Arts and Culture Community Student Life

ASFA protests for Mackay’s pedestrianisation

Students make art to make a statement.

Concordia’s Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) organised a protest on Sept. 29 to demand the pedestrianisation of Mackay Street on the Sir George Williams campus of Concordia University. On the last day of Climate Rage Week, the artists painted a mural on the ground in the middle of Mackay Street, which was blocked off to cars by students and teachers. The event was followed by a march on Sherbrooke Street.

Volunteers blocking off Mackay Street. Photo by Maya Ruel/The Concordian

Angelica Antonakopoulos, ASFA’s academic coordinator, said the main goal of the event was to inform the public on the issue of Mackay’s pedestrianisation. “Mackay is located between the Hall Building and all of Concordia’s annexes, which house very important student services and departments, and it’s precarious for students to always try to cross the street while there are cars passing,” she explained. 

She says there have been incidents where the police have fined students for jaywalking while they were trying to get from their department to the Hall Building. “We also believe that it is really important for students to have an outdoor communal space at the heart of our downtown campus,” Antonakopoulos continued. 

On the morning of Sept. 29, while cars were redirected by those operating the blockage, others painted the mural on the street. About a dozen contributors grabbed a paintbrush and applied eye-catching yellows, greens and purples on the asphalt. Spirits were high—participants felt they were taking concrete action to achieve their goal.  The mural depicts a pedestrian, a bike and a tree. It is outlined by the statement “Pedestrianize Mackay” and takes up the whole width of the street. It is a way for ASFA’s protestors to leave their mark. Afterward, with the leftover paint, “PED MACKAY” was painted multiple times all over the street in capital letters and trees and flowers were added to the mix. When they were done, protestors had almost painted over the entire section of the street they were occupying.

Student painting a tree on the street. Photo by Maya Ruel/The Concordian

There has been talk of pedestrianising Mackay for about 30 years. ASFA hopes that the protest was a step in the right direction and plans to go to the city next to try and bring the project to reality.


Results of the ASFA general elections

ASFA elections receive the highest voter turnout rates in the last decade

This past ASFA election saw the highest student engagement in the last decade, with a voter turnout rate of 14.8 per cent. Angelica Antonakopoulos, the academic coordinator for ASFA’s upcoming executive team, believes that the increased student engagement was fueled by transitioning into in-person instructions and the initiatives of those running.

“ASFA came out of the gate screaming right on social media,” said Antonakopoulos. “They also had a couple of really informative graphics, explaining what you were voting for. […] So I feel like that may have enticed students, because sometimes if you get ballots for something that you don’t understand, you kind of have a tendency to cast that aside.”

The results show that the executive team will be dominated by the new student slate Supportive Foundations. Supportive Foundations will be replacing the Radical Care student slate. Antonakopoulos said students can expect simplicity, transparency, and accountability from the new slate.

“If anyone has had a little bit of interaction with ASFA, as a structure, it’s complicated,”  said Antonakopoulos. “We’re really going to sit down now and try to find ways that we can educate freshmen and other students from the get go at the beginning of the academic year and try to explain to them, this is your member association, these executives are your direct representation.”

Supportive Foundations also hopes to reinstate the scientific academic journal, and to reopen the Loyola office to make the executive team more accessible to the student body. 

Antonakopoulos says students can expect a calmer year relative to the last ASFA slate Radical Care.

“We don’t feel the need to do a school-wide strike,” said Antonakopoulos.

“Radical Care really seemed to have a big focus on mental health. They kind of came in at a bit of a tumultuous time because they had to focus on the full heat transition into in-person school.”

Students also voted in favour of a fee levy increase for the Hive Free Lunch program. The fee levy will be used to implement a new breakfast program starting next semester.
Click here for a complete breakdown of the election results.

