ASFA Restructuring Proposal Will Go To Referendum

Council Approves Referendum Question to Appear in March Election Ballots

ASFA Special Council Meeting, Feb. 18, 2016. Photo Josh Fischlin

The Arts and Science Federation of Associations approved a referendum question on Thursday night which will ask students in the upcoming March general elections whether they approve of a restructuring proposal.

If passed by Concordia Arts and Science students, the proposal will turn the federation into a “funding body” rather than a “big association.” The executive would consist of three positions rather than seven, member associations would be given more autonomy, and executives would be appointed rather than elected, among other changes.

The proposal was initially approved at a special council meeting on Jan. 28, after which it was sent to a lawyer.

“[They] just made sure that it was legal, made sure that we were following correct processes, and they just helped us formulate unbiased by-laws based on the proposals,” ASFA general coordinator Jenna Cocullo said.

The lawyer who ASFA consulted was Michael Simkin from Simkin Legal. In a document distributed to council, Simkin suggested that delaying the process and allowing for a “more consensual” proposal would be the “more prudent course of action.”

Putting the proposal to referendum was initially contentious at council. The first vote ended in a tie with four in favour, four against, and four abstentions.

Approximately a quarter of ASFA’s member associations held general assemblies in which the proposal going to referendum was approved. However, some members had concerns about the appointment process of the executives that was outlined in the proposal.

Council amended the motion to address this concern.

If the referendum passes, executive candidates will be presented to individual member associations at their respective general assemblies. Members who are present at the general assemblies will then mandate their council representative to appoint a specific candidate.

Executives will be appointed at a council-elect meeting in April, once councillors have been mandated by their membership on who to appoint.

“I have a lot of faith now in the future of ASFA, and giving member associations autonomy. I strongly urge every student to come out to vote, whether or not they agree with the proposal, because it’s important that we collectively decide the future of ASFA,” Cocullo said.

Quorum for the election will be four per cent—500 to 600 students, by Cocullo’s estimate. Ballots will be open from March 8 to 10.