Leaked conversations reveal ASFA executive may be ineligible

Discovery prompts questioning of ASFA’s application process

Messages leaked to student media reveal an executive of the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA), a student group that represents Concordia undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science, is allegedly ineligible for the position they hold.

The revelations have prompted questions into ASFA’s application process. According to messages on the ASFA Slack channel, one executive is not a regular student in the Faculty of the Arts and Science, which may disqualify them from holding the position.

The messages contain statements from John Hutton, ASFA’s general manager, who said the Dean’s Office had inquired whether all executive members are registered in the faculty.

Hutton said the email was unusual and proceeded to ask if anyone in the group is not part of the faculty.

The executive in question then revealed they are an independent student, as well as a visiting student. They expressed confusion over their status, stating that they pay ASFA fees.


The situation has called into question the vetting process for elected ASFA executives and eligibility requirements of independent and/or visiting students.

According to an anonymous ASFA member who leaked the messages, the executive’s status as an independent visiting student defies article 21 of the ASFA bylaws, which states that eligible executives must be “undergraduate students registered in an honours, specialization, major, minor or certificate within a program of study in the Arts & Science Faculty.”

ASFA’s Standing Regulations outline that if an executive was elected while ineligible, they are no longer able to hold their position.


A senior administration officer at ASFA’s Dean’s Office said the administration always checks with ASFA members whether all the students on the committee are actually enrolled with the faculty.

ASFA is currently looking into the issue and will follow up shortly with a statement. The communications team did not respond to requests for an interview, and the executive in question has yet to respond to our request for comment.


Update: In a statement posted to social media on July 15, ASFA referred to the issue as an oversight by ASFA election officials.

“[The executive] believed that she was eligible due to the ASFA fees that she paid,” the post read. “What should have happened was that the electoral officers of ASFA checked her student ID # on the membership list, and told her then that she was ineligible to run, at the time when she submitted her nomination forms.”

According to the statement, a meeting with all ASFA councillors will be called to further discuss the issue.

“ASFA executives who are in violation of the by-laws may be removed from their position with a 2/3 vote of the ASFA council. She is not automatically disqualified from holding the position,” it wrote.

The statement also discussed how visiting students are prevented from “fully participating in their ASFA community.”

“This is concerning to us,” it continued. “Ensuring that all students at Concordia have the rights and protections afforded by a union is something we intend to follow up on and advocate for.”

The statement also contained an apology and message from the executive in question, Phoebe Lamb, ASFA’s academic coordinator.

Lamb wrote that she is hoping to transfer her credits from her university in Halifax, and work on becoming officially enrolled in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

“I want nothing more than to continue to be ASFA’s Academic Coordinator,” Lamb wrote. “It is extremely important to [me] that the ASFA community is aware of, and has a say in this matter.”


ASFA to pose four referendum questions

Federation to consult their electorate on fee levy and bylaw alterations

During election polling on March 27, 28 and 29, the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) will be posing four referendum questions to their electorate. They will include two fee levy questions and two bylaw questions.

Increasing ASFA’s fee levy

The first referendum question will ask Concordia students whether or not they support increasing ASFA’s fee levy to $1.40 per credit—an increase of $0.18. According to ASFA president Jonathan Roy, the association’s fee levy has not been increased in a few years, and while they are the association with the largest number of students, they ask for the smallest amount of money per credit.

“Inflation plays a role,” Roy said. “Things get more expensive, and we’ve also been growing.” He said ASFA has added three new Member Associations (MAs) this year, and they may be adding several more. Roy also stated that ASFA plans to increase and improve the projects and services they offer students. This includes providing support to their Task Force on Sexual and Racialized Violence and Harassment—a new initiative that is fully backed by ASFA. According to Roy, the association plans to expand their advocacy projects as well, by hosting lecture series, mental health talks and providing MAs with more funding.

“We can’t do that without money,” Roy said.

CUCCR seeks funding

The Concordia University Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR) will be the subject of ASFA’s second fee levy referendum question. The centre is seeking funding from students to upgrade their facilities and continue to provide free, reusable items and tools to the community.

Although the funding will not be supplied to CUCCR directly by ASFA, the association will be proposing the implementation of a $0.04 per credit fee levy on behalf of CUCCR as a referendum question.

According to Roy, ASFA is advocating for the implementation of the fee levy as it will help with CUCCR’s basic operations and allow the Concordia community to benefit from the centre’s resources.

