CSU By-Elections 2017: Council Candidates

Your Guide to the Concordia Student Union By-Elections, From Nov. 28 to Nov. 30

Polling takes place from Monday to Wednesday. File Photo Brian Lapuz

The Concordia Student Union’s 2017 by-elections are here.

From Tuesday to Thursday, Concordia’s 35,000 undergraduate students will be asked to vote on the following candidates for council. Polling stations will be set up on both the downtown and Loyola campuses, with some in the Hall, EV, LB, VA and MB buildings, and the SP, CJ, and Vanier library buildings, respectively. Quorum for the election is 450 votes.

Here are the councillors you’ll find on the ballot.

Councillor Candidates

Arts and Science

There are four seats open and seven candidates.

Mustafa Bokesmati (Arts and Sciences)

Mustafa Bokesmati currently sits on the CSU’s external committee as a student at large, and has served other student groups at Concordia, such as Amnesty International, and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights. He also represents the Political Science Student Association on ASFA’s council.

“I believe that my keen interest in student politics and my previous experience within our student body are assets to the council,” Bokesmati said. “I will make sure to voice the needs of the students and defend their interests to ensure that our union is as transparent as possible.”

If elected, Bokesmati said that he likes the CSU’s campaign against unpaid internships, as many students, especially in the arts and sciences, are forced to work without any pay.

He added that he would also like to support the CSU’s push against Bill 62.

Bokesmati previously ran to be the External Affairs and Mobilization Coordinator for the CSU during the general elections in March 2017, but lost to Ahmed Badr.

Sophie Hough-Martin (Arts and Sciences)

Sophie Hough-Martin posed with a cat for her campaign poster. Now that photo has been seen throughout campus in the last couple weeks.

“I get a lot of compliments when people recognize me in the Hall Building,” she said.

Hough-Martin is currently president of the campus sorority chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon. They’ve adapted their by-laws to be non-binary and gender-neutral friendly—a source of pride for Hough-Martin.

Now, she’s eyeing a CSU council seat to bring accountability, fight for social justice causes and to improve student spaces, notably the G-Lounge.

“Running for council is just another way that I can participate rather than just observing,” she said.

Hough-Martin’s been involved in student life and politics since 2014, first as chair of the Students of History at Concordia, while sitting on ASFA’s internal and administrative committee. She was also the finance coordinator and administrative coordinator for SHAC in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Alexis Searcy (Arts and Sciences)

Alexis Searcy has been involved with many of Concordia’s advocacy groups such as Migrant Justice, Food Against Fascism, and Queer Under the Covers.

Searcy wants the CSU to have a strong stance on anti-transphobia, and build a program that caters to the needs of trans students on campus.

“That’s still a really ignored part of our student body,” Searcy said.

Searcy is also hoping that the anti-racism referendum question passes as well, adding that there should be an action plan to dismantle the racism that exists in the university.

“I’m really committed to the issues that I forward [such as] resources, popular education, [and] social justice,” Searcy said.

Jonathan Roy (Arts and Sciences)

Jonathan Roy was just elected to be ASFA’s new president, but now wants to bring his platform at a school-wide level. Before being elected, he was the vice president of of internal affairs for the Concordia Classics Student Association.

He wants to make sure that there is a level of transparency with the CSU because he believes that there’s some problematic stuff happening.

Roy added that he will also ensure that the interests of all students are represented.

“I’ve done very well over the last few years of representing students, and I do this for them and not for myself,” Roy said. “If students vote for me, they know that I got their back and I’m going to do my best to empower them.”

Vivi To (Arts and Sciences)
To was contacted for a comment, but did not respond by press time.

Gabriel Guppy (Arts and Sciences)

In his first year of Concordia’s School of Community and Public Affairs, and Political Science, Gabriel Guppy would like to take his political experience from the Vanier College Student Association to the CSU.

At Vanier, he had been the Political Affairs Coordinator and had started Vanier’s Model United Nations. Earlier this semester, he became the Vice President of Special Project for Concordia’s Model UN.

Guppy has always had an interest in student politics. Ojibwe from a Northern Anishnaabe nation on his mother’s side, he was raised to believe in the importance of having one’s voice heard and “making sure that you’re properly represented democratically.”

