students to actively participate in campaigns organized by the CSU. Lauzon must also sit on the External and Campaigns committee.

For his mandate, Lauzon plans to implement student-run research papers that count for credit in order to have a more informed student body. An advocate of the student movement against the tuition increase, Lauzon will work with international student organizations who face similar situations.

Telephone: 848-7474 ext. 8906

Andrew Roberts
VP Sustainability

The role of VP Sustainability is to develop a responsible and sustainable environmental and social policy for the CSU. Roberts must promote sustainable campaigns and initiatives for Concordia. As part of his duties, Roberts sits on the board of directors for the Sustainability Action Fund and the Concordia Volunteer Abroad Program.

Roberts aims to promote sustainability at Concordia by addressing new undergraduate students at orientation. His goal is to create and update a sustainability website to promote awareness about environmental measures.

Telephone: 848-7474 ext. 8902

Lucia Gallardo
VP academic and advocacy

VP academic runs the legal clinic and Advocacy Centre while acting as a liaison to the Graduate Students Association and those appointed to represent academic bodies on academic issues. Gallardo is also responsible for the organization and chairing of meetings of the student academic caucus, and she must oversee the appointment of individuals on academic bodies or sit on them herself.

Gallardo wants to implement a sexual assault centre with the help of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia. Her goals are to focus on students in need of financial aid and a sexual harassment policy.

Telephone: 848-7474 ext. 8903

Keny Toto
VP finance

The job of VP finance is to oversee the CSU budget in terms of preparation, accessibility, updating and reporting on a monthly basis to the council. Toto must ensure the budget is respected and in the best interests of the student body. VP finance is also responsible for sitting on the board of CUSACORP and on the financial committee.

Toto aims to focus on the needs of undergrads and welcomes their input for the budget. His goal is to make the CSU budget easy to read and to access. Toto also promises to make CUSACORP more profitable through new services while properly managing inventory control and improving marketing strategies.

848-7474 ext. 8901

Nadine Atallah
VP clubs and internal affairs

VP clubs and internal affairs oversees all non-academic groups belonging to the CSU. Part of Atallah’s mandate is to have a relationship with clubs, manage club budgets, and sit on the Clubs and Space Committee. Atallah also acts as the secretary of the corporation aspect of the CSU and must oversee the CSU’s corporate books.

In order to create a more democratic CSU, Atallah promises to implement online voting so that more students can participate in decisions made by the CSU. In addition she wants to encourage all students to find a club or student group that interests them.

848-7474 ext. 8900

Alexis Suzuki

VP student life

The role of VP student life is to act as a liaison for all faculty associations. Suzuki is responsible for organizing major events at Concordia, specifically that of student orientation at the beginning of the fall semester.

Suzuki promised to work closely with clubs and faculty associations to ensure involvement in student life on campus. Her goal is to revitalize student life by reaching out to students to get them involved over the duration of the upcoming academic year.

848-7474 ext. 8905

Stefan Faina
VP Loyola

This position protects the best interests of students at Concordia’s Loyola Campus. VP Loyola is responsible for promoting a united university community and strengthening ties between both campuses. Faina must also maintain a strong CSU presence at the Loyola Campus.

Faina stated that he feels Loyola has the potential to play a greater role in student life this year. He promised to create more events at the campus and to bring back the Winter Festival. Faina also plans to introduce movie nights and a music festival at Loyola.

848-7474 ext. 8912

Exit mobile version