The Void And Queer Concordia Denied
Legitimate Student Groups Not Eligible for Fee Levy Request
Miscommunications with Concordia Student Union Chief Electoral Officer Oliver Cohen and CSU President Heather Lucas will keep two student groups from getting their fee levy requests on the March ballot.
Bilingual Magazine The Void and LGBT advocacy group Queer Concordia both received word from Cohen that their requests for 2 cent per credit fee levies would not be voted on by the Concordia student body due to not properly completing the application procedures.
“We were told to present [our fee levy proposal] at the CSU meeting in January,” said The Void editor Cole Robertson. “I was informed by Heather Lucas the day before that in addition to the four requirements [found in the CSU standing regulations], it was also required that The Void be a registered non-profit organization in order for the question to be approved.
“They didn’t inform me that the deadline to have the incorporation documents in was 25 days prior to the election,” he continued. “I was under the clear impression that it was the date of the election. So on Friday, 25 days prior to the election, we weren’t incorporated yet, so we weren’t able to be approved by the CSU.”
As a result of the miscommunication, The Void will not be eligible to have their request for a 2-cent fee levy put to students until the Fall semester.
As if waiting weren’t hard enough, there’s a further complication for the nine-year-old publication. Robertson claimed that the CSU lost the 750-signature petition, which is one of the mandatory requirements for consideration for a fee levy. He added that this is from what he could gather, and suggested speaking to Lucas about the matter. Lucas has declined comment beyond an e-mail in which she said, “The only comments I have are that its unfortunate both groups were not able to get incorporated in time.”
“At the meeting in January when we submitted this application, I placed the petition down on the CSU table and said ‘I submit this petition for the review of council’ or some such thing, and then we left,” said Robertson. “Apparently, they seem to have misplaced the petition or lost it, without ever having checked the names on the petition.”
Queer Concordia suffered a similar setback, as their incorporation papers were not in on time.
“We are on the right side of CSU bylaws and the CEO is being heavy handed,” said the group in a prepared statement.
Fortunately, things may yet turn out OK for the advocacy group. Queer Concordia member Joey Donnelly stated that he plans to attend the CSU’s upcoming meeting on March 9, and hopes that a compromise can be reached to get the fee levy back on the ballot, given that they expect their incorporation documents to arrive this week. The group also needs to collect the required petition.
“It’s a minor miscommunication,” said Donnelly. “We’ll gladly [get the 750 signature petition] if we’re given a few days notice. It’s not a huge undertaking.”
Cohen declined to be interviewed, though he sent a brief e-mail to The Link.
“Any referendum questions not included on the announcement of polls were excluded because they were not in compliance with the requirements of the regulations as per Article 136 [of the CSU standing regulations],” said Cohen in his e-mail. “This is not an arbitrary or discretionary decision, as the CEO has no authority to override these regulations.”
This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 25, published March 8, 2011.