Briefs Concordia Student Union News

CSU hopeful for a successful by-election

The Concordia Student Union starts its campaigning phase aiming for a significant turnout at the polls.

On Oct. 30, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) started its campaign period for its fall by-elections. The by-elections serve to vote on referendum questions and fill empty seats on the CSU’s council of representatives. This year, the CSU has 22 seats available on the council. The campaigning period will last until Nov. 6.

According to Simply Voting, the online platform that hosts the CSU elections, the turnout in 2022 was only 5.7 per cent. CSU Loyola coordinator Talya Diner blames COVID-19 for last year’s low participation. She is hopeful that more people will be interested in casting their ballot this year. 

There are two referendum questions being presented to the committees in the fall by-elections. They are about whether or not to increase the student services fee by $0.85 per credit, and to propose the introduction of an anti-islamophobia policy to CSU’s Section 5 by-law entitled Anti-Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion. 

“The by-elections are super significant. This is the best time to get involved in the CSU,” said CSU student life coordinator Tanou Bah.

A public debate is scheduled for Nov. 1. This event will allow candidates and referendum committees the chance to introduce themselves to students and present their ideas concerning Concordia University and the CSU. The public debate will take place at 6 p.m. on the 7th floor of the Hall building.

“Being on the council is a way for students to get directly involved in the democratic process that governs how the CSU spends the money that students give to the union. It’s really important that students get involved so that the CSU can represent students honourably,” said Diner.

The polling phase will start on Nov. 7 and end on Nov. 9. Students will receive an email from the CSU encouraging them to vote. The CSU will also have polling stations at the Loyola campus on Nov. 7 in the SP building, and at the SGW campus on Nov. 7 through Nov. 9 at the Hall building mezzanine to help guide students through the online voting process.


Students to decide whether CSU purchases a student center

The decision to purchase 2045 Bishop St. will appear as a referendum question in the upcoming CSU General Election

The CSU unanimously voted to let students decide whether the union should purchase a building on Bishops street for a new student centre in the upcoming election.

The purpose of this new building is to create a student centre that would include office space for the CSU, as well as a space for other student clubs and fee-levy groups to operate out of. The CSU would also be able to use the space to host their own events.

The price per square foot for the building is $419.31, rendering the 13 thousand square foot building a $5.5 million cost to purchase. The CSU is also exploring the option of adding an additional floor. Since it is not a heritage building, the CSU will have the ability to renovate and make modifications to the building as needed.

The CSU has been exploring the possibility of creating their own student center for some time. Initially, they approached Concordia about renting a space, however, these spaces were deemed to be unaffordable. However, according to CSU President Eduardo Malorni, Concordia will offer financial support in other ways, although those were not specified at the special council meeting held on Feb. 17.

The downtown property is located directly across the street from the Hall Building at 2045 Bishops St. “In terms of location it doesn’t get more ideal than this,” said Malorni.

The prime location is one of the many reasons that Malorni believes now is the right time for the CSU to buy the building.

​”Other reasons why now is a good time is we do have a good surplus in the fund, where we could expense this and not be left completely depleted or be left in a situation where we might not be able to maintain the building for long term.”

Purchase of the building would also give the CSU more independence and control of the events and activities they want to create for students.

“This is a step in the future of the CSU being more independent from the university. Even though Concordia is acquiring buildings, that doesn’t necessarily mean that those buildings are going to be used for student life,” said CSU Councilor Lauren Perozek.

“This building would be under our purview and our control. We could use it for more student life related activities and our contribution to the students.”

Primarily the project will be funded by the Student Space, Accessible Education & Legal Contingency Fund (SSAELC fund) fund. The SSAELC fund was created 20 years ago and in that time has been used for other purposes. Its initial purpose was to be used for the purchase of a property and creation of a student centre. The fund has now accumulated enough capital that this initial goal is possible. The CSU will also pursue other grants to fund the building’s purpose.

The union will have to undergo a hefty due diligence process involving many inspections of the building. Some parts of it will require renovations, but others are usable at this moment. The result of the referendum question as well as the results of the many building inspections will determine if the CSU goes through with the purchase of the building.

“There are spaces that are not in great condition, but it’s in usable condition. So we could definitely use it for a lot of purposes already. Starting from day one that we own it,” said Malorni.

According to Malorni the CSU actually does not need to send this expense to referendum at all, but he believes students should be involved in the decision.

