CSU to Begin Campaigning Toward Education Summit
Online Process Will Allow Student Ideas to Be Heard
With about a month left before the long-awaited provincial summit on education takes place in Quebec, the Concordia Student Union is making a move.
Seeking student input, the CSU is launching a new campaign that aims to create a multi-purpose document to establish a set of priorities, policies and propositions to bring to the Fédération étudiante universitaire de Québec, the student federation that will represent the union at the summit in February.
The CSU postered around campus advertising for student involvement with the summit and has been working with the FEUQ internally, but is now hoping to take a more affirmative role.
“There’s been a buzz about all of this on campus for a while,” said CSU VP External Simon-Pierre Lauzon, who is spearheading the campaign and who represents the CSU at the FEUQ. “This campaign is just the crunch time—the really serious period where it’s going to be more visible than in the past.”
According to Lauzon, the FEUQ has been meeting to formulate propositions to bring to its meetings with the government based on its own research and the core positions that the FEUQ has held for some time.
Individual members and other universities have always been able to bring their own motions to the FEUQ to have them voted on and brought to the table, but Lauzon says the CSU hasn’t been doing this.
“We don’t have any documents to speak of in terms of very specific academic issues,” he said. “We had a mandate to be against the tuition increase last year and we’ve been pushing that at the FEUQ. […] But we’ve never had a document or policy booklet to bring to the FEUQ to lobby them to represent our point of view.”
To this end, the document or policy book that the CSU hopes to create has two main purposes.
The first is to fulfill the consultation process with the government at the summit by way of guidelines brought to the FEUQ, and to make sure the opinions of Concordia students are represented at that level.
The second aim is more self-serving.
“The second purpose is to have a medium- to long-term document to work with at the CSU level—not only with the FEUQ, but with Senate and other academic bodies at Concordia,” said Lauzon. “It’s basically a set of priorities for future VP Academics and senators to base themselves on and work with.”
While Lauzon and a crew of volunteers are working to compile specific priorities for the document, one of the main points of this campaign will be to get the student body involved in the process.
“The idea of adding new things from the student perspective is to keep the door open for anyone to come in with their own propositions and add it to the document,” said Lauzon. “Then we’ll let the people decide if they want that to be the priority of the CSU.”
Students who wish to add positions to the document can send their ideas, backed by three research articles, to Lauzon by email, where they will be reviewed and added to a website to be voted on.
All of this needs to be completed in time for the FEUQ congress being held between Feb. 6 and Feb. 8.
Lauzon has decided that an online survey is the best way to allow students to vote on the propositions that will be added to the finalized document.
Over the next few days a website will be created to facilitate the entire process and will include student-proposed positions, comment sections and a survey that will allow students to vote on which points should be included in the final document.
The CSU will be hiring a company to create the website from scratch. They’ll also be using Survey Monkey, a company that provides survey elements to the website.
The funding for this project will come from the CSU’s campaigns budget line. The CSU will also hold an informational general assembly, or a town hall meeting, on Jan. 24, where students can debate and add ideas or positions to be considered for the final document.
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