CSU Board of Governors Representative to be Student Life Coordinator

Will Advocate for Chosen Name on Diplomas

  • The Concordia Student Union’s Board of Governors representative has traditionally been the general coordinator, or what was formerly known as the president. This year, student life coordinator Leyla Sutherland finds herself representing the students on Concordia’s highest decision making body. Photo Brian Lapuz

The Concordia Student Union’s Board of Governors representative has traditionally been the general coordinator, or what was formerly known as the president. This year, student life coordinator Leyla Sutherland finds herself representing the students on Concordia’s highest decision making body.

The CSU executive team met in early this September to discuss the two applicants: CSU General Coordinator, Omar Riaz, and Sutherland. After a long deliberation, the decision to appoint Sutherland was made.

“We came from two different slates, so there is that loyalty to our [slates], so it was contentious,” said Veronica Rydzewski, the Internal Affairs Coordinator at the CSU. This is the first time two slates have ever been elected in the history of the CSU.

In May, Academic and Advocacy Coordinator, Asma Mushtaq, had originally been appointed as the CSU’s Board of Governors representative, but had to resign due to personal reasons.

According to former general coordinator, Lucinda Marshall-Kiparissis, there is no policy regarding CSU representation on Concordia’s Board of Governors. It is just a continuation from when the CSU was a hierarchical executive and it was assumed that the president represented the CSU to the administration.

Riaz said that he shouldn’t automatically be on the Board of Governors just because it’s worked like that in the past.

“[The hierarchical structure] has proven not to be the best way for our organization to operate and, hence changing from vice-presidents, [and] president to coordinators,” Riaz said. “The team thought that [Sutherland] would be a good representative for the CSU on the Board [of Governors], and hence she was elected.”

Riaz added that even though he applied for the position, he’s happy with the decision the CSU executive team made.

Sutherland said that the non-hierarchical structure allows the CSU to put people in roles that they’re most suited for.

“In this case, I think that there are plenty of projects that we’re each taking on and this happens to be what I felt suited for, and the executive agrees,” she added.

As a Board representative, Sutherland wants to advocate for more student representation on Board of Governors, and the ability to choose which name a graduate would like to see on their diplomas for graduation.

“I’d like to encourage and push for the ability for people to use their chosen name, instead of their legal name on their diploma when they graduate,” she said.

Also unusual this year, the former general coordinator is not the alternate representative. Last year, Terry Wilkings, the general coordinator of the 2015-2016 academic year served as the alternate representative. This year Marshall-Kiparissis was no longer an undergraduate student, and was unable to serve.

Robert Young, current Arts and Science Federation of Associations councillor, and former CSU councillor was appointed through the CSU’s appointment committee.

To learn more about Concordia’s Board of Governors, read our primer about who sits on the Board and the powers they hold

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