CSU Picks Up 12 Councillors in Byelections

Food Services Questions Pass Overwhelmingly

After losing seven councillors in the span of three months, the Concordia Student Union’s once dwindling council has 12 new faces—including two directly connected to the referendum question receiving the most votes during last week’s byelections.

After losing seven councillors in the span of three months, the Concordia Student Union’s once dwindling council has 12 new faces—including two directly connected to the referendum question receiving the most votes during last week’s byelections.

CFC members and newly elected arts and science councillors Gabriel Velasco and Charles Bourassa received the most votes of all candidates running across all faculties with 170 and 149 votes respectively.

Justin Caruso and Patricia Martone were also voted in.

“I’m super excited to be elected as a CSU councillor and get in motion my plan to work with the students who created a group on Facebook to fix the blue zones in the library,” said Bourassa, who was one of three candidates who stayed until the end of the vote count late on Thursday night.

Bourassa is one of the 480 members of the Facebook group “Concordia Students for Silent Blue Zones,” a reference to the individual study spaces labelled “blue zones,” in Concordia’s libraries where students are supposed to be silent.

Bourassa’s CFC cohort, Velasco, was also on-hand for the ballot counting and tentative results.

“I’m really happy students decided to have a voice in the big decisions being made […] their expression of [being] content with the budget we’re making is really great,” said Velasco in reference to the passing of the CFC’s fee-levy request.

As one of the elected councillors, Velasco says he’ll work towards “having a more open, accessible decision-making process.”

Turning to JMSB students, Commerce and Administration Students’ Association Board Chair Maylen Cytryn took the top draw with 79 votes, while Michael Richardson, Virginia Law, Kabir Bindra and Ahmed Mustafa were also elected to council.

Alaa Ajam, Kyle Arseneau and Ahmad Choukair—the only Engineering and Computer Science candidates in the running—were all voted in.

Voter turnout was down roughly 50 per cent from the general elections in March, but CSU Chief Electoral Officer Andre-Marcel Baril says this year’s byelection saw a 75 per cent increase in voter participation over last year, when council only made the quorum of 450 by roughly a dozen votes.

“I think overall it was a success—a relative success,” Baril said, adding that despite a slightly lower than expected turnout among John Molson School of Business students, there were no surprises.

The vote count also went incredibly fast according to Baril, with ballots from all 818 total voters being counted and re-boxed for storage by midnight on Nov. 21 after polls closed at 8 p.m.

Both food services questions passed with overwhelming support; the Concordia Food Coalition’s request for an eight cents-per-credit fee levy from undergraduates passed by a significant margin, with 605 “yes” votes, amounting to roughly 75 per cent support.

The CSU has also been mandated to help create a new student co-operative café in the space currently occupied by the Java U in the Hall Building, with 80 per cent of students voting in favour of the initiative.

While both questions passed with largely unilateral support, the CFC and Java U questions’ support levels were at least 10 per cent lower than for a food services referendum question posed to students in the general elections, which originally propelled the union to support sustainable, student-run eating options on campus.

All other referendum questions also passed.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story stated 11 councillors were elected. Twelve councillors were elected. The Link regrets the error.

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