CSU Committees Drastically Understaffed

Filling Positions Causes Frustration at Concordia Student Union’s First Council Meeting

Council members speak to their colleagues via Zoom in a conference room. Photo Ivan de Jacquelin

The Concordia Student Union held its first regular council meeting of the school year on Sept. 21. This was the union’s first partially in-person meeting since 2020.

The hybrid format allowed five out of the seven executives to meet in a conference room on the sixth floor of the Hall building. Finance Coordinator Meryem Benallal and newly elected General Coordinator Fawaz Halloum joined via Zoom. Only one councillor joined the other executives in person.

Committee Appointments

Atop the union’s meeting schedule was the filling of about a dozen committees. As executives begged councillors to commit one or two hours a month by joining any committee, silence filled the room.

The lack of councillors on the policy committee worried Academic and Advocacy Coordinator Asli Isaaq the most. “We literally cannot function without a full policy committee. It’s the end all be all of committees. We desperately need one more person,”she begged councillors.

The policy committee’s duty is to review and approve changes to any of the other committees operated by the CSU. Only one councillor signed on, leaving the fundamental body understaffed.

The following committees are currently understaffed: Clubs and Spaces, BIPOC, Appointments Fee-Levy Review, Finance, Loyola, Student Life, Sponsorship, Senate and Academic Caucus, Policy, and the Student Centre Steering Committee.

Student Life Coordinator Harley Martin urged councillors to join the student life committee, which he chairs. “I feel bad telling students we can’t open the funding available to us. There’s $30,000 available here, but we need people,” he said. Only one councillor signed on.

The only committees filled were the Sustainability and Mental Health, a cause for concern to many executives.

Funding for Student Strikes

Considering the thousands of Concordia students heading on strike for a fall reading week from Oct. 3 to Oct. 7, the CSU decided to take action. External Affairs and Mobilization Coordinator Julianna Smith presented a motion that would help the strikers.

Smith’s motion would open the CSU’s Student Space, Accessible Education, and Legal Contingency Fund to student associations going on strike in October. 

“There are several student associations who voted to go on strike... many of them are facing budget cuts,” she said. “Since the SSAELC fund was established for this, we would be putting money back in students’ pockets and support their political actions.”

Smith confirmed the money will go directly to the striking associations for events like workshops or other forms of strike aid. “The way the CSU works is with reimbursements, so student associations should hold onto their receipts,” she said. The reimbursement period will take place around the end of October.

Bursaries and Budgeting

A motion transforming the CSU’s budget surplus into bursaries was also passed. Because the union saw a surplus of $3,660 in its bursary fund in the last fiscal year, that money will be added to the 2022-2023 operational budget for bursaries to students.

In addition, the union will once again be asking students for a fee levy increase to their operations budget during the CSU’s fall by-elections. Students entering the voting booth in November will be voting on an increase of $0.25 per credit. 

During the general election in March 2022, students rejected a similar proposal, with 55 per cent voting down a CSU budget increase. Executives hope the fall by-election will yield different results.

Internal Affairs Coordinator

As newly elected General Coordinator Fawaz Halloum gets acclimated to his role, he is still covering the role of Internal Affairs Coordinator. The CSU held interviews with potential candidates during the meeting. Temkhuleko Mthethwa will most likely be the chosen candidate, sources within the union told The Link.