Results for ASFA general elections announced

Elections were extended half a day due to not reaching quorum by 13 votes

The results for the Arts & Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) general elections have been released with a total of 459 votes. All of the candidates for the executive team ran unopposed and were successfully voted in. One of the four referendum questions on the ballot was not passed.

ASFA extends election period for half a day after not reaching quorum. Graphic by Florence Yee.

The voting period for ASFA general elections were extended by half a day due to the elections not reaching the  quorum—the 435 ballots cast necessary to legitimize the election—after students cast their votes between March 21 to 23 to elect a new ASFA executive team for 2017-2018 and vote upon four referendum questions.

Julia Sutera Sardo, currently ASFA vice-president of internal affairs was successfully elected president with 305 votes, 53 abstaining votes and 91 votes against.

Christopher Czich won the position of VP of Social Affairs, with 297 votes in favour; Bianca Bruzzese obtained the role as VP of External Affairs and Sustainability with 266 votes in favour; Gregory Bedell was elected VP of Loyola and Academic Affairs with 239 votes in favour. Also, Steven Tutino won VP of Internal Affairs with 265 votes in approval and Francesco Valente won with 295 votes in favour for the position of VP Finance.

The role of vp of Communications and Promotions has not been filled, as no one ran during general elections.

For the role of independent councillors, all four candidates running were elected; Andrea Gauthier, Rachel Hutchinson, Gaëlle Kouyoumdjian and Alisa Knezevic. There remains one open spot for a fifth independent councillor which remains unfilled.

Three of the four referendum questions in this election were passed. The proposal for ASFA’s fee levy to be raised by $0.12/credit—from $1.22/credit to $1.34/credit, put into effect in Fall semester 2017—was rejected by students: 207 voted no, while 166 voted in favour and 56 abstained.

However, the second referendum question was passed to allow quorum for Annual General Elections, By-Elections and any Referendum questions to be lowered from a requirement of 2.5 per cent of the students ASFA represents, being more than 20,000 students—this election’s quorum was set at 435 students—down to 400 students. This passed by 207 votes, with 137 votes opposed.

The third bylaw asked students to vote for changes to the ASFA bylaws to alter the students allowed on the organization’s financial committee. The changes, which were approved with 185 votes in favour, allows for a student at large—meaning a student who is neither an executive or councillor—to be part of the committee which approves budgets for events and ASFA’s member associations.

Finally, the referendum question for ASFA executive positions to be changed to non-hierarchical titles were passed by 252 votes, and 87 opposed.

ASFA’s chief electoral officer (CEO) Samuel Miriello announced the federation decided to extend the voting period, giving students the chance to vote from 9 a.m. to noon March 24 to reach quorum.

Just before 8 p.m. on March 23, ASFA vice-president of internal affairs Julia Sutera Sardo said ASFA’s election had met quorum. However, at 11 p.m., Miriello stated ASFA had not reached quorum. The mistake was due to a technical error with the election equipment.

According to Miriello, the issue was with the vote counting system. “People with double majors were counted twice by accident—we were off by 13 votes,” he said.

“If we knew that we were missing votes, we would’ve extended the polls anyway,” Miriello told The Concordian. “The technical error was exposed during ballot count.”

Despite extending the elections longer than three days and furthering balloting after votes had been counted, Miriello said lawyers working for ASFA told him doing so was legal.



Students demand BTM200 be economically friendly

JMSB student creates petition in protest of high fees for mandatory BTM 200 course

In light of discovering a required fee of over $200 for the mandatory John Molson School of Business (JMSB) course, “Business Technology Management,” BTM 200, some first-year JMSB students are signing a petition to protest against what they consider costly fees.

Samuel Miriello, creator of the petition and first-year human resource management student, said he was not aware of these fees until he received an email from his professor mid-September prompting him to pay more than $200 for the class.

“Online classes are amazing and they give us access to tools that make learning easier, but it doesn’t warrant the school making us pay tuition and not giving us class sessions,” said Miriello. He said with his other online classes, there is a virtual classroom and the class meets once a week. However, this is not the case in BTM 200.“The professor never hosts sessions that we can attend where he does any live teaching,” he said.