ASFA bylaw revisions

When it comes to the current state of ASFA’s bylaws, Roy said they have a reputation for being “convoluted,” “confusing” and “a hot mess.” This is why ASFA will be asking its voters to approve a general bylaw revision that will make the administrative aspects of the association more fluid. Roy said the “stripped-down version of the bylaws” will allow ASFA to run more efficiently in the future.

Indigenous sovereignty

Finally, the ASFA executive is asking that their electorate vote “yes” to a bylaw that would require ASFA to take no action in opposition to Indigenous sovereignty. Roy said implementing this bylaw would reaffirm ASFA’s “commitment to supporting Indigenous peoples’ rights.”

According to Roy, in the past, ASFA has taken positions that support Indigenous sovereignty and rights, such as reciting a territorial acknowledgement before every meeting.

Elliott Boulanger, a First Peoples studies student and an ASFA candidate on the Fill In The Blanks slate, said their team endorses a “yes” vote to this bylaw.

“It would show that ASFA is taking a stance on Indigenous politics and sovereignty,” they said. “I think it’s long overdue. It should have been done a long time ago.”

To students who may be opposed to the addition of this bylaw, Roy said it’s not about disregarding the rights of any other particular cultural or ethnic group, but about ensuring equality and respecting the “various cultures and communities that live in the Montreal/Tiohtiá:ke region.

He said having the bylaw implemented would ensure that anyone looking to change it would have to endure a much more laborious process than simply discussing it at a council meeting.

“It makes it a lot harder for anyone to oppose this attempt at standing in solidarity with Indigenous people,” Roy said. “We hope that students see the merit of this question and will stand with us.”

Graphic by Zeze Le Lin


ASFA responds to English department sexual assault scandal

Concordia Association for Students in English criticizes lack of consultation by federation

The Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) discussed its plan of action to respond to the English department’s sexual assault scandal in a regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, Jan. 18.

The federation moved to create a committee, chaired by councilor Taran Singh, which will make recommendations for measures to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation within the Faculty of Arts and Science. The committee will be composed of several councillors, including Concordia Association for Students in English (CASE) president Debby Gemme and three ASFA executives: president Jonathan Roy, vice-president internal Rachael Hutchinson and vice-president external Bianca Bruzzese.

The committee will have the power to make edits to ASFA’s official statement on the recent sexual assault scandal within Concordia’s English department before it is released. Gemme criticized ASFA’s executive team for not consulting CASE on the first draft of the statement. “We think there’s a lot in there that’s problematic,” she said to Roy during the meeting.

“We simply want to ensure that student associations are putting out a united and consistent message conducive to concrete change,” Gemme told The Concordian.

CASE has released its own official statement, calling for the English department to apologize for its “dismissal” of previous allegations, ensure that the third party investigating the allegations is transparent and communicates effectively with students, and update current school policies to address possible abuses of power by faculty, among other things.

ASFA will also participate in a larger task force overseen by the university’s administration. At the council meeting, Roy commented on his Jan. 15 meeting with dean of students Andrew Woodall and deputy provost Lisa Ostiguy, who will be coordinating an assessment of the university’s environment.

“We will be working together hand-in-hand. Not just ASFA and the administration, but we’re gonna try to reach out to all the other faculty associations and work with the Concordia Student Union so that we can create a task force to essentially look at the way sexual harassment and misconduct and such happens at Concordia,” he said.

Although Roy told The Concordian that the details about this task force have yet to be released, he told council that ASFA will advocate for mandatory consent training for all faculty and staff and the promotion of sexual assault resources on all course outlines.

Roy also met with the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, André Roy, on Jan. 12, who he said is committed to implementing “preventative measures and resources to ensure that institutional changes will be made to ensure the continual safety of our students.” These measures include “policy change, workshop implementation and educational/informational campaigns.”

Gemme also criticized Jonathan Roy for not consulting CASE before these meetings with high-level faculty.

“We would have liked to have been consulted,” she said. “The executives, but also the student body that we represent, really would have had a lot to say.”

Roy said that he had met with the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science to discuss a different issue, and had not planned to discuss the allegations of sexual assault. He did not consult CASE prior to his meeting with Woodall and Ostiguy because the two were scheduled to have a separate meeting with CASE.

“From now on, whenever we have any correspondence with either the dean of students or the dean of arts and science, we will be contacting you, and we will try to coordinate something,” the ASFA president told Gemme during council.

Photo by Alex Hutchins


Addressing mental health together and ASFA join forces to destigmatize mental health

Two Concordia student organizations are working together to confront the stigma that hinders conversations surrounding mental health.

