An Almost One-Sided Debate

Low Turn Out for Student Union Debates

Although all but a single executive position is uncontested in this year’s Concordia Student Union elections, campaigning continued this week with two debates between candidates.

The first, held on Loyola campus on March 19, saw only one student-at-large in attendance, who left shortly after the candidates’ opening statements.

Wednesday’s debate held outside of the CSU offices on the seventh floor of Concordia’s Hall Building saw a slightly bigger audience, but still with only around eight students in attendance.

The lack of audience emphasized feelings among multiple candidates that a perceived inefficiency from this year’s council is damaging the union’s reputation with students.

VP Academic and Advocacy candidate Gene Morrow said this lack of faith in the union has been most notable in the feedback he’s received from students while campaigning.

“The general response was, ‘why, what is wrong with you?’” said Morrow. “Most people see the institution as a never-ending clusterfuck.”

Even with meagre attendance, candidates were still able to flesh out their prospective plans for the upcoming academic year.

A primary concern for the prospective executive once they take office will be to continue the process of opening the Hive as a café, potentially as early as September, according to presidential candidate for the unopposed CSYou team, Melissa Kate Wheeler.

She says she’s hoping to get the café running by the start of the fall semester with a limited menu of coffee and a few food items. From there she says they are hoping to expand and be able to offer more options to students as the year goes on.

“Do we think that we will be able to completely turn the reputation of the CSU around in one year amongst all students at Concordia? Probably not. But we can start.”
—Melissa Kate Wheeler, CSYou Presidential Candidate.

Candidates for VP Finance, the only contested executive position, also spoke of their intentions for campus bar Reggie’s, which is owned and operated by CUSAcorp, the for-profit arm of the CSU.

CSYou candidate Scott Carr says he hopes to elongate term limits for positions on the board of directors at CUSAcorp to more than one year, and bring in more business and marketing experts from around Concordia to act as board members.

Independent VP Finance candidate Pierre Tardivo Martin wants to have overlapping term limits between board members but also says he wants to reach out to more clubs and student associations to host events.

Though most of her team is running unchallenged for their executive seats, Wheeler maintains that even going into the elections, keeping communication flowing with students is important to repairing the union’s image.

“I think that next year is is going to be an important year,” said Wheeler.

“If we don’t begin to change things next year then the CSU will be facing turmoil the following year.”

CSYou is also looking into starting a monthly CSU newsletter to be distributed around campus in the hopes of encouraging student dialogue and getting more undergraduates involved and aware of upcoming CSU projects.

“Do we think that we will be able to completely turn the reputation of the CSU around in one year amongst all students at Concordia?” said Wheeler. “Probably not. But we can start.”

An earlier version of this article indicated VP Finance candidate Scott Carr hoped to instill two-year terms at minimum to sit on the CUSAcorp board of directors. The article has been updated to indicate Carr intends to extend term lengths for board members but by an unknown amount. The Link regrets the error.