News Student Life

Student associations prepare to strike for a reading week

Students from different associations are working together to strike in October

Various members of the associations (MAs) held their respective Annual General Meetings (AGM) throughout last week, and voted on whether or not to participate in a week-long student strike for a fall reading week. 

Several student associations involved with the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) will come together on Oct. 3 through 7 to picket classes if the mandate is passed. 

Unlike other Quebec universities such as McGill, Université Laval, and Université de Montréal, Concordia does not have a reading week during the fall semester. In 2021, the University announced its plan to implement 12-week terms and a fall reading week. However, the new academic calendar will only begin in the summer term of 2023.

During the MA retreat last May, ASFA executives took it upon themselves to plan a student strike and shared their plans with other associations. 

Following numerous conversations among the different associations and the ASFA team at the retreat, the Urban Planning Association (UPA) was the first student group to hold an AGM on Aug. 15 and get the mandate to strike. 

According to Torben Laux, president of UPA, ASFA is working closely with different associations to coordinate the strike. 

“At the moment, they’re going to be setting up a little package on how to strike, how to picket. Students will not come to classes. No assignments are allowed to be submitted, and no quizzes are allowed to be handed out,” explained Laux. 

“It’s a lot of work, but I think it’s really exciting, especially after two years of not doing much. I think it will give younger students a really great opportunity to live through a strike. So, I think it will make people feel really empowered,” he added. 

Ashley Torres, mobilization coordinator for ASFA, also expressed her frustration with the University. 

“There’s no point for us to really wait that extra year… due to the pandemic, the past few years have been extremely difficult and challenging for students, especially [regarding] our mental health, and we deserve a long week break for classes,” said Torres. 

Concordia University spokesperson Vannina Maestracci explained in a statement sent to The Concordian, the reason for the delay in implementing the break. 

“Schedules for the full university are usually made a few years in advance, and transitioning from a 13-week to 12-week term is a significant adjustment for programs that have designed their curriculum around a 13-week course, especially programs that are subject to accreditation rules.” 

“Given this, we are now doing the academic planning, training, logistics, and providing support and resources to faculty to ensure a successful transition to 12-week terms as of summer 2023,” read the statement. 

Regardless, student associations have decided to gather and raise their concerns. 

Another group that recently passed a motion to strike on Sept. 9 is the Geography Undergrad Student Society (GUSS), who are working with UPA to spread the word about the upcoming strike by sending out emails and preparing flyers. 

Liv Aspden, president of GUSS, explained that the student strike will take place during the first week of October to mobilize and emphasize better student care. 

“I’m not going to have a week off. We’re going to be striking, and we’re going to be picketing classes… we’re not going to get a break because we’re going to be obviously standing up for what we know is right and what should be happening, and just holding the University accountable for things that haven’t taken place,” said Aspden.


Malek Yalaoui: ASFA’s newest anti-oppressor educator

The Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) moves forward in educating and representing marginalized communities by providing a new anti-oppressor educator

The Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA), representing all Concordia undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science, recently hired Malek Yalaoui based on a recommendation by Nadia Chaney, another facilitator. Yalaoui is a Montreal-based writer, advocate, and public speaker who works to support marginalized communities at the university.

Yalaoui has previously worked at McGill for the Social Equity and Diversity Education (SEDE) Office, supporting and advocating for racialized and ethnic students. She uses her work to highlight both her own voice and the voices of people of colour.

Additionally, she’s co-founder of SistersInMotion, an organization that welcomes BIPOC women and provides them with a platform to express themselves through art and other creative forms during annual shows.

“I was actually doing spoken word poetry,” Yalaoui said. “I went to a lot of poetry slams and competitions and I found the same thing there that exists, in every other sector of our society, which is, who was being lauded and lifted up and so often I felt like the voices of women of colour in particular weren’t getting the due that they deserved. And so I began this organization with a good friend of mine.”

Since leaving McGill in 2018, Yalaoui has been working as a facilitator for different small businesses and non-profit organizations working to help workplaces be more equitable.