Concordia’s chapter of, which advertises itself as “the only national network of young leaders transforming the way we think about mental health,” joined the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) in a presentation held on Nov. 21. The event was organized to help change the dialogue around the psychological challenges many students face.

“Creating a space to talk about it really demystifies things and makes it more accessible,” said Dale Robinson, the former manager of Concordia’s counselling and psychological services.

Concordia students Maya Okindo and Josie Fomé spoke at the event on behalf of Concordia’s chapter. They provided information to assist anyone who may be experiencing mental health issues, including when to seek help and where to find it.

A key point brought up by Okindo and Fomé during the talk was that mental health exists on a spectrum, and where one falls on that spectrum can change over time. The presenters explained that mental health can be impacted by a wide range of factors, such as genetic predisposition, a person’s environment, the culture in which a person is raised and the way society as a whole views people with mental health issues.

The presenters noted that, while one in five Canadians will struggle with mental health in their lifetime, only one in four of them will seek help.

Concordia students have access to a variety of options when it comes to mental health.

Robinson noted that Concordia’s support system is “made up of counselling and psychological services, health services and access centres for students with disabilities.” She explained that these offices work together, like a network, so that students receive the best care possible.

“The services were already good; I think they’re going to be even better because of the fact that there’s active interaction and a network,” Robinson said.

Other speakers and organizers at the event shared stories of their struggles with mental health, including ASFA president Jonathan Roy. When asked why events like the talk are important, Roy recalled the lowest points in his life, saying that he wanted to make sure others wouldn’t have to feel the same.

“You have to go through the low moments,” Fomé said, “but you don’t have to go through them alone.” She added that students should never feel afraid to seek help because “it’s okay not to be okay.”

Concordia students in need of psychological support are afforded 10 free counselling sessions through the school. No referral is needed; students simply have to present themselves to a triage centre at either the Loyola or Sir George Williams (SGW) campus. From there, students will be placed with a counsellor.

Counselling and psychological services can be found in room H-440 on the SGW campus or room AD-103 on the Loyola campus.

Graphic by Zeze Le Lin


Meet ASFA’s new independent councillors

Newly elected students explain their roles, their goals and their upcoming challenges

During last week’s Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) by-elections, which named Jonathan Roy the federation’s new president, each of the five independent councillor candidates secured enough “yes” votes to earn a seat on the ASFA council.

Independent councillor Patrick Quinn

What is the point of having independent candidates on council? What makes someone want to run as an independent, rather than as a candidate from a Member Association (MA)? What are the unique challenges and advantages associated with being an independent? The Concordian sat down with three of ASFA’s new independent councillors—two newcomers and one veteran—to ask them these questions. Each one of them felt the advantages of running as an independent outweighed the disadvantages.

“As an independent [councillor], you have more of a free will in government, because you’re not really accountable to anybody but yourself and to the people who elected you,” said Patrick Quinn, a second-year political science student and VP external for NDP Concordia.

According to Quinn, independent councillors play an important role in holding the council accountable. “You’re there to watch the meeting and make sure that what the executive and what the council is doing is correct, is following the bylaws, is the direction that everyone wants to go in,” he said.

Independent councillors can sit on the council and vote on motions, but they cannot be part of the executive team. However, as returning independent councillor Andrea Gauthier said, this does not mean independents cannot be active in student government. “[I’m] on the internal committee, the finance committee, the academic committee [and] archiving committee,” she said.

Independent councillor Fatima Janna El Gahami

First-year political science student Fatima Janna El Gahami said running as an independent can also help avoid competition. “I knew the chances for me to be elected as an independent would be stronger,” she said. “It’s very competitive, and everyone wants a position in the [Political Science Students’ Association].”

Despite lacking an MA, none of the candidates felt that connecting with the student body had been or would be an issue. “I think [one of] the joys of being a part of ASFA is that I get to become friends with a lot of people from a lot of different programs,” Gauthier said. “I attend a lot of different events from a lot of different MAs.”

“I’m a people’s person,” El Gahami said. “I like to talk to people. I’m very social. I like meeting new people.”

As for the goals they have for their mandate, each councillor was more concerned with how they planned to conduct themselves on council rather than with specific policies. Quinn said his goals are transparency, accessibility, accountability and strong relationships with the student body. For El Gahami, her aim is “to be as transparent as I can, and also to represent the students at Concordia.”

Independent councillor Gaëlle Kouyoumdjian was not available for comment in time for publication. Independent councillor Alisa Knezevic did not respond to a request for comment.


