All Things Must Pass

Bylaws, Fee Levies and Candidates Approved in Byelection

Graphic by Julia Wolfe

When the ballots were all tallied up a little past midnight Dec. 2, the new Concordia Student Union bylaws got a passing grade.

The bylaws weren’t the only thing that Concordia students took favourably to, as everything being voted on passed, including four new CSU councillors, fee levies for two campus broadcast outlets, and two symbolic votes regarding student representation at the school and tuition hikes.

However, with a 749 to 655 total in favour, the ratification of the new bylaws was by far the closest tally of all the questions.

“I think it’s difficult to inform students of all the small reasons behind some changes,” said CSU VP Outreach Morgan Pudwell of the results.

“I think that in the future, we’ll have to do an even better job of that. I don’t think it’s a sign necessarily that students aren’t in support of the bylaws, but there was perhaps more communication needed,” adding that there is discussion of coming up with an initiative to educate students on the bylaws.

Not everyone was pleased to see the bylaws pass. Tomer Shavit, a former CSU Councilor who had expressed concern over several parts of the changed rules, said he thought students were not informed on what they were voting for.

“It’s going to have huge repercussions for Concordia,” he said. “It seems like a lot of the stuff that was changed was for the sake of change.”

Another question that lowers the current $2.00 per credit Student Centre Fund fee levy to $1.50 and re-designates it the “Student Space, Accessible Education & Legal Contingency Fund” also passed by a margin of 1009 to 540.

Students voted overwhelmingly in favour of initiatives condemning the cut in representation for students on the Board of Governors, and confirming the CSU’s stance against tuition hikes.

“It’s good to see so much support for the current stance of the CSU [on the tuition issue],” said Pudwell.

“We were pretty sure there was that sort of support, but especially moving forward with other schools in terms of planning […] we just wanted to reaffirm the stance. As far as the Board of Governors goes, it’s good to show the Board that there’s actual support, and not just the few people who sit on the BoG.”

Despite all undergraduate students being eligible to vote for the initiatives regarding the bylaws, fee levies and affirmations for governance and tuition, fewer than 1,800 actually did so. Pudwell attributed this to byelections generally seeing a smaller turnout than general elections.

“It would be great if there were more,” said Pudwell, noting that the amount of students who voted was more than double that needed for quorum.

“The byelections very rarely have a very high turnout. There were only councillors running for independent students and [the John Molson School of Business] so there wasn’t a lot of reason for [other] faculties to come out except for the more general questions.”

The four new councillors, all of whom ran unopposed, are Eduardo Alves dos Anjos, Museb Abu-Thuraia and Yassine Chaabi, who will represent JMSB, and Omar Abdullahi, who will represent independent students.

Also on the ballot were fee levy increases for CUTV and CJLO, Concordia’s television and radio stations, both of which were successful.

“We’re super happy, obviously,” said CUTV station manager Laura Kneale, after CUTV saw their funding bumped from $0.18 per credit to $0.34.

“We are really grateful to Concordia students for voting yes, because they’re supporting something that is really important to the Concordia community, but also to independent media’s future.”

Kneale said that while there is a general plan for how CUTV intends to spend the money—they campaigned on a promise to broadcast four hours a week on cable television, possibly as soon as January 2012—there would be no concrete plans until early in the new year.

CJLO program director Brian Joseph echoed Kneale’s sentiments. The vote for the radio station’s fee levy increase from $0.25 to $0.34 went through with 956 voting yes and 670 voting no.
The station had run for the same increase last year but were denied, a result that Joseph has attributed to campaign materials not being made available at polling stations.

“We’re ecstatic,” he said. “I think the main thing we were saying last year was that it didn’t come to the fact that we got voted no, but that it was so close, and that if students were truly informed, they would have voted yes.”
Joseph said he didn’t want to guess when the FM signal would be up and running, citing delays from when the station launched its AM signal, but said he personally hoped to see the new signal up in two years.

“We’re working on the budget right now. We’re going to start looking at [engineering surveys] to look at different buildings, the possibility of where the antenna can go,” he said.

“It’s a different type of antenna depending on the different type of building we end up on. We also have to have our consultant work with us so we can apply to the CRTC for a low-power signal [license].”