“I personally think that if we’re going to spend such a large amount such as $5.5 million, our decision should be backed up with the students’ consent on this, which is why I want to send it to the referendum.”

Photos provided by Catherine Reynolds

Concordia Student Union News

Anonymous council members accuse CSU Executives of power grab

Misrepresentation, inter-faculty tension and lack of transparency in next by-elections according to anonymous council members.

In an anonymous statement to The Concordian, a group of Concordia Student Union (CSU) councillors is accusing some executive CSU members of trying to increase the executive team’s power while fostering a culture of inter-faculty tension with the referendum question titled Council Change as its tool.

According to the statement, not enough students chose to run for the CSU. However, instead of focusing on mass outreach on campus to promote involvement, the CSU implied that conflict between faculties is the source of that issue.

The question, previously named Faculty Equality, suggests a restructuring of the council by reducing the number of councillors from 30 to 16. At the moment, 13 seats are allocated for Arts and Science students, seven for JMSB students, five Engineering and Computer Science students, three for Fine Arts students and two for independent students as voted by the CSU on Oct. 23.

The new structure would allow only three councillors for every faculty plus one for independent students. Arts and Sciences will be divided into two separate faculties.

“More councillors just means more chaos. And chaos is inefficient,” wrote CSU President Chris Kalafatidis in a message to The Concordian. “Chaos means not being able to hold the Executive accountable.”

But the anonymous statement claimed that having fewer councillors translates to fewer opportunities for students to get involved in university politics, a lack of efficiency within the CSU and a lack of accountability on the Executive.

“Currently, the CSU has approximately 15 committees which all hold about four to five seats each. A reduction to 20 councillors may lead to a lack in quality, efficiency and impactful work,” read the statement. “This is immensely detrimental for students as these committees provide funding and services to the undergraduate body.”

As for accountability of the Executive team, the statement refers to this situation as “unfair distribution of power,” and says it would not properly represent the student’s interests. Kalafatidis thinks otherwise.

“The current council requires JMSB, Gina Cody, Fine Arts and independent students to strictly rely on the Arts and Science coalition to get anything done,” Kalafatidis said. “The current council only represents Arts and Science.”

However, seats are allocated proportionally to the number of students in each faculty. Arts and Science has a bigger representation as they form almost 50 per cent of Concordia’s student body.

The statement also accused the CSU president of trying to “gerrymander Council and make it seem socially acceptable by adding the word ‘equality’” in the question. The referendum question was renamed Council Change by the CSU.

Second chance for two by-election candidates

After the last CSU’s general elections, Danielle Vandolder-Beaudin was disqualified for asking students to vote for her slate, Cut the Crap. As a punishment, she could not run again in any CSU elections for a period of one year. However, the Judicial Board reversed that decision according to Kalafatidis.

A few months later during the summer, Selena Mezher, elected CSU Sustainable Coordinator last general elections, left the country which resulted in many reactions. One of the anonymous councillors said that Mezher failed to advise the CSU that she would be leaving and ignored everyone’s attempts to contact her which resulted in a defunct resignation. However, Kalafatidis said that Mezher committed no offences or violations, and never took any pay from the CSU.

A few months later, the two are running as CSU councillors in the by-elections which began on Nov. 12.

The anonymous councillors are requesting that previously disqualified or fired members wishing to run for CSU positions must include a disclosure on their ballots about the date and nature of the offence for all CSU elections.

“We believe that all students should have the right to participate in student life, however, being transparent and assuming responsibility for their actions is a good start towards accountability, something we value as councillors,” read the statement.

A motion will be voted at the CSU council meeting on Nov. 13 to set rules on penalties for candidates that previously committed offences. If passed, candidates will be forced to disclose those offences on ballots.


Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth

Concordia Student Union News

CSU by-elections draw a crowd

Nine councillors, two referendums approved with nearly 2,700 votes cast

Nine new councillors and two referendum campaigns are victorious following the Concordia Student Union (CSU) by-elections.

In a turnout that was nearly double that of the last general election, students voted overwhelmingly in favour of online voting, with over 2,400 votes in favour, just 107 opposed and 158 abstentions.

“I could not believe it,” said Arts and Science Councillor Chris Kalafatidis, who led the campaign in favour of online voting.

As for future elections, Kalafatidis said he would like to stay with Simply Voting, the online voting system used by the CSU, but would also be open to having other companies bid on the contract.

