Concordia Student Union News

CSU holds its fall by-elections debate

The CSU’s fall by-elections debate focused on tuition hikes and student engagement.

On Wednesday, Nov. 1, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) held its fall by-elections debate on the seventh floor of the Hall building, where referendum committees and CSU council seat candidates were given the chance to present their platforms to students.

Students will be able to vote for campaigns such as Dave Plant’s advocacy of not renewing Concordia’s 2026 contract with Aramark, Kendra Downe’s promotion of anti-colonial solidarity with Palestine, and the Kahnistensera Mohawk Mothers, Giancarlo Laurieri’s pledge of enhancing student accessibility to CSU services, and Ryan Assaker’s intention of establishing a solid push back against tuition hikes.

These four council seat candidates were in attendance along with one referendum committee member. The candidates discussed issues such as the Coalition Avenir Québec’s (CAQ) tuition hike for out-of-province students and the disconnect between the CSU and Concordia’s student body during the debate.

“The CSU is looked upon as this demagogical society that exists above the student body when, in reality, the CSU is the representation of the students’ thoughts as a unified thought,” said Laurieri.

Laurieri proposed that the council get more involved in student media so that students could be more informed about what the CSU is doing. He also suggested that the union establish public Q&A events to give students more opportunities to bring up their concerns to the council. 

“A lot of people don’t know that the CSU is reaching out to fight against the tuition hikes, or that this source is available for students to use,” he said.

Concordia President Graham Carr stated on Tuesday that the university could lose up to 90 per cent of its out-of-province enrollment due to the tuition hikes. As the policy threatens implementation, the CAQ maintains that it’s aimed at protecting the French language by limiting the number of anglophone students in Quebec.

Students, however, feel differently. “It’s not a question about protecting the language, it’s a question about abusing the students. There are better ways of protecting the French language” said Assaker.

At the debate, referendum committee member The Link’s editor-in-chief Zachary Fortier, presented The Link’s fee levy increase campaign to increase funding to the student newspaper. The campaign asks to raise the current fee of 19 cents per credit to 40 cents, in order to meet inflation.

“Investing in The Link is investing into student life, and making sure there’s a dynamic and prospering community that gets amplified to the -nth degree,” said Fortier. “We’re a necessary presence on campus. I have a deep fear that we’ll cease to exist if we cannot make enough money to pay people a livable wage.”

Fortier highlighted the importance of the student newspaper’s coverage history, like giving Palestinian students a voice during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2002 visit to Montreal. “The Link has always been a place of advocacy for underrepresented students to have a voice,” he said. 

The CSU by-elections campaigning phase will end on Nov. 6, and students can cast their ballot from Nov. 7 to Nov. 9.

Guest Letter: Vote Yes for the Change We Need

Support Diversity and Social Solidarity Economic Development at Concordia

Over the next few days, students will be capable of voting in the Concordia Student Union (CSU) 2021 by-election. This year’s ballot is quite large with 13 referendum questions. Those referendum questions include: five fee levy referendum questions, two bylaw amendments, and six questions of importance. With a baker’s dozen worth of questions to be voted upon that stretch from student rights, to economic revolution, to issues of social justice and everything in between it may be hard to assess what’s in front of you.

In my role as general coordinator of the CSU, I have seen all these questions scrutinized and debated by the CSU Council prior to being sent to be voted on in this election. I would like to personally encourage everyone to vote yes to all the questions on the ballot but would also like to highlight certain questions which I believe will be quite impactful for students not only this academic year, but for many years into the future. Namely, the foundation referendum question and the creation of the diversity services fee levy.

The Diversity Services Office is a long overdue and sorely needed addition to the CSU. The creation of this fee levy by the CSU BIPOC Committee will support marginalized communities to proactively lead responsive and targeted initiatives. This office will advocate for a wider and more diverse community than the CSU has been previously capable of advocating for. Diversity Services will create a space in which marginalized students can embrace their identities, form solidarity, access leadership opportunities/resources, connect to diverse community organizations doing crucial work, and support ongoing student demands on how Concordia must do better. Given the many incidents of discrimination and marginalization happening across campus, students must have access to a space in which they feel safe, heard and represented. Overall the goal of the Diversity Services fee levy is to create an institutionalized branch of the CSU capable of fighting discrimination on campus and to give marginalized communities the support they currently lack. Lastly, I would like to thank my co-executives Camina Harrison-Chéry, Faye Sun and S Shivaane for the time and effort they put into spearheading this project to its current state, and to Sandra Mouafo who has recently joined the team to lead Diversity Services into the future!

The foundation referendum question asks students if they want the CSU to explore the possibility of using a portion of the interest from the investments in the CSU’s Student Space, Accessible Education, and Legal Contingency Fund (SSAELC) to support the social solidarity economic development on campus. While the words “social solidarity economic development on campus” is a mouthful, some prominent examples of these are the Hive Café and Reggies.

It is impossible to talk about the launch of these projects without talking about another referendum question on the ballot tomorrow, which is the SEIZE Concordia fee levy. If the funding for future student-led and democratically run projects comes from the passing of the foundation referendum question, the knowledge and training for students to learn how to operate them would come from SEIZE Concordia. Between both questions, a future in which students will be able to run their own campus via cooperative organizations is far closer than previously imagined.

Overall, this election sets the foundation for the CSU and students for years to come. It is inspiring to see so many great initiatives being spoken about, the energy these initiatives bring out of the student body and of course the potential they promise. And with that, I wish you all a happy election!

By: Eduardo Malorni, CSU General Coordinator. You can contact Eduardo Malorni at (


Photograph by Lou Neveux-Pardijon

Exit mobile version