CSU sustainability coordinator Manuela Simo resigns due to toxic atmosphere

‘Many students from racialized backgrounds do not want to go work within the CSU because of the prejudice that they might face’

  • Sustainability coordinator Manuela Simo has resigned from the CSU, citing toxic work environment for members of the BIPOC community. File Photo Ireland Compton

General coordinator Isaiah Joyner announced sustainability coordinator Manuela Simo’s resignation during the Nov. 11 Concordia Student Union regular council meeting.

Simo confirmed her resignation, stating the work environment was toxic to members of the BIPOC community. 

“As a Black woman, it is hard to see different student representatives not fighting for minority issues. You can see some councillors are ignorant when it comes to racialized topics,” Simo told The Link.

“On numerous occasions, I have witnessed microaggressions committed by councillors during meetings,” she said. “For instance, when it comes to motions created by minorities geared toward helping members of the BIPOC community—these motions are always questioned.” 

Simo said councillors usually find a problem with the wording, which rarely affects the substance of the motions. She claims this adds to a hostile environment for BIPOC individuals in the CSU.

“It has been hard for minorities to advocate for things to help their communities and be shot down,” she said.

Simo cited the denial of CSU funding to Kahnawake-based newspaper The Eastern Door by the external committee as an example.

“People who hold prejudicial values should not represent undergraduate students, since our community consists of thousands of students worldwide.” —Manuela Simo

“It was concluded the funds would not benefit students,” Simo said. “I find this utterly disappointing and disrespectful to the Indigenous community. The grant was meant to help preserve their language within their community.”

Simo also mentioned more general situations that arose during meetings with council.

“Diversity motions brought by People of Colour on council have always been nitpicked with a fine-toothed comb, particularly about Black issues,” she said. 

Simo thinks students need to hold councillors accountable for their actions when handling racialized issues.

“It’s just so sad to see that the causes we should be fighting for are not being fought for at all.”

Simo said elected representatives need to represent all undergraduate students, including members of minority groups. 

“People who hold prejudicial values should not represent undergraduate students, since our community consists of thousands of students worldwide,” Simo said. 

The prejudice, she said, creates an uncomfortable environment for prospective CSU executives and councillors. 

“Many students from racialized backgrounds do not want to go work within the CSU because of the prejudice that they might face,” she said.

Due to the toxicity of the environment at CSU, Simo has decided to devote her time to the Black Perspectives Office instead.

“It’s an environment that will allow me to complete more work for the Black community.”

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