In the run for the ASFA presidency

Candidate advocates for sustainability, LGBTQ+ representation and mental health resources

Following interim ASFA president Julia Sutera Sardo’s announcement that she will not be running for re-election, Concordia student Jonathan Roy has stepped into the spotlight.

As VP internal and councillor of the Concordia Classics Student Association (CCSA), VP of finance of NDP Concordia and member of the Concordia Senate, Roy is heavily involved in student politics at Concordia. On Monday, Nov. 13, he announced his candidacy for the ASFA presidency.

His posters, plastered on the university’s walls, feature his campaign slogan: “Empowered together.”

“You can’t just leave the decisions of an organization to a single individual. They need to be worked through by a collective,” Roy said. “I’m doing this because I want to support the rest of the executives. I want to support all of our associations. I want to support our students. This isn’t about me.”

This sentiment is echoed in his platform of empowering the member associations (MAs) and ASFA executives to fulfill their mandates. Roy has proposed moving away from the traditional, hierarchical order of the executive.

“Yes, I’m running for the presidency but, in my mind, the spirit of that office is that of a general coordinator,” Roy said.

Roy’s other campaign promises include making ASFA more sustainable, increasing LGBTQ+ representation in student governments and a complete collaboration with Concordia’s mental health services.

In terms of environmental sustainability, Roy plans to put a compost bin in every MA lounge, if elected, and plans to continue his work with Waste Not Want Not, Concordia’s composting campaign.

As a gay man, Roy said he is all too familiar with the lack of LGBTQ+ representation in politics—especially in Concordia’s student associations. He said he plans to take concrete steps toward solving this issue.

“I want to propose setting a specific spot on ASFA’s advocacy committee aside for a representative of Queer Concordia to be a voice on behalf of our community,” Roy said. ASFA’s sustainability committee already holds a designated spot for a representative from Sustainable Concordia, which has been an extremely positive experience, according to Roy.

As for working with Concordia’s mental health services, Roy said this collaboration is deeply important to him. After suffering from severe depression and attempting suicide five years ago, he said helping people through mental illness is especially important to him.

“I was at the lowest point in my life,” Roy said. “I’m always candid about my mental health issues because it’s important to talk about it. That’s how we end the stigma around it.”

Having used the services himself, Roy said he hopes to further relations with the Concordia chapter of—a national mental health network—and ensure Concordia’s psychological services are better advertised, if elected. Roy plans to push for more open dialogue about mental health within the university so students and their academics suffer less.

“People don’t deserve to feel the way that I’ve felt, and I want to try to help them,” Roy said.

ASFA presidential candidate Jad Abi Semaan. Photo courtesy of Jad Abi Semaan

While Roy said he feels confident in his ability to win the election, he is not running unopposed. Jad-Faraj Abi Semaan told The Concordian he is also in the running for the position. Semaan is a political science student at Concordia. He said that, if elected, he plans to strengthen the relationship between ASFA and the MAs by improving communication and establishing a plan of action which will allow MAs to reach their full potential.

“In a world polarized more than ever, […] we need platforms that bring people together,” Semaan said. “I will make it a personal priority to give an equal voice to students from all backgrounds, religious affiliations and ethnicities, such as the LGBTQ+ community, Muslim students and students with disabilities.” Semaan also said he wants to ensure the ASFA community is loving, accepting and respectful.

According to Roy, Semaan has had no previous involvement with ASFA, apart from acting as a polling clerk for the association last year. However, Semaan told The Concordian he would “be more than happy to have a constructive conversation with [Roy] at any point during this campaign and put to bed all his concerns about [his] legitimacy.”

Overall, Roy said his priority throughout the campaign and, if elected, his presidency, will be to empower the student body as a whole.

“The way I see governance, especially student governance, is not about catering to the needs of one person. It’s about coming together to work to help everyone,” Roy said. “That’s something that I’m a huge proponent of and something that would be reflected in the work I would do as president.”

Feature photo by Alex Hutchins


ASFA begins search for first Loyola office coordinator

Council seeks to determine position’s workload and how to allocate funds for salary

The Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) passed a motion to begin the hiring process for its first Loyola campus office coordinator during a council meeting on Oct. 12.

Prior to the motion, introduced by liberal arts councillor Robert Young, several candidates interested in the position approached executives. According to interim VP finance Francesco Valente, one candidate in particular, who was recommended by downtown office coordinator Chris Lechkobit, is “extremely qualified.” However Valente said this candidate is “a close friend of all the executives, which I think is a kind of a big conflict of interest.” The candidate’s name was withheld from the meeting.