Yalaoui said her work experience has helped her be more equipped for her current position in the ASFA as the new Care, Culture and Equity Commissioner (CCEC), through her previous work.

Part of her job is to ensure the implementation of ASFA’s policy on harassment, discrimination and violence, which was first adopted in 2018. This will require her to support and train the investigative committee, a group of AFSA councillors and members at large in charge of harassment complaints and other issues.

ASFA’s Mobilization Coordinator Payton-Rose Mitchell said prior to hiring Yalaoui, students used to report harassment complaints to the mobilization coordinator. Now, Yalaoui, “is the point of entry for students wishing to discuss their experiences of harassment, discrimination and violence within ASFA.” If an investigation is called, Yalaoui is responsible for participating in the role of a chair.

Her job also requires her to work with a task force of primarily students of colour, which would look at racialized sexual violence and discrimination. Mitchell said ASFA inaugurated the task force in compliance with a settlement agreement made between ASFA and two different  former executives who faced sexual violence and racism during their time on the executive team.

According to Mitchell, ASFA’s fee-levy raise in 2020 allowed the organization to begin to pay task force members $300 a month, “to share and discuss their experiences with of harassment and  Discrimination within the ASFA community, and make recomonations to the ASFA Council.” Prior to 2021, members of the task force participated on a volunteer basis.

“ASFA has recognized that a toxic culture of competition among past executives and a lack of institutional support has forced marginalized members out of the federation. The focus of the task force  is to shift ASFA’s culture by making informed changes to policy and procedure, as well as by building and delivering workshops on anti-oppression to ASFA and MA executives. This is also really cool because it’s an opportunity to provide paid work for BIPOC members to influence change within our student associations,” said Mitchell.

Yalaoui will also work with students who are well trained and equipped to work with the members of the faculty to offer anti-oppressive and anti-racism resources.

She has emphasized the importance of working to break down and understand microaggressions, implicit biases, and other racist patterns within the university. 

“We don’t want to look at these [student complaints] as an isolated incident. We want to understand the context in which they’re happening, and see what we can do to address that context,” said Yalaoui.

Moving forward, Yalaoui plans to examine policies and improve them. She believes in addressing barriers in systemic perspectives.

One example is the harassment policy. Where traditionally two people are involved, Yalaoui wishes to broaden this policy to consider everyone involved, including the bystanders.

“When [these incidents] happen, a whole community of people is actually getting involved,” she said.

Another plan which is currently being worked on, is to change the culture of harassment that can often be implicitly or explicitly prevalent among people.

Yalaoui hopes to see more training about harassment, especially regarding how to recognize it in the first place and ensure that such instances don’t happen again.

“The goal is not punishment. The goal is change.”


Photograph by Kaitlynn Rodney


“It’s Okay to Ask for Help”: Inside Concordia’s Mental Health Advocacy Committee

 Initiated during the fall 2020 semester, the Mental Health Advocacy Committee is now in full swing

In recent years, the mental health movement has drastically improved its visibility. Awareness of mental health has grown even more since the start of the pandemic, mostly due to the drastic life changes and widespread isolation felt for the last eighteen months; slowly but surely, more and more people are realizing how important their mental wellbeing is to them.

However, stigma around mental health still remains. Tichina Williams and Izabella Blazonis are the co-chairs of Concordia’s Mental Health Advocacy Committee (MHAC), who hope to phase out some of this stigma.

“Our main goal,” said Tichina, “is to get people talking about their mental health. We want people to get to a place where there is no shame around depression or anxiety.” Through their Instagram account, the MHAC shares a list of resources available for all Concordia students. It offers access to Concordia’s wide range of mental health specialists, wellness programs, and the MHAC’s own workshops. “We’re having a workshop on burnout on Oct. 18, and we like to do them pretty frequently,” said Blazonis.