Miriello said the different components of BTM 200 are distributed across three websites, each with their own fees—$90 to access the eConcordia website, $20.70 for LearningLab—a software providing grades and due dates, and $104.95 for Skills Assessment Manager Cengage (SAM)—a website which teaches students how to use Excel and Access.

“Every website has it’s own quizzes, it’s own material, it’s own modules and you kind of have to jump between them,” Miriello said.

Raafat George Saadé, an associate professor of supply chain and business technology management, and the creator and coordinator of BTM 200, said LearningLab has a low cost and helps to guide students through the 12 activities within the course.

Students express frustration over paying more than $200 for BTM200. Graphic by Florence Yee.

Saadé said LearningLab allowed him to consolidate all of the students performances into one location and to sequence their activities. He said the LearningLab provides reminders of the due dates for students and provides a report for Saadé on how much students achieved on each of their learning goals.

On eConcordia, only three per cent of the student’s grade is evaluated, said Miriello.

However, Saadé explained the three per cent accounts only for the quizzes on eConcordia—however, the final exam, worth 60 per cent, is based on the eBook available through eConcordia. Saadé said SAM makes up 20 per cent of the final grade. The activities on LearningLab are worth 17 per cent.

“When we take BTM, no one ever tells you that you’re going to have to pay so much money,” said international business student Saloné Prigent. “At least I’d like a warning that we’d have to pay this to take BTM, especially because BTM is a mandatory course.” She added, with three websites to keep up with, it’s hard to keep track of when assignments are due.

Sepideh Zangeneh, an international student from Mexico studying international business, said Miriello’s idea of making a petition was great, and though she may have financial support to pay the BTM 200 fees, not all students have this privilege. “There are people [who] are on their own in universitythey don’t have the money to pay that,” said Zangeneh. “More than for me, I want this for people who really can’t afford stuff like this.”

Saadé said, after paying the required fee for SAM, it can be accessed until graduation and is officially used in two to three courses within JMSB. He said he is trying to make these fees valuable for students by implementing more courses where Excel and Access can be used, requiring students to use SAM.

“This is not new,” said Saadé, towards students complaining of the high fees required when taking BTM 200. Saadé said he has tried switching website hosts various times, but this is the lowest price he can get. “When I started, I looked at all the different softwares and at companies like Microsoft and other publishers,” said Saadé. He said all publishers range in price from $60 to $180. “Over the years I’ve experienced each one—one by one,” said Saadé.

Miriello said the website is still not up to par with his expectations considering the cost. ”It’s just ironic that our intro to business technology management is taught in such an uninspired, expensive and cluttered way. The complete opposite of what BTM should be,” he said.

Saadé said he has 1,500 students and asks them at the end of every class if the book was good, if they learned anything from the quiz, if there should be any improvements and what their opinions are on using SAM. “Over 90 per cent of the students, they say they see the value,” he said.

Saadé said in certain circumstances he has waived students either from taking the course or paying the cost of it. He said, in the past, he has contacted the program provider and they suspended the cost for SAM or LearningLab. Alternatively, if a student can demonstrate they know the material, they do not have to take BTM 200, he said. “If they really have financial problems, I can personally try to figure out ways to help” said Saadé. He said some semesters he is not approached, however others he may receive up to five students requesting financial help.

Saadé said many students in co-op, who gain job experience through paid work-terms, have told him that they felt they had not learned enough in Excel and Access. “They come back and say, ‘We need to learn more—we took BTM 200 and it’s not enough. Can we learn more advanced stuff?’” said Saadé.

The winter semester version of the course will have a brand new website, feature more activities and be more interactive, said Saadé. “Because of the nature of the course also, every two years I have to update the content,” he said, adding that SAM updates itself as well. Saadé is also in the process of creating a follow-up course to BTM 200 that will hopefully be released this year.

Exit mobile version