CSU to Spend up to $160k on Space Study

The Faubourg deal may be dead, but the money lives on.

When the Concordia Student Union council voted down a $54 million deal that would have the CSU collaborating with the university to construct a student centre in the Faubourg Ste-Catherine building, they also voted to transfer control over the already-raised $8.1 million from the university to Scotiabank.

The vote authorized a study on student space using one year’s worth of interest earned from that money.

“The way it was phrased was that we now have about $160,000 at our disposal to do research on student space,” said CSU VP Finance Jordan Lindsay, citing an estimated 2.39 per cent interest rate.

Lindsay said the university recently approved the CSU’s request to operate the fund from their own bank account and that they are meeting with their banker on Oct. 11 to discuss investment options.

In the past, interest on the acquired fee levy was usually dumped into the main pot, despite the CSU having no official policy on how the interest was to be used.

As was mandated by council at the Sept. 27 vote, some of the interest from this year will be used to do research on student space needs now that the Faubourg is no longer an option.

Despite not knowing how exactly the research will be conducted, Lindsay said that having a feel for what students want is not enough and that the needs of Concordia students have likely changed since 2003, when the levy was established to go towards paying for a student centre.

“It seems like an intuitive idea that the students would want more space to [be controlled by] students, but maybe we’ve met the demand at the current place,” he said.

According to Lindsay, the amount of money allocated for the study is way more than necessary, and whatever is not used towards research will be dropped back into the main pile.

“We did the math and you could give almost every student $4.70 to take the survey,” he said.

“The money we don’t spend would obviously just go back into that pot, and just become part of the amount of money that’s sitting for this student space fund—it will go where that $210,000 went,” he said, citing the amount of interest earned in the past 16 months, as the student centre money was invested in a Guaranteed Investment Certificat—a low-risk, low-return form of investment.

To avoid going through the university’s approval, the CSU is holding off on the research campaign until they have the funds completely in their account, but Lindsay said it may start as soon as next Tuesday.