The motion to being an official hiring process and put a callout to council was intended to avoid this conflict of interest and select the candidate who was best suited for the position, according to interim ASFA president Julia Sutera Sardo. Hiring decisions are made independently from the council by the hiring committee, which consists of the president, VP internal, VP finance and the Sir George Williams campus office manager.

Sutera Sardo said the hiring committee planned to consult legal counsel on the contract, and to determine how many hours a week an office manager needed to be present at the Loyola campus before signing a contract with any candidate. A motion was passed to allow interim VP of external affairs and sustainability Bianca Bruzzese to fill the position for two weeks on a volunteer basis to determine how many office hours are necessary at the Loyola campus.

The motion also included a review of the annual budget before the next meeting to determine where extra funding for the new coordinator’s salary could be taken from. According to Valente, the $1,500 originally set aside for the coordinator’s salary would likely not be enough to pay the person $15 an hour for the whole year, as per ASFA policy.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the hiring process for the Loyola office coordinator position had already begun and that the ASFA website indicated a candidate had been hired. The Concordian regrets the error.

Photo by Alex Hutchins


ASFA’s new VPs discuss their mandate

Students from the faculty of Arts and Science elected their new representatives for the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) on March 24.

ASFA’s new executive team consists of Julia Sutera Sardo (President-elect), Christopher Czich (VP-elect of social affairs), Bianca Bruzzese (VP-elect of external affairs and sustainability), Gregory Bedell (VP-elect of Loyola and academic affairs), Steven Tutino (VP-elect of internal affairs) and Francesco Valente (VP-elect of finance). The position for VP of communications and promotions wasn’t applied for in time for the elections.

Sutera Sardo, Tutino and Czich spoke with The Concordian about their upcoming projects and expectations for the 2017-2018 year.

Sutera Sardo, who is in her third year of political science and community, public affairs and policy studies, is happy with the election results. “It’s very nice to know people believed in me to fill the role,” she told The Concordian. Sutera Sardo said she is planning a few changes for her upcoming mandate.

President-elect Julia Sutera Sardo. Photo by Chloë Ranaldi.

“I would like to add the advocacy committee to the bylaws,” she said. Despite having ASFA’s support throughout the year, neither the task force nor the advocacy committee—groups that denounce any form of racism or sexism—have been added to the bylaws. Adding these policies to their bylaws is a way of ensuring they are official, according to Sutera Sardo.

She also said she is currently thinking of ways to facilitate the electoral process for the future annual general elections, by-elections and upcoming referendum questions. She told The Concordian this idea arose after the most recent electoral period, when ASFA was forced to extend their voting period on March 24 in order to reach quorum.

The newly-elected president said she also wants to encourage Concordia to develop a family policy to ensure students who are parents in the faculty of Arts and Science have access to the same education and rights as everyone else.

She will also continue to advocate that ASFA’s member associations (MA) provide free menstrual hygiene products. Sutera Sardo initially presented a motion at ASFA’s council meeting on January 12 titled The Support for Individuals that Menstruate Position Motion. It requests that ASFA finance and supply feminine products in all MA offices for students in need.

She also wants to make ASFA more inclusive and more representative. “We have an anti-racism position, and a sanctuary campus position as well,” she said, mentioning that ASFA just recently added these to their bylaws. “[This academic year] was the year of stabilizing ASFA, and I think that 2017-2018 will be the year of reforming ASFA,” Sutera Sardo said.

Sutera Sardo also mentioned she wants to openly support student engagement within the university and campus politics. “If I wasn’t engaged my first semester, I probably wouldn’t be where I am right now,” she said. She said she was hopeful about ASFA’s future based on how many students were engaged and voted during the elections. A total of 459 students voted.

During his campaign, Tutino did a lot of posting and advertising through social media, even though he was the only one running for the internal affairs position. “I told my friends to vote, and engaged students in my class to do the same,” he said.

For his new role as VP of internal affairs, Tutino has already thought of projects he wants to accomplish next year. “I want to help with the lack of representation that some student associations might suffer from,” he said. The newly-elected VP is a theology major and is therefore familiar with the problems that the Theological Studies Undergraduate Student Association has experienced. “They have an association, but are not certified yet. They are not acknowledged by the university,” Tutino said, adding that it’s been an issue because the association should be taken into consideration like any other ones on campus.

VP-elect of internal affairs, Steven Tutino. Photo by Nelly Sérandour-Amar

He said he also wants to work with Queer Concordia and make them more visible on campus. “I want to hear their concerns, and I clearly don’t know all of the politics around it, but I want to create a dialogue with them and just speak with them,” he said.

