A change in tactics

The executive of the Concordia Student Union will be recommending to council during the next regular meeting Wednesday that Nadine Atallah, current VP clubs and internal affairs, take over the position of president.

President Schubert Laforest officially gave notice on Feb. 7. In a public letter, Laforest stated a decline in health as his reason for departure, citing ongoing mononucleosis and strep throat.

Laforest explained in the letter that he endorsed Atallah as a candidate for his replacement.

“I hope Nadine Atallah, current VP clubs and internal affairs, will take over my position and all my responsibilities with council’s approval. The team and I are very confident in her abilities to lead the union and to carry on with the team of executives through the remainder of the year,” the letter read.

Atallah said that for about two to three days, the executive sat down to speak about the situation and what would be best to move forward. The executive decided together that the best option was that Laforest resign and Atallah to be recommended to the council to take over the position of president.

“The idea was that we would appoint one of us to take over the position and as a team, we felt as if the best person to finish out the mandate is me,” Atallah said.

Bylaw 7.4 states that a majority from council must appoint a new president from the remaining vice-presidents. However, if no vice-presidents will take on the role, a councillor may take the position of president provided a two-thirds majority vote from the council is given.

Atallah stated that there are two significant reasons why the executive felt she would be best to fill the position. One reason being that her job now, VP clubs and internal affairs, is more administrative. According to Atallah, it would be easier to teach someone else her position than any other on the executive.

The second reason is that she and Laforest worked closely together throughout the year. “I’m already in the loop, I know where we’re at and what needs to be done,” she said.

Atallah echoed Laforest’s sentiments expressed in a public letter stating it was a difficult personal decision.

“It’s a big deal, we get attached to the job, the union, the way things are run,” Atallah said. “Unless you do this job, you won’t understand how attached you get and for [Laforest] to resign, it’s an extremely big deal, it’s a sign of how much he cared for the union since he put our interests before his.”

Atallah explained that Laforest was an essential part to the team and although the transition won’t be easy without him, she knows that he will be there as much as he can and that his relationship with the union isn’t over.

Councillor Chad Walcott said although it is unfortunate that Laforest had to resign, he didn’t appreciate that the executive chose who they felt should take on the role of president without consulting council.

“I’m a little confused because Nadine refused to sit on both the Board of Governors and Senate,” said Walcott. “When do we get consulted on this?”

Looking to the future, Atallah says she doesn’t take the position of president lightly and realizes it’s a hard job to perform.

“We want this to be a turning point for us, we’re disappointed for [Laforest] leaving but we want to come out of this stronger than we were,” Atallah said. “But ultimately, it’s the council’s decision.”


Putting a face to the name: Know your student leaders

Schubert Laforest

Concordia Student Union President

Laforest’s mandate began on June 1 when he replaced former President Lex Gill.
Laforest is in charge of the student union that represents Concordia’s 30,000 undergraduate students and he is there to ensure undergraduate students’ voices are heard and concerns are addressed during the upcoming academic year. The president’s job is to oversee his executive committee’s management of funds, their promotion of student life, their campaigns and services.

Laforest plans to tackle issues and scandals at Concordia with a sustainable and transparent government approach. Laforest promised that students would feel represented in administrative decisions and the CSU would hold governing bodies accountable for their decisions. The incumbent president said that he will tackle the tuition fee increase by lobbying for change within the internal management of the university.

Telephone: 848-7474 ext. 8899

Simon-Pierre Lauzon
VP external affairs

Lauzon is in charge of handling Concordia’s external affairs and therefore deals with individuals, programs and groups outside of the university institution. VP external is responsible for liaisons outside of Concordia and the mobilization of students to actively participate in campaigns organized by the CSU. Lauzon must also sit on the External and Campaigns committee.

For his mandate, Lauzon plans to implement student-run research papers that count for credit in order to have a more informed student body. An advocate of the student movement against the tuition increase, Lauzon will work with international student organizations who face similar situations.

Telephone: 848-7474 ext. 8906

Andrew Roberts
VP Sustainability

The role of VP Sustainability is to develop a responsible and sustainable environmental and social policy for the CSU. Roberts must promote sustainable campaigns and initiatives for Concordia. As part of his duties, Roberts sits on the board of directors for the Sustainability Action Fund and the Concordia Volunteer Abroad Program.

Roberts aims to promote sustainability at Concordia by addressing new undergraduate students at orientation. His goal is to create and update a sustainability website to promote awareness about environmental measures.

Telephone: 848-7474 ext. 8902

Lucia Gallardo
VP academic and advocacy

VP academic runs the legal clinic and Advocacy Centre while acting as a liaison to the Graduate Students Association and those appointed to represent academic bodies on academic issues. Gallardo is also responsible for the organization and chairing of meetings of the student academic caucus, and she must oversee the appointment of individuals on academic bodies or sit on them herself.

Gallardo wants to implement a sexual assault centre with the help of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia. Her goals are to focus on students in need of financial aid and a sexual harassment policy.

Telephone: 848-7474 ext. 8903

Keny Toto
VP finance

The job of VP finance is to oversee the CSU budget in terms of preparation, accessibility, updating and reporting on a monthly basis to the council. Toto must ensure the budget is respected and in the best interests of the student body. VP finance is also responsible for sitting on the board of CUSACORP and on the financial committee.

Toto aims to focus on the needs of undergrads and welcomes their input for the budget. His goal is to make the CSU budget easy to read and to access. Toto also promises to make CUSACORP more profitable through new services while properly managing inventory control and improving marketing strategies.

848-7474 ext. 8901

Nadine Atallah
VP clubs and internal affairs

VP clubs and internal affairs oversees all non-academic groups belonging to the CSU. Part of Atallah’s mandate is to have a relationship with clubs, manage club budgets, and sit on the Clubs and Space Committee. Atallah also acts as the secretary of the corporation aspect of the CSU and must oversee the CSU’s corporate books.

In order to create a more democratic CSU, Atallah promises to implement online voting so that more students can participate in decisions made by the CSU. In addition she wants to encourage all students to find a club or student group that interests them.

848-7474 ext. 8900

Alexis Suzuki

VP student life

The role of VP student life is to act as a liaison for all faculty associations. Suzuki is responsible for organizing major events at Concordia, specifically that of student orientation at the beginning of the fall semester.

Suzuki promised to work closely with clubs and faculty associations to ensure involvement in student life on campus. Her goal is to revitalize student life by reaching out to students to get them involved over the duration of the upcoming academic year.

848-7474 ext. 8905

Stefan Faina
VP Loyola

This position protects the best interests of students at Concordia’s Loyola Campus. VP Loyola is responsible for promoting a united university community and strengthening ties between both campuses. Faina must also maintain a strong CSU presence at the Loyola Campus.

Faina stated that he feels Loyola has the potential to play a greater role in student life this year. He promised to create more events at the campus and to bring back the Winter Festival. Faina also plans to introduce movie nights and a music festival at Loyola.

848-7474 ext. 8912

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