CSU Shifts Gears

Responding to a petition that calls for the Concordia Student Union to help “rebuild Concordia’s student movement,” the CSU will hold an Information General Meeting on Jan. 20.

Students, faculty, staff and university administration are encouraged to submit written proposals to the CSU during the IGM to give the union an idea of how they should better represent Concordia’s student body.

“I was frustrated with the student movement and the CSU in particular,” said graduate student Matthew Brett, who drafted and circulated the petition in late November. Brett is also a member of The Link’s board of directors.

“There was just a real level of inaction at Concordia.”

Brett said he was discouraged to see few Concordia students take to the streets and protest on April 1 after the Charest government announced its controversial budget, which denied new funding for public services and called for university tuition increases as of 2012.

“There was no student union out there that day,” he said. “Just [former CSU Presidents] Amine Dabchy and Prince Ralph Osei trying to protect their titles. That’s a complete failure for a union trying to organize.”

After receiving Brett’s petition, the CSU introduced the Momentum Shift Project to Council on Dec. 8, which aims to fight tuition increases and “divest” control of the CSU to Concordia students.

To accomplish these goals, the CSU proposed the creation of a standing mobilization committee comprised of the university’s student activists. The group would help mobilize students against tuition increases and “fight for […] a better education system and the amelioration of student life.”
Council approved the project at its Dec. 8 meeting.

“The [petition] was a wake up for the executive.” said CSU President Heather Lucas.

The implementation of the project came on the heels of the current CSU’s first major political defeat. During a November byelection, students came out in near record numbers to vote against the CSU’s proposed student union building fee levy. The fee levies would have cost students $13.50 per three credit class by the summer of 2012.

For now, Brett remains “cautiously optimistic” about the Momentum Shift Project.

“The petition had its desired effect,” he said. “[The CSU] has followed up on this and I’m really looking forward to the meeting.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 17, published January 4, 2011.