This does not mean the union is mandated to implement online voting. “The referendum question is not binding,” CSU General Coordinator, Sophie Hough-Martin, told The Concordian. “Technically, because we used it for the by-elections, I suspect that council will just mandate us to implement it for the March general elections as well.”

However, she said “going forward, we would have to have a binding referendum that actually supports the permanent implementation [of online voting] as a replacement of paper ballots.”

In a hotly contested race for the open Arts and Science councillor seat, Jane Lefebvre Prévost beat out her five opponents with 30.8 per cent of the vote. Her runner up, Victoria Bolanos-Roberts, earned 26.2 per cent. “The by-election hasn’t been the smoothest logistically-speaking, but I’m really proud of everyone who ran,” said Lefebvre Prévost. “Candidates did their best to support one another throughout it.” She hopes to introduce mandatory anti-racism workshops for all councillors during her term.

Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science (GCS) candidates Eduardo Malorni and Patrick Lavoie won the two open GCS seats in an eight-person race. “What helped me the most [was] definitely the support of all the people and friends I’ve met at the GCS,” Lavoie said. “This was pretty clearly a close race, and every vote mattered.” Lavoie hopes to acquire more funding for GCS student societies and improve transparency within the union.

Eliza McFarlane defeated her opponent, Pat Jouryan Martel, to win the Fine Arts seat. All five candidates from the John Molson School of Business were elected to council.

Finally, students approved the union’s proposed fee levy restructuring, with over 1,300 students (or 62.5 per cent of voters) voting in favour of the proposed changes. Starting in the summer semester, the fees for operations, clubs and the Advocacy Centre will go up by 20 cents, 6 cents and 10 cents, respectively. To compensate, the fee levy for the Student Space, Accessible Education and Legal Contingency Fund, which funds projects like the Woodnote Housing Cooperative, will be reduced by 36 cents.

“It’s certainly a relief, I’ve gotta say,” said Finance Coordinator John Hutton, who introduced the referendum. “I was confident that it would pass, but until I actually saw the numbers in front of me, I wasn’t willing to let myself calm down.”

Hutton said the restructured fee levies will correct several of the union’s structural deficits as soon as they are implemented. Although the change was meant to take effect this semester, the postponement of the by-elections last fall means restructuring will only happen in the summer semester.

Regarding online voting, Hutton said the savings from electronic voting will likely leave the union under budget for its campaigns expenses for the year, even though its by-elections had to be repeated. In particular, the union saved about $17,000 that would have otherwise been spent on election security in its second by-election.

Opinions differed as to what was responsible for the increased voter turnout. Almost 2,700 students voted in the by-election, representing 7.4 per cent of all undergraduate students. By contrast, the March 2018 general election only drew around 1,400 voters.

Kalafatidis said the online voting system was entirely responsible for the increased voter turnout. “I do not believe any other variable had a significant impact,” he said. “Maybe a really small one, but that’s it.”

Hough-Martin said it was the number of candidates, especially in Arts and Science and the GCS, that generated interest in the election.

Arts and Science Councillor Patrick Quinn, who chaired the CSU’s elections and participation committee, said it was a combination of both. He said the email each member was sent with links to vote played a major part in increasing voter participation.

Despite the increased turnout, Hough-Martin said the union has a long way to go to improve voter turnout. “We would like to be seeing numbers in the double digits.”

“I think that there is still work to be done in voter engagement, and to get people more involved with the student union,” said Hough-Martin.

Photo by Hannah Ewen.


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.


Concordia students head to the polls

CSU byelections to take place from Nov. 25-27 on both campuses

Concordia students can shape the way their student union acts as voting in the Concordia Student Union (CSU) byelections opens today, Nov. 25. Voting will continue until Thursday, Nov. 27.

Several referendum questions are on the ballot this semester, including a fee levy to support the Model UN program, student housing, and the CSU’s endorsement of the boycott, divest and sanction (BDS) movement against Israel and in support of Palestine.


The question about the BDS movement is one of the more contentious referendum issues in this election and calls on people to boycott and divest from Israeli companies, as well as companies that support Israel, and also calls on governments to levy sanctions against Israel.

Supporters of the BDS movement say that Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian territory and violating human rights. If the question passes, the CSU will endorse the movement and they could apply pressure on the university to do the same.

Those who oppose the CSU’s endorsement of the BDS movement are worried it will polarize and divide the campus.

Tangible results of the question would be felt only within the CSU. This position would make it difficult for CSU clubs and groups to purchase any products that come from Israel or bring in speakers, though it would not have any direct impact on the business of the university itself, such as the availability of exchange programs with Israeli institutions.