“Development of this group began in the fall of 2020,” explained Williams. “We had seen what devastating effects months of isolation had done to people’s mental wellbeing.”

The process of creating MHAC has been quite the experience, according to the co-chairs. “Our biggest hurdle was attracting a diverse pool of participants,” said Blazonis. “Stigma is still so present, unfortunately.” The committee works under the Concordia’s Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA), which is helping spread the word, getting students involved. “We’re always in the ASFA newsletters,” Blazonis mentioned. As of now, the committee is composed of two co-chairs and two team members, but MHAC hopes to expand in the near future. They hope to accomplish this by growing their social media presence, increasing their event frequency and size, and attempt to slowly erode at students’ oftentimes adamant attitudes towards mental health.

“One of the clearest examples I can think of when describing what mental health stigma really looks like was during Frosh this fall,” said Williams, who proceeded to describe how some students reacted to the MHAC booth. “We had our table all set up, we were giving people all our information, but some people were cracking jokes.”

“For many people, it was like talking about mental health was such a ridiculous concept, but we know how good it is for people’s wellbeing,” said Williams.

The MHAC hopes to achieve one principle goal: accessibility. For many students, there may be additional hurdles to getting the help they need. The committee is run by students, for students. It hopes to be a friendlier and more approachable group in comparison to the large and sometimes daunting departments at Concordia that deal with mental health issues. Due to the stigma surrounding seeking help, approaching what may feel like a more official, less personal, and more bureaucratic system directly can be overwhelming for some dealing with issues like social anxiety.

“As much as depression, anxiety, and other issues can seem scary, they become less so when you’re a part of a team,” explained Blazonis. “We have had several virtual workshops last winter and summer semesters, and we’re continuing this fall. We’ve covered topics like nutrition, substance abuse, burnout from school, and several others.”

The primary methods for contacting the MHAC are through Instagram and Facebook. The committee wants to make communication between students in need as simple as possible, so student outreach is a key factor for them.

“It’s okay to ask for help,” said Williams. “Admitting you need help and that you want to see your health improve is the first step to dealing with your issues. We hope students are taking care of themselves in these crazy times. We want people to know that we are here for them if ever they need assistance.”

Visuals provided by the Mental Health Advocacy Committee


The Black Student Union utilizes its social media to educate the Concordia student body

How four young women started the organization

Concordia students Amaria Phillips, Lorry Joseph, Tanou Bah and Ernithe Edmond were all shocked to see there was no Black club or union at Concordia University.

“We were like, ‘Wait a minute, there’s no actual like, Black club?’ It’s either Caribbean or African? But there’s not one for just Black people,” said Phillips.

For example, McGill, the other anglophone university in Montreal, does have a Black Student Network, which acts similarly to a union. Before the BSU initiative, this overarching support would fall under the Concordia Student Union’s responsibilities.

Phillips said, “We realized that, really, there was no Black Student Union period, then we kind of like changed our minds and we said, ‘Okay, let’s just do a Black Student Union’ … It’s going to be something that’s actually going to advocate for students.”

“We kind of found a good batch of people to help the BSU take off … We’re so like-minded,” said Phillips.

The process of becoming an official student union at Concordia is a complicated one.

“We put a lot of focus in establishing [the BSU],” said Phillips. Tired of wasting time trying to establish themselves, the BSU decided to create its own path for representation.

Now, almost a year later, they have grown their team to 13 students who help run the day-to-day operations, just by asking who wanted to be involved.

“We put something on social media to ask if anyone wants to join the team. And yeah, a lot of people were DM’ing back and saying ‘Yeah, I’m interested,’” said Phillips.

The BSU’s main platform is their social media — mainly Instagram. Run by Kyla Renee Jallow and Beza Getachew, the BSU is able to spread awareness on Black issues and educate their followers on Black Canadian History.

Phillips is excited to see the growth that comes along with the bigger team. She said, “Since we decided to start the executive team, our Instagram grew from, I think five hundred to now nine hundred something in a month.”

