Appointment Process for Task Force on Sexual Misconduct is Illegal, Says CSU

University Invites Students to Apply, in Violation of Accreditation Act

  • The Concordia Student Union is contesting the university’s method of appointing students to the newly created Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence. File Photo Brian Lapuz

The Concordia Student Union is contesting the university’s method of appointing students to the newly created Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence, saying that it is illegal.

Students were invited to apply to be student representatives on the task force via email on Thursday, but that goes against the Act Respecting the Accreditation and Financing of Student Associations, explained CSU Student Life Coordinator Leyla Sutherland.

The law, also referred to as the Accreditation Act, says that only a student association may appoint students to “sit or participate as student representatives on various councils, committees or other bodies in the institution.”

“According to the Accreditation Act, the only people who can do this is [sic] the CSU,” Sutherland explained. “So there’s definitely no point at which the university would be legally tasked with appointing students to represent students.”

This isn’t the first time Concordia’s processes for appointing students has been questioned or contested, Sutherland continued. Twenty-two students received letters of reprimand—the lowest form of discipline—for their participation in anti-austerity protests during the spring of 2015. As a result, those students became ineligible to serve on the university’s two highest decision-making bodies, Senate and the Board of Governors.

Preventing those students from doing so was also in violation of the CSU’s legal right to appoint students to university bodies, the union determined at the time.

Beyond the legalities, Sutherland said that it’s inappropriate and problematic for the university to select which students sit on the task force.

“In what way is it appropriate for the university to appoint students to a task force that’s supposed to be critically looking at the university and its ways of handling these things if students are just submitting their name and then the university is picking them,” she continued.

Sutherland explained that they contacted the university’s legal counsel Friday afternoon, but were told that they would only hear back Monday evening.

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