“I’ve been pretty interested in social engagement, and one of the things I’ve noticed is that the CSU has multiple campaigns in that,” Guppy said. “I always think that’s good to find those causes at the grassroots and reach out to students.”

If elected, he hopes to find ways to connect Arts and Science students with future employers, and to advocate for CSU to give students the option of online voting.

“I think that it’s always good to have a variety of different outlooks,” Guppy said. “[CSU is] a diverse group, but I always think that there’s room for other types of opinions, so if you vote for me I think that what you’re going to be able to get is someone who’s engaged professionally and is dedicated to the students in an educational capacity as well.”

Robert Young (Arts and Sciences)

Robert Young was an Arts and Science Councillor last year, but had initially decided not to run again because he felt it wouldn’t fit into his schedule. Now realizing that not to be the case, he hopes to bring his experience from last year to this year’s council.

“I really like a lot of people that are running for council this year, and I think that particularly given the general turbulence of the semester so far it would be fruitful to be in the room and helping out,” he said.

Young stressed that he is not running to push his own agenda. Instead, he wished to be on council so that he can help the mixed-slate executive find compromise, and help to resolve some conflict. He explained that he’s had experience with this in his nearly three years on ASFA.

Young is in his sixth year studying Political Science and Communications, and is currently a councillor on ASFA. He is also the Alternate Undergraduate Representative for Concordia’s Board of Governors.

“I bring a substantial degree of experience, I bring a very good attitude, I tend to be able to get on well enough with just about everyone to be able to reach agreements in a room, I have quite a bit of experience specifically scrutinizing the decisions and actions taken by others, and […] I would hope that I brought generally positive contributions to most of the places where I’ve served on board,” he said.

John Molson School of Business

There are four seats open and four candidates.

Marco Rossi (John Molson School of Business)

If elected, Rossi hopes to bring the concerns of JMSB students to the CSU.

The finance and accounting student explained that he was concerned by the lack of involvement on the part of JMSB students, with only two of the six seats designated for the business students on council filled.

“I want to try to bridge the gap [between the CSU and JMSB],” Rossi said.

For example, he said that JMSB students with CSU clubs have expressed frustration with the way that their finances were handled—something he hopes to improve if elected. “That’s where my strengths lie,” he explained.

He also feels that his current experience of sitting on JMSB’s faculty council and acting as the Vice-President of Academic Affairs of the John Molson Accounting Society would make him a strong candidate.

“I get to see a lot of the [academic] perspective,” he said. “And I think I could bring that to the table.”

Kathy Du (John Molson School of Business)
Du was contacted for a comment, but did not respond by press time.

Mohammed Hafiz (John Molson School of Business)
Mohammad Hafiz is a third year accounting student and is currently the president of the John Molson Accounting Society. He also sits on Commerce and Administration Student Association’s board of directors.

Hafiz said that he wants to bridge the perceived gap between business students and the rest of Concordia’s students.

Since he served as a tutor, president of JMAS, and has been involved in faculty council, Hafiz said that he’s aware of what students need and want.

“It makes me a really good candidate to represent people’s interests because I’ve been involved,” Hafiz said. “That puts me in a really good position to aptly represent [and] voice [student] opinions on council.”

Daniel Abrams (John Molson School of Business)
Abrams was contacted for a comment, but did not respond by press time.

Fine Arts

There is one seat open and one candidate.

Jarrad Haas (Fine Arts)

Having graduated from an Ottawa high school and now studying in the Acting for the Theatre Program, Jarrad Haas is looking to bring a fresh new outlook to council.

Serving as a grade representative on student council from grades 9 to 12, Haas aims to give a voice to younger students, and to all fine arts students.

“I plan to be very much listening to the students. […] My plans mostly involve making sure the students are able to have the best experience here,” he said.

He is particularly interested in the CSU’s campaign against unpaid internships.

“Sometimes there are people that think just the exposure is good, but it does take time, it does take effort so I think to have the ability to get paid for their work means a lot to those students,” he said.

He added that he is ready for the job.

“I bring new fresh ideas and I’m the voice of the students, so a vote for me is a vote for all of Concordia. […] If they’re willing to vote for me then I’m willing to step up.”