Concordia Student Union News

Our next Concordia Student Union executive team

A look into the CSU’s plans for the future

The Concordia Student Union (CSU) elections are underway, and for the second consecutive general election year, the executive team is running unopposed. Eight members comprise the guaranteed winning team, led by candidate for general coordinator, Eduardo Malorni.

Their platform, Brick by Brick, focuses on COVID-19 measures and safety, community building, advocacy and accountability. The Concordian, The Link, and CJLO hosted a group interview for the candidates, to hear more about their platform and plans for the future.

General Coordinator Eduardo Malorni

Candidate for general Coordinator Eduardo Malorni aims to better help students with the difficulties they face while pursuing their degree this upcoming year.

He plans on addressing a variety of complaints students have had about online learning, including mental health concerns, higher workloads, and issues with proctoring services.

Malorni also wants to work with other student unions to demand a change in tuition fees, considering how many students “are not feeling like the quality [of education while remote] is the same as it was in the past.”

Part of their platform will also be supporting students that would not feel comfortable returning to campus in the fall, and to help with the return to in-person activities on campus, when that time comes.

Malorni, who’s been a part of the CSU for over two years, said one of the greatest things he and other members of the CSU helped to achieve was the pass/fail option for students last year. The same year, however, several councillors resigned, citing a toxic environment.

“Those were some of my friends who resigned,” said Malorni. “I think it’s very important to fix that.”

He said he will continue to push for an affirmative action program in the CSU, and have more discussions with racialized minorities for their input on what else the union could change and provide.

This year, he wants to increase student involvement in the CSU.

“By far the biggest struggle we’re going to have is trying to improve upon our recruitment,” said Malorni.

One of the ways he wants to tackle the issue of increasing student involvement is by improving the branding of CSU services on campus. Malorni said he has seen many students wrongly attribute CSU services to the university, or just outright not know that the CSU is behind several initiatives on campus.

He said he feels confident that his team can tackle these issues going forward this year.

Sustainability Coordinator Faye Sun

Faye Sun is running to be the next sustainability coordinator at the CSU, with the objective of connecting students to sustainability initiatives and resources at the university.

One of such initiatives at Concordia would be transforming on-campus lawns into food gardens. For Sun, restoring habitats for pollinators is one of the top priorities.

She added that urban agriculture and gardening will also benefit Concordia students in the long run.

“If we don’t invest in urban food security [right now], we might not have any food in 80 or so years,” the CSU candidate added.

Being an Environmental Science major, Sun also aims to focus on environmental justice and sustainability issues that specifically affect Indigenous and African American communities.

“Eighty per cent of all of the environment that’s ecologically protected is on Indigenous land, and that’s definitely not a coincidence,” she said. “That’s why I believe in Indigenous sovereignty and stewardship.”

By striving for eco-friendly policies in an urbanized metropolis, Sun hopes to put Concordia on a green path towards sustainability.

Academic and Advocacy Coordinator Hannah Jamet-Lange

Hannah Jamet-Lange aims to advocate for accessibility, anti-discrimination, sexual violence measures, better mental health services, international students, and climate justice. One of her main goals is to strengthen the code of conduct and the sexual violence policy, with the end goal of making the CSU “a more welcoming, supportive and safe environment for everyone.”

Jamet-Lange is in her third year in Communications, Sexuality Studies, and History. They got involved with the CSU in her first year at Concordia, with the Campaign Against Sexual Violence.

Currently there is a question going to referendum to change CSU bylaws, making the code of conduct and sexual violence policy easier to enforce. Jamet-Lange said that is already a great step forward, and as academic and advocacy coordinator they wants to ensure it is enforced if it passes.

Jamet-Lange stated that she also wants to create better definitions around the different forms of harassment and discrimination.

It’s crucial to have clear definitions when complaints go to the Judicial Board, so the board “doesn’t have to refer back to a dictionary or interpret what is seen as racism, what is seen as sexism,” said Jamet-Lange.

They said that the new executive team wants to work together to create a better culture around harm prevention.

External Affairs and Mobilization Coordinator Camina Harrison-Chéry

Camina Harrison-Chéry’s main goals are creating spaces for students to feel safe, specifically creating and supporting spaces for BIPOC students, tackling the lack of diversity at Concordia, and working on better mental health services.

“I think that since I’ve come to Concordia, I felt like my mission has been just to create spaces on campus and off campus where students feel safe, that they know they can contribute and that their opinions are important,” said Harrison-Chéry.

