CSU Election Results

Community Matters Sweeps Executive Positions,  Per-Faculty Fee-Levy Petition Is Voted Down

  • Community Matters swept up all 8 of the executive positions. Photo Shaun Michaud

The Concordia Student Union’s March 25-27 election results are tentatively in, and Community Matters has won the eight executive positions in office—in most cases by nearly double the next candidate, according to Chief Electoral Officer Andre-Marcel Baril.

Community Matters swept the Concordia Student Union elections last week with each of its seven vice-presidential candidates and presidential candidate Benjamin Prunty winning with a majority of the popular vote.

Prunty racked in 1,327 votes for the presidency while the candidate with the second greatest number of votes was Melissa Payette with 519. Chuck Wilson came in third with 475 votes.

“I was taken aback—it’s a clear victory. It’s nice to move forward with such a strong mandate,” said Prunty.

Community Matters’ seven vice-presidential candidates were also voted into office—most by nearly three times more votes than the next­­ candidate.

“A sincere congratulations to everyone who was elected and who ran. It’s a big mental and physical challenge to put yourself open to public scrutiny while working long hours campaigning, and everyone should be equally commended for their hard work,” CSU chief electoral officer Andre-Marcel Baril wrote on the CEO’s Facebook page.

All five of the council candidates from the John Molson School of Business and all three council candidates from the fine arts department were voted in. The four candidates from the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science that were voted onto council are Anita Sarkissian,
Kyle Arseneau, Rami Yahia and Nicholaos Mouzoukaris.

Arseneau was elected in number, but had been disqualified before voting began on March 25. Arseneau had posted a message in the Facebook group “2k15 Concordia EngGames – La Course JDG Concordia 2k15” on Tuesday, which Baril found to be in violation of a number of regulations, including campaigning after the campaign period’s end.

Arseneau has appealed the decision to the CSU’s Judicial Board, which held a hearing on Monday. If the JB chooses to back up Baril’s decision, fifth-place runner-up Jules Plessis would fill the seat on council.

Terry Ngala, who ran uncontested, will represent Concordia’s independent students at the CSU’s next council meeting on April 9.
Arts and science candidates Emily Fisher, Jenna Cocullo, Gemma Acco, Matthew Palynchuk, Chloe Williams, John Talbot, Thomas Radcliffe, Alanna Stacey, Paul Jerajian, Lucinda Marshall-Kiparissis, James Tyler Vaccaro, Marcus Peters, Angelica Novielli and Jeremy Tessier were also voted onto CSU council.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know all the new councillors. That’s going to be a big part of my role,” said Prunty.

Four referendum questions were also asked. Students voted to give CUTV management and control over its fee levy, which thus far had been managed informally by an umbrella organization. Students also voted to raise the Centre for Gender Advocacy’s fee levy from $0.29 per credit to $0.37.

The two new bylaws—9.6.1 and 9.6.2, which amend the bylaw that states referenda can be called if a petition of 500 signatures is presented to council—passed. Under the new bylaws, a petition must be presented to council before circulating among students and a filled-out petition must be presented to the council chair at least five days before the announcement of the poll.

Special bylaw I, put forth by Prunty, was passed. It allows the CSU to use a portion of the Student Space, Accessible Education and Legal Contingency Fund for “the creation and expansion of predominantly student-run food systems projects on campus.” The fund, which has been accumulating just over $1 million a year for over 10 years, was originally reserved for student space purposes.

In their campaign, Community Matters said they would like to use $1 million—the equivalent of one year of accumulated funds—to build a greenhouse above the student-run Hive Café that has not yet opened.

The per-faculty referendums petition, which called for votes for fee levies to be held along faculty lines, was voted down with 1,526 “No” votes, 792 “Yes” votes and 682 students abstaining.

“We know there’s going to be much discussion to come, but at least this part is voted [on] so we can have the discussions,” said Geneviève Bonin, who lead the “No” committee opposing the referendum question.

“From the opposition side, we’ve been saying since the beginning that this was not the way to bring up the issues that they felt needed to be addressed.”

With a number of contentious issues at play during the elections, a larger-than-usual number of students took to the polls. Nearly 3,200 students—just under 10 per cent of the student body—cast ballots this year, compared to 1,450 that had voted during the last general elections.

“A lot of people voted, which is a huge accomplishment. The only reason why is because of the candidates,” said Baril.

Only one executive position in last year’s elections was contested.

According to Baril, the only hiccup in this election was the fact that workers at the voting station on the fourth floor of the Hall Building didn’t hand out the ballot for VP Loyola on March 27.

“Not enough that if everybody would have voted against [Gabriel Velasco, who won VP Loyola], he still would have won,” said Baril. Velasco won with 1,461 votes, 861 more than the next leading candidate for the position, Alex McCulloch.

“This is a really positive step, as myself and the entire Community Matters team is committed to the development of the Hive Solidarity Co-op Café, and with that the positive transformation of student space as well as food systems on the Loyola campus,” said Velasco of his new executive position.

Despite an overwhelming win in numbers, the Community Matters team experienced some controversy of their own with three complaints pertaining to campaigning filed against them, according to Baril.

Although one of them was filed by Prunty himself because of a mistake in poster size made by their printer, another involving campaign posters was filed because they had stuck three posters together on one billboard. Arseneau filed the other because VP Finance Heather Nagy had tagged him in a Facebook post promoting Community Matters. The post was taken down shortly after it was published.

*Look for an article in next week’s issue of The Link about Arseneau’s disqualification hearing before the CSU’s Judicial Board. *

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