Editorial: Act Together Can Lead the Way Forward

Graphic: Morag Rahn-Campbell

It’s that time of the year again. From March 29 to 31, Concordia students will be asked to vote for their Concordia Student Union council of representatives, senators, and executive.

Two slates— Act Together and Empower Concordia —are running for the executive spots. Omar Riaz is the sole executive candidate running alone.

Emphasis should always be placed on the individual candidates, rather than the slates they’re running with. But these people are running on teams and thus they can be evaluated as such. Put simply, Act Together has more Concordia know-how than Empower Concordia.

The latter team, led by Eddy Kara-Sarkissian does not seem to have a total grasp of their abilities under CSU jurisdiction. Items like bursaries and scholarships for Stingers players and mitigating the amount of soda the university has are all goals they’ve outlined on their website. These are issues the CSU can try to influence if they wanted to, but ultimately don’t have final say on.

Empower Concordia is proposing changes that would be logistically impossible. Their platform isn’t adequately explained, despite a long list of barely-defined goals. For example, despite purporting a desire for a safer space for women, the slate lists under “Introducing new events,” the possibility of creating a Concordia’s Next Top Model—the tinge of irony is hard to ignore.

For these reasons, The Link is endorsing the Act Together slate to serve on the CSU executive for the upcoming academic year.

It should be stated again that candidates are voted for individually. Most of the team’s faces are familiar, but it’s not necessarily wise to endorse a team blankly. The Link stands behind specific members of the team in particular, such as Lucinda Marshall-Kiparissis, Aloyse Muller and Lana Galbraith. These three have demonstrable experience sitting on numerous student and university bodies such as CSU council, Concordia’s Senate, and more.

During the polling period, students will also be asked to vote on five different referendum questions. Here are The Link’s views on the five questions:

On opposing tuition increase for international students:

In February, The Link ran an editorial condemning the provincial government’s decision to deregulate tuition rates for international students — a move which could raise their tuition by 25 per cent. That stance remains. International students are an important part of the Concordia community, and solidarity must be shown with them. Students should vote “Yes” for this question.

On Canadian Refugee Initiative:

We are one of the wealthiest nations in history, and are currently moving into an era wherein mass migration will become more and more frequent. For this reason, an institutionalized means to assist migrants in the struggle of relocation should be paramount to Canadian policy. As a large, multi-cultural university, Concordia and CSU assistance for migrants should be expected as natural. Students should vote “Yes” for the fee-levy for a refugee centre at Concordia.

On Fee-levy increase for International/Ethnic Association Council:

The IEAC is a good thing on paper, however many issues about this question are still unclear. There have been no signs of campaigning from their part leading to this referendum question, while it’s unclear what exactly the IEAC does. For those reasons, it’s best students vote “No” on the fee-levy increase from six cents to 12 cents per credit for student organization.

On Opposing the Energy East and Line 9 Pipelines:

Concordia’s current youth population will be the first generation to live through major climate change. As a student body, then, climate maintenance should be of utmost concern. The two pipelines both have serious potential to contaminate drinking water in the likely event of a spill. The CSU should oppose both pipelines and further tar sand development, and The Link encourages students to vote “Yes” on this question.

On CSU Health and Dental Plan:

The CSU’s health and dental plan’s fee has not been raised since 2005. Though healthcare in all forms should be free, these increases fairly match current inflation, and it’s good that Concordia can offer a relatively cheap health and dental plan. The Link encourages students to vote “Yes” to the fee increase.