Harrison-Chéry is a Communications student and an entrepreneur of Haitian descent. She is the founder of BUYPOC, pop-ups that support BIPOC youth run businesses, and the owner of a headwrap brand called Urban Wrapper. At Concordia, she works to advance the Black perspective in the community, and is a member of Concordia’s task force on anti-Black racism.

To her, it’s clear that students see a lack of diversity in professors and the curriculum. Thus, Harrison-Chéry wants to work towards more diversity at Concordia, such as training staff to be aware of their biases.

“We [the CSU] are definitely responsible in terms of applying pressure and keeping that momentum,” said Harrison-Chéry, who explained that recently, with the Black Studies Department and the Black Perspective Office, there has been a lot of momentum in creating more Black spaces at Concordia.

As external affairs and mobilization coordinator, Harrison-Chéry plans to advance equity for BIPOC students through a number of initiatives, such as supporting the Black Studies and Black Perspectives Office, and investing in events that advance the Black perspective and centre around Black experiences.

Loyola Coordinator S Shivaane

S Shivaane is running for Loyola Coordinator at the CSU, and aims to improve learning conditions for Concordia students at the Loyola campus.

Shivaane’s top priorities include upgrading the shuttle bus service to and from the Sir George Williams campus, as well as providing healthy and affordable food options for Loyola students.

She noted that, in general, Loyola “has a lack of services and … amenities that pull students to stay there.”

Shivaane plans on laying foundations for “food co-ops,” which she expects will create more student jobs.

As for the shuttle service, she believes that the bus fleet needs to be expanded. According to Shivaane, the lack of accessibility is what makes Loyola seem like a distant campus, despite everything it has to offer.

“There are some students who are graduating, who have been here for four or five years, and they said that they’d never been to Loyola — which is so unfortunate, because it’s a beautiful campus,” Shivaane explained.

By pushing for a reliable shuttle connection, more study spaces and healthier food options, Shivaane is convinced that more Concordia students will be able to appreciate Loyola’s greenery and European-style architecture, and have a pleasant academic experience overall.

Finance Coordinator Aria Khaksar

Running for Financial Coordinator is not a small feat in a year where there have been class action lawsuits against universities for tuition rates. Aria Khaksar intends on addressing the issue head on.

He said, “I think after the year we’ve had with COVID, and of course the education level that has decreased … we need to talk to the school and to the board to lower tuition for students.”

Many students will be happy to hear this is an issue the CSU’s next financial coordinator is taking seriously.

“Tuition is something that has not decreased in forever and it keeps going up,” said Khaksar.

This is not a change that will happen on its own, since only the students are aware of the realities of online learning.

“It’s something that is very difficult for the school to understand, because for them the education that we’re getting online right now is the same that we would have in person,” said Khaksar.

Student Life Coordinator Malcolm Asselin

Student Life Coordinator is a challenging position in the midst of an academic year like none other. But challenges are what make life interesting, and Malcolm Asselin is excited to revive the student body.

He is prepared for the realities of next year, saying, “I want to be ready for both an online and in-person environment, just because I think it’s good to be prepared.” But this will not stop his goal of reaching students.

“I think a big challenge is, obviously, getting our information [on student events] to be interpreted and centralized, [because it] is key to reaching as many students as possible,” said Asselin.

Once students are informed, they can start participating in student-led events, such as Concordia’s Got Talent, an interdisciplinary event that is hosted by faculty associations collaboratively.

“It was the first time that all faculty associations collaborated together for an event, and we had an amazing engagement, students were involved. There was like some type of community being built here,” said Asselin.

For the coming year, one of his goals will be to bring together all associations at Concordia to work together in gathering the student body. He said, “I want more work like that, getting faculty associations to collaborate together for events.”

Internal Affairs Coordinator Harrison Kirshner

Harrison Kirshner is running to be the next internal affairs coordinator at the CSU, and hopes to concentrate on elevating clubs under the student association’s mandate.

Kirshner wants to help develop clubs by increasing their recruitment and getting the CSU more directly involved, “mak[ing] it easier for clubs to recruit, because that is really something that’s difficult during the online environment.”

Some of the clubs under the CSU’s mandate are Concordia Tennis Team, the Muslim Student Association (MSA), the Concordia Debate Society (CDS) and dozens more.

He is also looking into making a Facebook page for CSU clubs to post material they would like the CSU to advertise. The CSU would then be able to advertise their clubs on the newsletter, on their page, on their social media and more.