The precise wording of the question has also been a source of controversy.

On November 16, the CSU’s chief electoral officer (CEO), Andre-Marcel Baril, changed the wording of the question to read that the CSU would endorse the BDS movement “until Israel complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights.” The question previously asked if the CSU would call for a “boycott of all academic and consumer ties with any institution or company that aids in Israel’s occupation of Palestine.”

Baril as CEO has the power to change the wording of a referendum question up to seven days before the voting period if the question might be prejudicial to one side or affect the outcome of the election.

A Judicial Board complaint was filed on Monday, alleging that Baril’s edits were manifestly unreasonable because they made the question prejudicial and because the No campaign was not notified of the edits.

The Judicial Board ruled Monday, Nov. 24, that Baril had made the new version of the question publicly available by posting it online but the wording of the question should be amended again.

“We did not feel that he had been manifestly unreasonable, but we felt the question could be more clear than the one that was going to appear on the ballot,” said Judicial Board chairperson Zach Braman.

The final wording of the question as it is to be seen my students will be, “Do you approve of the CSU endorsing the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel?”

“Our goal was to allow students to have a voice and make the question simple and not ambiguous,” Braman said.“Our job is just to make sure that the students say what they really want to say.”

Baril could not be reached for comment.



Concordia’s Model UN referendum question is looking to have the right to collect seven cents per credit from every student. The fee levy would give the Model UN far more money—and more financial independence—than the $7,500 per year it currently gets from the CSU.

The fee levy would bring in around $49,000 for the group each year, which would go towards expanding the organization’s leadership training program and speaker series.

Between 100 to 200 people currently attend the group’s leadership training sessions.

Ten per cent of the new fee levy would also fund financial transparency initiatives like hiring an external auditor, according to Nathanaël Dagane, the president of the group. He says none of the funds would offset travel expenses, although some may be applied to conference and delegate fees the club incurs.


If approved, the question about student housing would allow the CSU to support student co-op housing projects. Recently, the CSU Council heard a presentation about one ongoing project spearheaded by the Unité de travail pour l’implantation de logement étudiant (UTILE).

Several student co-op housing units already exist in Canadian cities, including Toronto, Kingston, and Guelph.

“Honestly, I’m surprised this has yet to occur in Montreal, a student city, given its innovative social economy sector,” said Terry Wilkings, CSU’s VP Academic and Advocacy.

Student co-op housing could remove students from the greater Montreal rental market, which Wilkings said might allow families to re-occupy units now used by students.

The explanation from the Yes committee said that student co-op housing would also help prevent students from being affected by predatory rental practices, especially students from other provinces and countries.

The question could allow the CSU to allocate money from the Student Space, Accessible Education and Legal Contingency Fund (SSAELC).

“However, before any big projects are started it’s nearly inevitable that students will be consulted again through a democratic process,” Wilkings said.

Other referendum questions could ratify the CSU executives’ decision to use money from the SSAELC fund to create and launch the new Hive Café and not use its operating budget to repay the loan. (The cost would represent 1 per cent of the SSAELC funds.) Another question would increase the fee levy for the International and Ethnic Associations Council, which is hoping to separate from the CSU.

Other potential CSU stances include opposing austerity measures and budget cuts, and supporting a campus daycare.

Six new CSU Councillors will also be elected. One councillor will be elected for the faculty of Arts and Science, one for Engineering and Computer Science and three for JMSB. A candidate for the independent councillor position is running unopposed.

All undergraduate Concordia students who are registered for at least one class in the winter semester are eligible to vote. Several voting booths are available downtown in the Hall Building lobby, the MB lobby, the Visual Arts Building Lobby, and the Webster Library Atrium. At Loyola, polling stations will be set up in the SP Building lobby, in the Vanier Library, and on the main floor of the AD Building.

For more information, visit

Concordia Student Union News

Upcoming CSU byelections to be held Nov. 19, 20 & 21

If the numerous posters have yet to catch your eye, you should be aware of the upcoming Concordia Student Council (CSU) byelections running from Nov. 19-21.

The byelections are being held to fill the remaining councillor positions and to have students vote on several referendum questions. The CSU is supposed to have councillors from every program to represent all students as best as possible, though this time around no Independent or Fine Arts students submitted candidacy and those programs will not have direct representation.

