Disproportionate Senate

Students Complain CSU Appointments Don’t Rep JMSB

The lack of John Molson School of Business students sitting on Concordia’s Senate has sparked at least half a dozen students to email identical denouncements to both the chairperson and president of the Concordia Student Union over the weekend.

The letters, six of which were also sent to the editorial staff of The Link, were partial, if not whole, carbon copies, each citing article 2.1 of the CSU bylaws which mandates each faculty to be represented “as required.”

“There appears to be a discrepancy between our standing regulations and the university Senate bylaws,” said CSU President Schubert Laforest.

Article 55 (subarticle P) of Senate bylaws requires that, of its 55 voting members, 12 must be appointed by the CSU—with each faculty represented. If no candidates are available from certain faculties, the CSU can nominate students from other faculties to fill the gaps.

According to the letters, without the representation of each faculty, the CSU cannot fulfill its mandate. “I also don’t see how the CSU can claim to be a representative of all undergraduate students, when clearly the JMSB population is being neglected on Senate,” read the emails.

Though predominantly JMSB students, none of the petitioning students were affiliated with the Commerce and Administration Student Association, according to CASA President Daniel Shakibaian.

The first email was received mid-afternoon on Thursday, addressed from Todd Lipstein. Not affiliated with any controlling body, Lipstein views himself as “more a concerned student with how the CSU has been treating JMSB students.”

Lipstein said the original letter was written by a friend who did not wish to be named. Documents obtained by The Link identify the original author as Melissa Lemieux, a former Senate applicant.

In an email marked confidential—which included the original letter and instructions for its release—Lemieux said she was not motivated by losing the Senate seat but because “[she] was promised that someone from JMSB would be appointed.”

Further, as an employee of the CSU, she said was unable to participate directly. According to her LinkedIn profile, Lemieux works as an assistant for the CSU Legal Information Clinic.

Lemieux was not available for comment, but according to Lipstein, the goals of the campaign are clear.

“We hope to raise awareness of this issue among the CSU in general and also specifically among JMSB students,” he said.

“We also hope that at least one of the [remaining Senate seats] will go to a JMSB student.”

However, over the past two Wednesdays, in meetings stretching well past midnight (with online commentary, using the #csumtg hashtag, trending on Twitter’s Montreal topics) all seven empty Senate seats were appointed by CSU councillors, though none of the appointees were from JMSB.

Solutions will be discussed at the special council meeting this week, pledged CSU Chairperson Jean-François Ouellet, but according to Shakibaian the answer is simple.

“In the interest of representing the student body and following the bylaws, one student appointed by council to sit on Senate has to be dropped in favour of [an eligible] JMSB student,” he said.

CSU Councillor and Senator Rami Khoriaty has already offered to concede his Senate seat, naming specifically CASA VP Academic Tuan Dinh as his replacement.

“It is important that all students be represented at the Senate, this is why I am going to resign from my position,” he said.

Khoriaty said he did not decide to resign because of the emails, but because of the concerns being voiced to him by CASA executives. Dinh could not be reached for comment by press time.

Moving forward, Laforest believes CSU policy should try to ensure accurate representation of each faculty.

“The first thing we need to address is the regulations, so that representation is actually outlined in all circumstances,” he said.

In the meantime, the communication lines between the CSU and CASA will be maintained, according to Laforest, so any concerns from JMSB can ultimately be heard.

The Link originally reported that both CSU councillors and executives appoint Senate members; only CSU councillors appoint Senate members. The Link regrets the error.

By commenting on this page you agree to the terms of our Comments Policy.