CASA Votes Overwhelmingly for Accreditation

Faculty Association Seeks to Ensure Continued Access to Student Member List

The Commerce and Administration Student Association is on its way to being accredited following an overwhelming show of support at the ballot box over the last two weeks.

Between Jan. 20 and Jan. 30, about 97 per cent of John Molson business students who voted did so in favour of accrediting the faculty association with the provincial government, with 2,373 students taking part in the vote, according to CASA VP Academic Loïc Sanscartier.

That amounts to just under 40 per cent of all JMSB undergrads. At least 25 per cent voter turnout is needed for the vote to be recognized by the government.

“It’s great to get such a positive response, it shows that [students] know what we’re doing as a student association and want us to continue what we’re doing,” said CASA President John-Michael Minon.

With the vote, CASA is set to become the second faculty association granted status in the past two years. The Engineering and Computer Science Association received its accreditation in 2013 after it had previously lapsed.

According to Minon and Sanscartier, who spearheaded the initiative, CASA sought accredited status as a precaution to ensure continued access to its student member list, which is obtained from the Dean of Students.

Sanscartier added that being accredited also enables the association to continue renting out space for meetings and events.

Although it legally does not have to, the university currently provides these resources to CASA and other non-accredited faculty associations. According to Sanscartier, accredited associations automatically “have the right to them by law.”

“In that sense it is [preventative] policy,” he said.

“In case anything happens in the future, in case the school decides to change its policy towards students associations—which you don’t want to be the case, but you never know—we have this accreditation to ensure we are continuing to work for JMSB students.”

This is not the first time CASA has received accreditation. It first sought independence from the Concordia University Student Association—the predecessor to the current Concordia Student Union—in the late 1980s.

Speaking to The Link at the time, 1987-1988 CASA President Derrick Ajmo indicated the public perception of CUSA as a radical liberal organization was “hampering [CASA’s] relationships outside the school.”

In gaining accreditation status, Ajmo asserted it would be easier for CASA to present a “conservative image associated with a good business school.”

Despite pushback from CUSA, CASA was accredited in 1989, losing its status in the early 2000s following restructuring.

When the CSU was formed out of the ashes of CUSA, it also sought accreditation multiple times throughout the 1990s.

CASA and the ECA both opposed the CSU’s accreditation efforts in 1996, 1999 and 2000, but the undergraduate association finally voted in favour of accreditation in October 2000.

According to Sanscartier, CASA’s latest bid for accreditation is in no way seeking to usurp any authority or powers from the CSU.

Multiple CSU executives and councillors also lent their support to CASA’s accreditation campaign.

The results of the vote are now being prepared and sent to the provincial government to be recognized, according to Minon.

However, when the vote will actually be recognized remains unclear, he added, but from the response he has received from students the initiative is seen as worthwhile regardless.

“It’s definitely super important to have as a faculty association,” Minon said. “It’s really important that we have the students’ voice being heard.”