For Engineering & Computer Science all three positions are filled, for John Molson (JMSB) there are eight candidates for five positions. The largest amount of candidates is in the Arts & Science (ASFA) department where there are nine candidates for four spots.

CSU President Melissa Kate Wheeler encourages students to participate and states that it is a great experience.

“Working through the Union to better our community has been the single most fulfilling experience of my professional life. It has transformed the way I see my world, while offering skills and tools necessary to create a better tomorrow. I’ve learned what it means to manage a team, and what it feels like to work collectively towards large scale goals,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler also encourages students to take initiative and vote to get the strong representation they need,

“The CSU offers a unique opportunity for students to engage in their community, impacting their peers and creating change in ways that matter to them. It is an underused resource that too often goes untapped by talented, passionate students. Concordia’s undergraduates need strong representatives who will fight for social justice and for doing things the right way.”

The campaigning period ends on Nov. 18, the day before the polling period starts. CSU has set up a Facebook page and a special website just for the event, giving students as much easily accessible information on all the candidates as possible.

“We have also contacted certain members of faculties who do not have adequate representation on council via e-mail contact lists, utilized word of mouth campaigns and of course allowed for our greatest asset, the referendum committees and candidates to engage the voting public through in-class speeches, postering and meet-and-greets scattered around campus,” said Chief Electoral Officer Andre-Marcel Baril.

A brief rundown of the candidates are as follows. From Engineering & Computer Science; Alaa Ajam, a 24-year-old student doing his second undergrad in Building Engineering. Alaa now wishes to step up his involvement in student life by joining the CSU.

Also running is Ahmad Choukair, a first year Electrical Engineering student. During his time at Champlain College he was highly involved and active in student activities and school politics and has brought that same enthusiasm to Concordia University.

The final engineering candidate is Kyle Arseneau, a 23-year-old, third year building engineering student. Arseneau is currently President of the Concordia University Building Engineering Society.

The eight candidates running for the five JMSB spots are: Michael Richardson, currently VP External Affairs for Commerce and Administration Students’ Association (CASA). With regards to student’s interests Richardson said, “I take these responsibilities to heart.”

Ahmed Mustafa is a second year International Finance student from Yemen. Mustafa is currently Vice President and VP Communications at Ramadan Ghair, a Yemeni humanitarian organization.

Soufian El Malki is a JMSB Accounting major in his final year. If elected, El Malki stated, “I will maximize your university experience as a JMSB student.”

Mohamed Nasser was part of the Darfur Club, a student run charity that raised money to help bring awareness to the tragic situation in Darfur.

Kabir Bindra is a third year Management major. Bindra was a competitor in the Jeux-Du-Commerce debate, “The training for the competitions really made me be able to think on my feet, analyze two sides of an argument, and gave me valuable critical thinking skills.” Bindra also encourages students to approach him about his stances.

Virginia Law is a Finance major, and in CEGEP she planned a humanitarian trip to Nicaragua where she helped set up and run a mobile clinic. “I am only 4’9,” but I have a strong voice, and if I get chosen to be on council, I will make sure it represents you” said Law.

Maylen Cytryn is a second year Management major who is currently the Chairperson for CASA and Vice President of the John Molson Marketing Association (JMMA). Cytryn also urges students to contact her, and gives her e-mail on the byelections website.

The last candidate for JMSB is Patrick Rivest.

The candidates for ASFA are: Alexandre Hureau, an Anthropology and Sustainability major whose main goal is to make the food system more sustainable and to give Concordia a more holistic approach to the way it runs itself and tackles problems.

Majed Jamous is a second year student studying Human Relations with a minor in

Education. Jamous is the VP External for the Muslim Students Association.

Patricia Martone is a second year Psychology Honors major who has been an active volunteer for ASFA and the Concordia Undergraduate Psychology Association (CUPA).

Gabriel Velasco is in his third year of his undergrad. He has big, sustainable food plans for Concordia students, “A vote for me, will insure a fresh, uncompromisingly progressive voice on campus.”

Damian Skulic is a Biophysics major who enjoys traveling and hopes to join the CSU mandate.

Charles Bourassa is studying Western Society & Culture and hopes to bridge the gap between social and academic events. If you have any questions, Bourassa shared his e-mail on the byelectionss website.

Shahzad Dal is a second year Economics student. Dal would like to ensure more programs and workshops are created to helps students find jobs after graduation.

Justin Caruso is a second year Human Relations major whose main focus is equality and sustainability.

Also running for a position is Youssef Ennajimi.

For more information visit


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