Tutino plans to work on promoting gender advocacy on campus as well. “It was actually an issue for my campaign. People were wondering how can I make a poster with something that I’ve never experienced before,” Tutino said, remembering how people would question his knowledge on the matter. He believes gender advocacy should be more advertised and he wants to understand the issue more. “I’ve been going to meetings regarding the issue and I, myself, [want to help] with it,” he said.

Czich, the new VP of social affairs, is looking into organizing different events that would bring ASFA’s member associations closer. “I would like to do a [member associations] tournament, which means that basically each program goes head-to-head in different mental and physical challenges,” he said. Czich is also developing a few ideas for next year’s frosh. “I would like to collaborate with the CASA and other faculties for maybe some cinq à huit type of events,” he said.

The three VPs are confident working together will be a positive challenge, and that getting along with people from different backgrounds is part of the job. “If you’re committed to make an organization grow, then there should not be any problems,” Sutera Sardo said. “I’m also really looking forward to working in a non-hierarchal way because this is what ASFA is all about.”


Meet the candidates for ASFA’s 2017 elections

Between March 21 and 23, students can vote for who should run ASFA

Although the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) elections are just around the corner, many students are still unaware of who this year’s candidates are, or how they plan to lead and improve Concordia’s largest faculty association. Luckily, The Concordian has got you covered. Here are the profiles of candidates running for the VP positions for the 2017-2018 year.

Students in the arts and science faculty can cast their vote between March 21 and 23.


Julia Sutera Sardo

Julia Sutera Sardo

Position: ASFA president

Program: Political science & community, public affairs and policy studies

Year: 3

Why is she running?

I wanted to run as president because we’ve made some great strides this year, but we’ve also encountered issues. I feel that ASFA needs to continue paving the way for itself by making additional and significant changes to its structure. I’ve experienced ASFA from the viewpoint of Member Associations, and from the viewpoint of an Executive—I’ve also experienced it as an electoral officer. Because of this and having worked alongside MAs all year, I understand how both sides see each other, how they interact, what they need, and how to support them. I’m resolute to bringing forth informed policy changes on the behalf of the rest of the ASFA team and with their input.

Why should you vote for her?

My experience includes serving as VP of internal affairs and administration, which encompasses being a voting member of the Policy Review and Finance Committees. Additionally, I have taken on chair of the Advocacy and Internal Committees. I have been a CSU Councillor, a Member Association CEO and an ASFA DEO. My plans for the upcoming year include 1) A by-law reform that would make the ASFA by-laws more strong-form and to really ensure that they serve their rightful purpose. 2) Creating an appointments policy to facilitate the appointments process within the federation. 3) Assuring that menstrual hygiene products are available for free on campus for students. 4) Supporting the creation of a family policy at the faculty level, and 5) Filling the position of advocacy coordinator.


Francesco Valente

Francesco Valente

Position: Vice-president of finance

Program: English literature

Year: 3

Why is he running?

It’s because of joining school politics that I consider this to be hands down my favourite year of university. The 2017-2018 year will, hopefully and sadly, be my last year at Concordia, and I think being a part of ASFA’s executive team will be the most rewarding way to go out.

Why should you vote for him?

Obviously a literature student is not who you would typically expect to be running for ASFA’s VP of finance, but I hope to prove the stereotype wrong. This year, I had the privilege to be the VP of finance for CASE (Concordia’s Association for Students in English) as well as their councillor, where I sat on ASFA’s Finance Committee. I hope the student body will put their faith in me to fulfill the needs of this position.


Chris Czich

Chris Czich

Position: Vice-president of social affairs

Program: Communications

Year: 2

Why is he running?

I chose the position because it’s a domain I am quite familiar with, and I love the idea of bringing people together to have a good time—it’s what I’m all about. When I can make others happy, I am happy too.

Why should you vote for him?

Concordia students should vote for me because their satisfaction is my number one priority, and I feel my previous experience will help us create ASFA events that will give students a way to unwind from the stresses of university and an opportunity to meet new friends. As VP of the Communications Studies Student Association, I enjoy the group dynamic and working alongside people who are just as excited about making our events successful as I am. Overall, I want to make ASFA better than when I arrived.


Steven Tutino

Steven Tutino

Position: Vice-president of internal affairs

Program: English literature & theological studies

Year: 4

Why is he running?

