CSU Council to Vote on Impeachment of General Coordinator March 1
Christopher Kalafatidis Faces Impeachment for Dereliction of Duty
Editor's Note: This article was the subject of a complaint filed with the Conseil de presse du Québec. The decision is published here.
A group of 10 Concordia Student Union councillors will present a motion to remove General Coordinator Christopher Kalafatidis at a special council meeting on March 1.
The councillors, Elizabeth Tasong, Hannah Jamet-Lange, Christiane Sakr, Naomi Barney Purdie, Esther Morand, Jarrad Haas, Maha Siddiqui, Leigh Kusaj, Victoria Pesce, and Lauren Perozek are presenting the motion on the grounds that Kalafatidis has failed to fulfil his duties.
The motion states he has actively prevented student representation on the Standing Committee on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence, and has failed to fulfil his duties as chair of the appointments committee in regards to the Judicial Board, Sexual Violence Accountability Committee, or the University Senate.
The councillors believe this has led to a lack of measures of accountability within the union.
In addition, they claim Kalafatidis has appointed positions without informing council or having it ratified. They say he also misrepresented past council decisions while actively ignoring mandates given to him by the council of representatives.
This has led the position of Sustainability Coordinator to remain vacant for over eight months. Kalafatidis was mandated to bring forward suitable candidates to fill the vacant position, but the position was never filled. The development of the Recovery and Wellness Centre has also been affected by this.
The motion notes that Kalafatidis has broken the CSU code of conduct, “using inappropriate, disrespectful and unprofessional language while dealing with a councillor,” though doesn’t precise to whom.
In documents obtained by The Link, Kalafatidis is quoted telling a fellow councillor in a group message “You are a total hypocrite. If you want to get things done, just take the candidate I sent.”
This was in response to the councillor attempting to get him to act in good faith, by bringing forward three candidates for the vacant Sustainability Coordinator—as was recommended by the Judicial Board—when Kalafitidis had only sent one.
They also say he has made false claims about reaching out to a student at large to the Appointments Committee, when he stated that he would reach out to a potential candidate to sit on the Sexual Violence Accountability Committee. This was not taken care of in a timely or professional matter, according to the documents obtained by The Link.
All the named offenses violate the CSU by-laws or code of conduct and are grounds for impeachment on the basis of dereliction of duty and violation of the by-laws and regulations. As such, councillors are seeking Kalafatidis’ removal from office.
In a statement released on Feb. 20, Kalafatidis said, “Over the past nine months, the Executive Team, while exercising due diligence and caution, have implemented the promises we have made to you, the students, while respecting the various checks and balances of our union including its bylaws and the elected Council of Representatives.”
Kalafatidis has called for support from the community at large, outlining some of the tasks the executive and his colleagues have taken on over the course of his mandate. These items include meetings with the administration working towards improved maintenance of the university’s restrooms, and the union’s work towards implementing online opt-outs.
“For those of you who think that your Student Union derelicted its duty over the course of my leadership, please know that I love working for the students and I hope this is shown by the work that I do for this union,” he said. “For those of you who supported our work since the beginning, be aware—I have no power over the Council of Representatives, and they have all the power over me. Executives, such as myself, have no vote in this body.”
While some of the accomplishments noted are accurate, Kalafatidis wrongfully took credit for amending university by-laws for leniency in academic requirements on Senate and the Board of Governors and permitting independent students to sit on Senate—amendments he had no hand in fighting for, said former general coordinator, Sophie Hough-Martin. These amendments were drafted by Hough-Martin, former executive Mikaela Clark-Gardner, and a number of other university community members, who sat on an Ad-Hoc Senate Committee on Student Eligibility Requirements. This committee was formed in October 2018.
“These amendments were passed in September 2019. But I want to be clear, Chris Kalafatidis did NOT amend those bylaws,” wrote Hough-Martin in a Facebook post on Feb. 21. “He was legally mandated to vote in favour of these amendments by the CSU Council (its board of directors), after we had fought for them to occur during our mandate. He did nothing except vote in favour of these amendments, but his retelling makes it sound like it was all thanks to him.”
The fall reading week commitment, which Kalafatidis also took credit for, was made in May 2019, predating his mandate. Student interest in the fall reading week was later confirmed in the 2019 CSU general elections, leading to its eventual implementation which could be as early as the Fall 2021 semester, according to Kalafatidis’ statement.
“For someone who left a student seat on the University Standing Committee on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence unoccupied for seven months to turn around and claim that he is an advocate for student representation in such a way is shameful,” said Hough-Martin.
This article has been updated to more accurately reflect the situation as it develops, and to clarify information regarding fall reading week.