Action Takes Aim at the BoG

Slate’s Presidential Candidate Speaks to The Link

Students dash through Concordia’s Hall building to spread their slate’s message. Photo Erin Sparks

While talking about the Action slate’s priorities should they prove victorious in the upcoming election, presidential candidate Khalil Haddad gets right to the point.

“The two most important issues are [reforming] university governance and the fight against tuition hikes,” he said while sitting down with The Link in the heavily-postered LB lobby, shortly after the conclusion of poster night.

He listed the exit of former administration VPs Michael Di Grappa and Kathy Assayag, as well as the behavior of the Board of Governors in the wake of the controversial dismissal of president Judith Woodsworth as causes for concern.

“I think the way the Board of Governors acted wasn’t transparent at all, and that tarnished the reputation of the university,” he said. “We think the university’s reputation is extremely important to students, because at the end of the day, we want to get a job.”

Among the ways to repair the fractured relationship between students and the Board, Haddad suggested a committee of students who will study the Board of Governors bylaws in order to come up with arguments to bring in front of them. He also urged the 16 governors who have stayed beyond the two terms of the three-year limit to step aside.

In regards to tuition hikes, Haddad acknowledged the importance of the issue to students, as seen by the large turnout at the Feb. 14 WHALE assembly and March 12 rally. He suggested that the Internet might be used even more extensively to mobilize the Concordia community.

“We’re thinking of creative ideas to engage students,” he said. “When you say protest, a lot of them feel alienated, they don’t know what it means and they get scared. Social media plays a very important role in the 21st century. Many of us are connected on Facebook and Twitter, so I think that’s the best way to go to get students together to engage them in a creative way.”

Responding to a question about the abrupt ending of a CSU meeting last week following a motion to go to closed session, he suggested that more financial transparency might help to avoid such situations in the future.

“We want to educate [councillors] and inform them on how the CSU works in terms of its funding and what are the different services,” he said. “I think by informing councillors, they’ll have a better idea, and won’t go to accusations before going through all the facts.”

Haddad also mentioned the controversy surrounding the proposed increase to the student centre fee levy that was defeated in a referendum. While he did not list a centre as a priority, he did say that would like to hold consultations with students to find out how they want the CSU to advocate for student space, whether that’s in a student centre or not.

“One of the main things we want to bring to students is to reclaim student space,” he continued. “There were a lot of clubs that belong to the CSU that lost their offices this past year. We want to make sure we find space for them. The mezzanine was a student space at the beginning. It was a place where students got to debate ideas beyond the classroom. We want to be able to have that space again.”