I chose to run because I have the best interest of the faculty and university at heart. I built my way up by volunteering for groups on campus, such as CUPS, the Co-op Bookstore, the Student Success Centre and the Multi-Faith Chaplaincy. I also volunteered for the JMSB CASE Competition and the Alternative Spring Break Program. I always want to accomplish new things and this, by far, is arguably the biggest thing I am embarking on, ever, at least in my academic and professional life.

Why should you vote for him?

I’m extremely involved in all my accomplishments here at the university, both personally and academically. My involvement with Concordia has been extremely rewarding, and I want to strengthen bonds between member associations and make sure their voices are heard. I believe that working with MAs will help ensure a better, quality experience for each respective department’s students.

The answers have been edited for length and clarity. The Concordian reached out to Bianca Bruzzee, but she did not provide answers before the deadline.


ASFA passes motion to protect students

ASFA councillors discuss students right to study and pray

A motion to condemn Islamophobia and officially take part in Sanctuary Campus was passed at the Arts and Science Federations of Associations (ASFA) monthly meeting on March 9.

These motions were passed in response to the fake bomb threat targeting the school’s Muslim community on March 1.

The motion stated that ASFA condemns Islamophobia and any form of religious discrimination, and that ASFA supports current and future campaigns to fight Islamophobia on campus and any action taken by the CSU to do so in Montreal.

“While we do have an anti-racism position, [the councillors] wanted to be sure that we had something very specific to the kind of racism that we experienced at Concordia on March 1,” Julia Sutera Sardo, ASFA’s vice-president of internal affairs and administration, told The Concordian. She said ASFA is be taking this opportunity to show that they are more than a political association and they have the power to protect their students. “Taking a position that condemns any forms of religious discrimination is something that we have to work on as an association to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

ASFA wants to ensure the protection and safety of Muslim students because they have been seeing a lot of discrimination towards Muslim students in particular. “It doesn’t matter what religion you are. As a student, you are entitled to have your space to pray and experience your religion in any way. Having discrimination against any religion is completely ridiculous,” Sutera Sardo said. Concordia students who practice Islam have a religious space on the seventh floor of the Hall building, near the Concordia Student Union (CSU) office.

ASFA also voted to officially take part in Sanctuary Campus with the CSU. A Sanctuary Campus is when a college or university adopts policies to protect students who are undocumented immigrants. This term is modeled after “sanctuary cities” which have been adopted by over 30 municipalities in the U.S., and so far, four cities in Canada. “The councillors brought this point forward and we really applaud them for doing so,” Sutera Sardo said.

“We wanted to have a motion that allows ASFA to support officially Concordia to become a Sanctuary Campus in Montreal,” Sutera Sardo said. “We want to make sure that all students are treated equally and that they’re not sent back somewhere else or that their rights to study are denied.”

ASFA is responsible for 25,000 students, and for them, it’s important that these students feel comfortable studying at the university. “We want to make sure they have a space to study and to not be bothered because of something that is on paper. It doesn’t matter what it says—if you’re a student, you should be treated properly and you have a right to an education,” said Sutera Sardo.

She encourages all other student associations to support the Sanctuary Campus movement.


ASFA to host annual internship fair

The student association’s sustainability committee invited local companies to the event

The Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) sustainability committee hosted their first local internship fair on Feb. 16 and are already looking into making it an annual tradition.

“I wanted a fair that mutually benefited students and local companies,” said Agunik Mamikonyan, ASFA’s vice-president of external affairs and sustainability. “These companies will benefit from the extra help that they can get from students who themselves need internships.”

The fair, which took place in the EV atrium from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., hosted multiple local companies and organizations such as Engineers Without Borders, Campus Potager and ForUsGirls, among others. Some Concordia community organizations were also invited to come showcase their companies, including CUTV and Concordia Food. “At least a couple hundred students actually stopped and had conversations about the organizations and the internships opportunities that they offer,” said Morgan Crockett, who is part of the sustainability committee. The committee is responsible for organizing events revolving around environmental, social and economic issues.

“People think that when an organization is local, there will be no internships offered and only volunteering, but there can be some really interesting internships,” Crockett said.

Mamikonyan said she wanted to organize the fair, because she realized students often look for work or internships in different cities or with different organizations outside of Montreal. “This fair is a way to show students that, instead of having to go work for a huge corporation or just having to move for the summer to work, they can actually help their community by staying in Montreal and working for the local companies,” said Mamikonyan.

Of the 10 companies present at the fair, Mamikonyan said each takes one or two interns for the summer, depending on their needs. “Unfortunately, some companies and organizations didn’t answer the invitation, which is why next year we will start planning earlier,” she said.