This could help get the university back on its feet when we come back to in-person learning. He said, “I believe that incorporating club recruitment into those mechanisms is something that we should do.”


Logo courtesy of the Concordia Student Union (CSU)


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


NDP leadership candidates take on Montreal

Candidates talk to The Concordian about the leadership race before their debate at Club Soda

Charlie Angus

The Timmins—James Bay MP wants to tackle housing issues across the country. Referencing his “Housing is a Right” platform, Angus said “the right to adequate housing has to be considered a fundamental human right because the amount of resources that are spent by the state because of homelessness is outrageous.” He said he plans to use the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s $4-billion surplus to finance his housing platform.

As part of his urban agenda, Angus wants to make post-secondary education more accessible. “Bombardier gets interest free loans — why don’t students?” Angus asked. He said the level of interest the government forces young people to pay is “nuts.” Angus also proposed a ban on unpaid internships. Speaking about their use at CBC/Radio-Canada, Angus told The Concordian he “was appalled by the abuse of unpaid internships.” He acknowledged they could be allowed, but that they would “have to be done in a very specific context with an objective for education.”

His campaign also addresses the need to ensure digital inclusion in Canada. Angus said many people in marginalized communities, where inhabitants don’t have internet access, are part of a “growing digital divide.”

Guy Caron

According to Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques MP Guy Caron, climate change refugees are not a problem of the future. “We can already talk about it,” he said. “Climate change is caused by industrialized countries and those nations have a responsibility towards people who are displaced.”

The NDP leadership candidate said he wants to establish better relationships with communities in all regions of Canada and specifically send organizers to Quebec where the NDP lost more than 40 seats in the 2015 federal election. “We missed a big opportunity when we were the official opposition,” Caron told The Concordian. “We should have done a lot of organization.”

Caron’s platform also includes electoral reform. He said that voters might doubt that a candidate can bring about reform, but said Canadians will only be able to confront the challenges of electoral reform if it’s a priority for the government. “Under an NDP government that I will lead, the first draft legislation will be to establish a mixed-member proportional representation system,” said Caron. The economist also told the The Concordian he wants to prevent a destabilization of the Canadian economy, which he predicts will happen due to the automatization of various industries.

Niki Ashton

Churchill—Keewatinook Aski MP Niki Ashton is the only candidate still in school. The candidate’s Ph.D thesis, at the University of Manitoba, is about millennial feminism. “It has influenced my work in the platform we’ve put together as part of this leadership race,” Ashton told The Concordian. She stated that her campaign’s racial justice platform, she said, “makes it very clear that the federal government needs to play a leadership role in addressing the systemic barriers that racialized and Indigenous communities face in our country.”

Ashton’s “Justice for LGBTQ2+ Persons” platform also includes “the repeal of discriminatory blood [donation] ban on gay men” and better access to gender-affirming surgery. “Montreal is the only place one can come to in Canada for [gender-affirming] surgery,” Ashton pointed out in an interview with The Concordian.

Ashton also wants to offer tuition-free post-secondary education across Canada. “It’s unacceptable that we’re indebting a generation for simply doing what is asked of them, which is to get an education,” Ashton said. Her plan also includes ending discrimination against international students by regulating the cost of tuition so these students “do not face exponential rate increases year over year.”

“Institutions are making a profit off of people who are coming — yes, getting an education — but contributing immensely to Canadian society,” Ashton explained.

Jagmeet Singh

Singh is the only candidate who is not currently an NDP federal MP. The former Ontario NDP deputy leader is an MP for Bramalea—Gore—Malton in the Ontario Legislative Assembly. It’s unclear if Singh will run as a federal MP if he loses the leadership race. When asked by Charlie Angus during the debate what his plan was if he lost, Singh answered: “With respect, I won’t lose.”

Singh’s “Temp Agency Workers” platform demonstrates that he wants to “ensure that all workers employed through a temporary job agency under federal jurisdiction receive the same wages, benefits and working conditions as permanent full-time workers.” The Ontario MP wants to launch an LGBTQI2S+ Youth Housing Initiative “because services designed to assist homeless youth are often unsafe or inaccessible to members of that community”. Like fellow candidate Niki Ashton, Singh wants to repeal the blood donation ban for gay men and transgender women.

The candidate’s platform also includes establishing a basic income for Canadians with disabilities, which will receive funding from multiple sources such as “new tax brackets on high income earners” and by “closing corporate tax loopholes.”

Photo by Kirubel Mehari

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