One Step Closer to The Summit

CSU Town Hall Launches Online Voting to Determine Union’s Positions

  • Around 30 students gathered on the seventh-floor of Concordia’s Hall Building for the CSU’s Summit Town Hall Meeting—an event meant to kick off a week-long online vote on summit-related issues. Photo Sam Slotnick

The Concordia Student Union wants your input.

For the past two months, CSU VP External Simon-Pierre Lauzon has been working towards preparing a document in hopes of outlining the union’s positions for Quebec’s upcoming summit on higher education, and for years to come.

On Monday, around 30 students gathered on the seventh-floor of Concordia’s Hall Building for the CSU’s Summit Town Hall Meeting—an event meant to kick off a week-long online vote on summit-related issues.

After preliminary presentations and a short speech from Federation Etudiant Universitaire du Quebec President Martine Desjardins, the 30-or-so student participants were encouraged to discuss issues surrounding higher education.

The discussion was divided between the summit’s four themes: quality, accessibility, research and governance and financing. When introducing the discussion topics, Lauzon recalled the 2012 student strikes.

“There’s a job to get done and if we don’t do it, the people who were proposing 150 per cent increases [before the strike] are going to do it,” he said.

Issues raised by student participants spanned across various aspects of university policy. Student involvement in designing programs, defining quality in university education, the homogeneity of Concordia’s Board of Governors, and the issue of tuition in relation to women and minority groups were all discussed.

“There’s a job to get done and if we don’t do it, the people who were proposing 150 per cent increases [before the strike] are going to do it.”
—Simon Pierre Lauzon, CSU VP External

Throughout the conversation, Desjardins intervened to respond to questions, and present the FEUQ’s position on various issues.

“We’re at the table, we’re arguing, and our arguments are very precise,” she said.

One of the FEUQ’s positions centres around the creation of a university evaluation commission. The Commission d’évaluation des universités québécoises, Desjardins says, would strive for transparency in regards to university financing, push for an end to undue building expansion and aim for less competition between Quebec universities.

“It’s not just about tuition anymore,” said Desjardins, noting that the FEUQ’s member associations’ current position on the tuition issue was that of a freeze at current rates, with no indexation.

Last week, Lauzon told The Link that the CSU’s summit campaign site would be up on Monday.

At the meeting however, he said the site would be up after he had included propositions brought up during the student discussion.

The website, along with a working link to the CSU’s survey, is now up and running.

Once the propositions have been voted on and the document prepared, the CSU will use it to inform decision-making at the FEUQ’s congress on Feb. 6-8, and as a reference point in drafting future external policy.

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