With this being a new initiative for ASFA’s sustainability committee, Mamikonyan said every year they will have to improve it. “It’s one of those events that would work well on a yearly basis,” she said. “I would let the organizations know about it months ahead so they can have the staff ready to come represent the companies.” She said this would also help ensure students can apply for these internships in time. Due to late scheduling, most of the companies’ internship deadlines had already passed by the time ASFA’s internship fair was held. “I hope to improve the timeline by next year, since many of these places already had their interns chosen,” said Mamikonyan.

She believes that the fair should have the same impact as Quadfest, which is a social celebration that happens every fall semester at the Loyola campus. “I think if we have Quadfest, we could have something more sustainably-oriented,” Mamikonyan said. “We are going into a future that is really defining sustainable development, which is why we should support the development of the community.”


ASFA to discuss future working relationship with The Link

The team plans to meet with the student newspaper to discuss recent media ban

During the Arts and Science Federation of Association (ASFA) monthly meeting on Feb. 9, the council decided they would be meeting with The Link to discuss a future working relationship with the student newspaper. ASFA also formally apologized to their membership for the method they used to release their initial statement to cut ties with The Link.

On Monday, Feb. 6, ASFA published an open letter on their Facebook page announcing that the ASFA executive team would refrain from commenting on or engaging with The Link until the newspaper published a public apology or until the end of their mandate. The reasons listed were recording individuals without consent, having a biased agenda, misconstruing information and disregard to certain individuals’ mental and physical health.

The letter was published under the entire ASFA executive team, however, councilors of the Member Associations were not aware of the decision before it was made public. The Link was also unaware that ASFA was going to publish a letter, nor were they consulted about it beforehand, according to the editor-in-chief, Jonathan Caragay-Cook.

Agunik Mamikonyan, ASFA’s vice president of external affairs and sustainability told The Concordian why the executive decided to publish the letter as fast as they could. She said if The Link would continuously have to put disclaimers on articles about not receiving comment from ASFA, it would look untransparent on the association’s part. Therefore, a public statement from ASFA themselves explaining why they refuse to provide comment was best, she said. “If [on a The Link article] it says that the ASFA executive does not want to comment on something, it looks bad on us. It says that we are hiding something,” said Mamikonyan.

“In the past couple of months, we’ve been experiencing a lot of bias towards us, in specific from The Link,” said Mamikonyan.“I don’t want to speak [of] the whole newspaper because there are great writers and great photographers, but there are some individuals in there who make it hard for the ASFA team to function at its best.”

According to some of the councilors, The Link‘s biggest transgressions occurred when when a reporter recorded a Task Force meeting on racism, sexism and sexuality, even though some of the attendees didn’t feel comfortable being recorded, or didn’t know they were being recorded. According to Andrea Karsznai, president of ASFA, the reporter from The Link did not ask for consent from the participants at the meeting. However, Caragay-Cook told The Concordian that they do have audio proof of their reporter announcing himself at this particular meeting.

Some councilors were not exactly content with how ASFA handled the situation. “You can have your opinion on The Link, but you shouldn’t release this letter under the ASFA banner,” said Veronika Rydzewski, VP Internal for the Political Science Student Association (PSSA). She believes the executive team should not be allowed to publish this kind of letter on behalf of all of ASFA—she said it was unethical and that The Link deserves an apology.

Another councilor, Paolo Drago, VP Internal of the Concordia Undergraduate Psychology Association, said both ASFA and The Link bring something positive to students. “ASFA puts on great outings and great events, but The Link reporters have a job to do and that’s to report on ASFA, and students need that too,” Drago said.

During the meeting, the ASFA council came up with a motion, which passed as a vote. It stated, “The ASFA executive apologizes for the method that they chose to release their statement to their membership and will provide a full public statement about what led to their decision in the upcoming week.” The second part of the motion stated, “That the ASFA releases a statement on its platforms stating that it will seek out The Link to have a meeting to discuss a future working relationship between The Link and the ASFA executive.”

At the end of the meeting, Caragay-Cook told The Concordian he thinks the issue will soon be resolved. “I’m happy that the executive took this meeting, and hopefully we will meet soon,” he said. “Regardless, we were going to continue to report on ASFA—The Link­ has reported on ASFA for as long as the association has existed.”

Mamikonyan was also content with how the issue was discussed during the meeting. “I am happy that all councilors voiced their opinion—it says a lot about how strong of a team we are,” she said.

ASFA will be releasing a statement in the upcoming week with more details about their initial decision regarding The Link.

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