The increase in posts also helped grow their following. On the heels of Black History Month, Phillips does not plan to slow down the flow of information shared on the page. She said, “We’ve gotten so many messages of people saying, ‘Wow, I didn’t know that,’ or ‘I really wish that I would have known that before, that it was taught in schools.’”

The executive team decided to extend Black History Month to Black History Year, in order to educate and highlight Black history and Black people in general, because “Black History is everyone’s history,” said Phillips.

“There’s so many things we didn’t get to cover for the month,” said Phillips, so may as well continue to put an emphasis on reteaching ourselves to our history.


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.”


Hamza Muhammad elected ASFA general coordinator

Muhammad beat Meghan Grigg of the About Time slate by 96 votes.

Navleen Kaur was running unopposed and was elected as an independent councillor, with 617 votes.

The rest of the About Time Slate were successfully elected as follows:

Academic coordinator: Phoebe Lamb (won by 46 votes against Bryan Lee)

Finance coordinator: Ashley Torres (649 votes, unopposed)

Internal coordinator: Emma Mason (682 votes, unopposed)

Mobilization coordinator: Payton Mitchell (664 votes, unopposed)

Communications coordinator: Carmen Milne (679 votes, unopposed)

The About Time slate ran on a platform of fostering community, accountability and climate justice.

The newly elected team did not comment in time for publication.


Graphic by @sundaeghost


Activists and student associations prepare for climate march

Hundreds of thousands of Montrealers are expected to march on Sept. 27, along with cities across the globe in a worldwide environmental movement.

The international protest will be the second happening in 2019. Back in March, over 150,000 individuals marched the city, according to the CBC

According to Jacob Robitaille, internal coordinator of Concordia’s La Planète s’invite à l’Université (LPSU), Montreal is expecting a much greater participation rate on Sept. 27.

“According to the numbers, it looks like we stand to have yet again the largest march of any one city in the whole world,” said Robitaille. “Berlin is expecting about 300,000 people, but as it stands, we have people coming from across the country, some from New York and across the world.”

Environmental activists such as Greta Thunberg and David Suzuki are expected to speak.

Many schools and universities cancelled classes for the day. However, Concordia only cancelled classes from 11:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. as stated in an email to all Concordia students and faculty members. According to Robitaille, this measure is a “double-sided edge.”

“It doesn’t send a straightforward message and added that they are still investing in fossil fuel, it doesn’t sound like they truly support us but they’re only doing it to stay safe,” said Robitaille.

That didn’t stop student associations from organizing events in preparation for the march. The Fine Arts Student Association (FASA) hosted a banner making session with all recycled materials at Concordia’s art hive.

“We wanted to create a place for students to discuss [environmental issues] and feel comfortable creating, but also being able to express their feelings in preparation for the march,” said FASA’s finance coordinator, Clara Micheau. “A lot of that passes through creation in the Fine Arts faculty and that’s how the workshop event came up.”

FASA has been working on many environmentally-friendly solutions in the faculty like using more recycled materials in classes. However, they hope Concordia provides more resources to attain their sustainability goals.

“There are a lot of departments that get a lot of education before classes even start on how to use materials wisely,” said FASA Student life coordinator, Daisy Duncan. “But there are no policies on that. I think the Fine Arts faculty should take a position on that.”

On top of the LPSU and FASA’s implication in the protest, Concordia created a fundraiser to create an award “for an undergraduate student who demonstrates leadership in developing solutions to the climate crisis, for a safe climate future,” as read in the fundraiser’s website.


Feature photo by Britanny Giuseppe-Clarke


ASFA takes a position of solidarity with Concordia’s library employees

The Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) voted to stand in solidarity with Concordia’s library employees, who have clashed with the university over changes to their pension payments since January 2018.

The vote took place during ASFA’s first meeting of the semester, on Sept. 19.

