A By-Election Will Go Down as Leaves Turn Brown

CSU Council Votes on a Series of Referendum Questions to Present at Upcoming Ballot

Photo Verity Stevenson

A referendum question on whether students agree to index the Concordia Student Union’s fee levy to inflation will set the wheels in motion for a fall by-election Nov. 25 to 27.

Members of council voted on the motion to put the question, among others, on the ballot this season at the meeting last Thursday evening.

“Our administrative salaries are tied to inflation,” VP Finance Heather Nagy said at the meeting, responding to Arts and Science Federation of Associations president Paul Jerajian, who said indexing wasn’t “the best way to increase a fee levy.”

The passing of a “Yes” vote in the referendum would see the union’s fee levy tied to inflation, which is now at two per cent. Nagy said though many other costs were tied to inflation, the CSU’s operating budget had remained static.

“We might as well circumvent the problem,” she added.

Earlier that day, ASFA voted against indexing its fee-levy to inflation at a special council meeting that led them to announce a by-election on the same dates as the CSU’s. ASFA instead voted to increase its fee-levy from $0.38 to $1.60 per credit because Concordia’s expenses often don’t follow inflation rates.

The CSU will also be asking students if a $102,563.79 loan it took from the Student Space, Accessible Education and Legal Contingency Fund can be expensed to pay for startup costs that were not approved by the fund committee, including operational costs, “miscellaneous startup costs,” marketing and promotions.

The question will ask students whether they think it’s an appropriate expense for the SSAELC to incur, rather than the CSU having to pay the loan back from its operating budget.

At the last CSU meeting there was debate on whether to have a by-election or not, following Concordia Model UN’s submission of its constitution.

The constitution had garnered scrutiny by the CSU’s policy committee, which questioned whether the group could “function” under the constitution as it stood despite its legal soundness.

Councillors voted to have the constitution sent back to the policy committee for another review. The motion led Jerajian and councillor James Tyler Vaccaro to question whether the second review would push CONMUN past the deadline to participate in a fall by-election, which would decide whether they could become a fee-levy group or not.

But on Thursday VP Academic Terry Wilkings said the policy committee’s decision was ready, leaving enough room for the group to submit their application for the election after a “notwithstanding” vote to push the deadline further.

Wilkings said the committee, which he sits on, had met with CONMUN again earlier that day and that it “went really well.”

“We’re in favour of this document as something CONMUN can function under,” he added, explaining that CONMUN had made changes to its constitution.

Also on the ballot is a referundum question that would render the International and Ethnic Association Council independent from the CSU, and increase its fee levy from $0.06 to 0.12 per credit.