Down with tuition increases, bottled water and bad contracts

Photo by Julia Jones

The Your Concordia slate was out in full force early this morning in the first official hours of the 2011 CSU general election campaign.

Your Concordia, led by Lex Gill, is comprised of some of Concordia’s most well-known and outspoken activists.

Three main points came up in discussions with Your Concordia members: bottled water, student space and tuition hikes.

“We want a good deal or no deal,” said Gill of the controversial student centre proposal rejected by students twice over the past two years. “The current student centre contract is poorly written at best and exploitative at worst.

“I’m not going to promise anyone a building. I can promise people a fair contract. I can promise people getting out of a contract that’s exploitative. And I can promise broadly that we have a mandate to protect, invest in and create more student space.”

Your Concordia also supports a ban of bottled water on campus.

“We are committed to working with [Facilities Management on campus] to ensure the abundance of clean, safe and free drinking water,” said Gill. “You shouldn’t have to walk around for ten minutes to find a water fountain. That’s silly. Water is free. I should be a right.”

Gill was also strong spoken about the need to keep tuition fees down, not ruling out the possibility of a general student strike if the government does not back down.

“We will work in solidarity with other student unions in Quebec and in the world. If it appears necessary, and if we feel we have the democratic support of our membership, then yes [we will strike],” she said.

“In our mind, a strike is not something you do lightly. You have to do it with a lot of consideration for your members.”

Gill also spoke about Morgan Pudwell, the recently resigned VP Sustainability & Promotions of the current CSU, who is running for VP Advocacy & Outreach for Your Concordia.

“I think it’s important to frame [Pudwell’s] resignation as a resignation of protest,” she said.

“She could no longer work with the people who are currently executives of the CSU. I think her allegations are all things that need to be addressed. Instead of addressing them, people have turned it into ‘let’s talk about Morgan Pudwell.’”

Pudwell briefly commented to The Link about her resignation and then spoke about why she is running again for the CSU not even two weeks after quitting it.

“After I resigned, I was approached by some of these student and they thought that I had shown a lot of integrity in that decision and they asked me to run,” said Pudwell.

Of her time on the CSU this past year, she said, “I spent a lot of time reaching out to groups that often felt like they were cast aside by the CSU or groups that didn’t think that they had any representation at the CSU.”

“I found that working with those groups brought a lot to the CSU,” she said. “If you look at the WHALE, it was organized by a lot of students and groups that don’t usually work with the CSU. I’m interested in building those relationships and representing the whole community at Concordia.”

Reinforcing their dedication to their Your Concordia “transparency” platform point, slate members handed out pamphlets outlining their campaign expenses in detail.