“A lot of arts and science students are very dependent on library services to complete their degree[s],” said ASFA member Thomas David-Bashore, who brought the motion forward. “I think it makes a lot of sense for us to support the employees that make this possible.”

Beginning in March of last year, the Concordia University Library Employees Union (CULEU) expressed concern after new Quebec legislation increased their pension contributions from 20 to 45 per cent. According to union president Kent Cluff, the change contradicts a deal that was made between the union and the university, which insured an annual pay increase to library employees for three years. In a letter published in The Link and The Concordian, Cluff claimed that library staff “have been forced to take a major pay cut.”

Concordia spokesperson Mary-Jo Barr responded in an email, stating that “all employees received annual salary increases” as agreed upon.

Formal negotiations regarding the issue are yet to occur — in an update published to the CULEU website on June 5, Cluff wrote that the positions of the university and the CULEU remain “very far apart.” ASFA has agreed to collaborate with the CULEU in their quest to increase pressure tactics and mobilize negotiations by aiding in the distribution of promotional materials such as pins and posters.


Photo by Alex Hutchins


JSA councillor named CEO for ASFA

ASFA decides after an executive stepped in for by-elections

The Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) elected a CEO to oversee the upcoming by-elections during a general council meeting Thursday Nov. 9.

Fiona Harrison-Roberts, finance executive with the Journalism Student Association (JSA) was elected to be the interim CEO for the by-election.

“We’ve had issues finding an ASFA CEO. No one applied,” said Elliott Boulanger, internal affairs and administration coordinator. The job posting was made public on ASFA’s Facebook page in September.

The position had to be filled immediately because of the upcoming by election so Boulanger took over the responsibilities of the CEO.

The role of the CEO during the by-election consists of ensuring that anyone participating in the election is complying with the rules and regulations, issuing directives on how these regulations are carried out, looking into the legitimacy of the election expenses and proposing regulation reforms to the council.

The CEO is also tasked with providing “information regarding the specifications and the carrying out of these regulations” to any person who requests it, and providing public access to “all information, reports, returns or documents relating to these regulations,” according to the job posting on ASFA’s Facebook page.

The council had to resolve three issues, the first being that no one applied for the position of CEO. The other two issues stemmed from the fact that Boulanger, an executive, had stepped into the position.

The issue with Boulanger taking on the position was that as an executive, they were in charge of hiring the CEO. Rory Blaisdell, council chairperson, recognized that this was an emergency situation where the position needed to be filled but also said “Elliot cannot hire themselves for the position.”

Boulanger made it clear that they were still actively looking for someone to fill the CEO position. “It’s not that I want to do it—I don’t. I have two jobs, classes, my internal position, I have a lot and this position is not the ideal situation on any level but the election has to happen,” they said.

Blaisdell told council that an executive could be hired, but in those cases, it has to be done by the council and not another executive. “If you are hiring an executive then you must be notwithstanding your Annex A,”—the clause that states executives cannot fill this role.

Boulanger was asked to step out of the room while council explored its options. During that time, a straw poll was conducted to see if any councillors were willing to take on the position of an interim CEO.

“I decided to volunteer for the position because I felt like it was the right thing to do,” said Harrison-Roberts. Two other councillors also volunteered for the position and when the votes were counted, Harrison-Roberts was declared the interim CEO.

The council then had to vote on a motion to notwithstand sections B, C and D from Annex A. Those sections state that current or former councillors, the executive body of any ASFA member association or any ASFA member who holds an elected or appointed position within ASFA, or one of its member associations are not eligible to hold an electoral office.

Council approved Harrison-Roberts as the official interim CEO.

The council also voted to compensate Boulanger for the work they had done thus far to the amount of $100, which came from the $400 honorarium.

The ASFA by-elections will be held from Nov. 27 to 29 and voting will be conducted online.

Photo by Eithne Lynch.


Lawsuit filed against ASFA

The lawsuit was filed for failing to address sexual harassment complaints.

On behalf of Concordia student Harris Turpin, the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) has filed a complaint against the Arts and Science Federation of Association (ASFA) for failing to effectively address his complaint of sexual harassment against the federation’s former president. It is claiming major moral and punitive damages against ASFA.

“We believe this to be the first same-sex campus sexual harassment case in the province,” said Fo Niemi, the CRARR executive director.

“I want to set a precedent here. Last time with the Mei Ling incident, they said ‘there’s not going to be a next time.’ I am the next time,” said Turpin.

In 2015, CRARR filed a complaint against ASFA and two of its executives on behalf of Mei Ling (a pseudonym), a biracial executive who was subjected to racial and sexual discrimination. The case was settled on the condition that the federation create a task force to address these issues.

In 2016, Turpin went on a date with former ASFA president Jonathan Roy, but nothing came out of it. Starting in 2017, Turpin claims he was physically and verbally harassed by the president on a regular basis.

“This included uncomfortable and unnecessary touching towards me and unsolicited sexual messages,” said Turpin. “I also received a number of rude nicknames from fellow members of my student association [Concordia’s Classics Students Association (CCSA)],” which according to Turpin, included “bitch-boy” and “butt-boy.” These instances happened on campus and at university events. At a CCSA event on Jan. 25, Turpin said Roy flicked his nipple and yelled at him.

In February, Turpin informed ASFA’s then-internal affairs and administration executive, among other executives, of his harassment. He was discouraged from going through the proper channels set out by ASFA’s sexual harassment policy.

Although a mediation session was held with Turpin, Roy, ASFA executives and a CCSA representative, the agreed-upon consensus was not abided by. Within that week, ASFA’s council put its sexual harassment policy under review, and mandated its task force to make it survival-centric in light of the sexual harassment allegations in the english department. However, according to Bakry Alsaieq, ASFA’s academic coordinator, the councillors didn’t know a complaint had been brought to the executives when they suspended the policy.

In April, Turpin shared his story with The Link and publicized it on a Tumblr page. “I decided to go public to gain the justice I deserve,” said Turpin. Additionally, Roy stepped down as president.

A week later, Turpin received a letter from ASFA’s lawyer demanding he take down the Tumblr page on the basis of defamation of Roy. According to ASFA’s current Advocacy and Executive Coordinator, Marguerite Rolland, the letter was commissioned by Roy.

ASFA has sinced changed its procedures regarding the commissioning of work to lawyers, said Rolland. Now both executives allowed to commission work to the federation’s lawyers must agree on the commission. “We are doing this to ensure that any action that is taken on behalf of ASFA represents the entirety of the organization,” said Rolland. Today, both the president and the general manager of ASFA must agree to send the work. At the time the letter was sent, Roy’s approval was enough to commission it. According to Rolland, there was a very short time frame for executive oversight between the time the letter was commissioned and then sent.

A statement was later released by ASFA apologizing for sending the cease and desist letter.

“It was a general apology issued to the public that shows a general lack of empathy not to be mentioned by name. […] I made a huge case of this and they didn’t even take the time to apologize to me,” said Turpin.

“It’s not about the president anymore, it’s about ASFA,” said Turpin. This is the second time in the last three years a complaint has been filed against the federation to the Quebec Commission of Human Rights and Youth Rights.

“What should’ve been done was to inform the individual of all the processes that were available outside of ASFA —referring him to the Sexual Assault Resource Centre, the Centre for Gender Advocacy [for example],” said Rolland.

“It certainly took a toll on my health,” said Turpin. “Last time I visited [Niemi], I was not looking so good, eating poorly, awful diet, horrible sleep schedule. Because of this incident, not only my grades suffered but my person suffered.”

Photo by Mia Anhoury.

Former ASFA president Jonathan Roy. Photo by Alex Hutchins




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