Editorial: ASFA’s Last Walk of Shame

  • Graphic Sam Jones

ASFA should be more than just the one-night stand of Frosh week. But the rebranding wasn’t enough. We need a culture change. That’s why The Link officially endorses Jenna Cocullo and her Support Change team.

Cocullo and Gillis rebranded Frosh to “Launch Week” in light of the recent sexual harassment scandal. Although they all admitted that Launch Week didn’t go as planned, they did demonstrate the will to get rid of the pervasive party culture that has poisoned the student association in the past.

Can we make ASFA more than a dirty regret on a Sunday morning? If there’s any ray of hope, perhaps the Support Change team is the answer.

Parties like Launch Week aren’t bad, but they can’t be the only initiative this organization focuses on. Their projects should be more fruitful than a week of binge drinking. They should allocate more money to educating students by inviting speakers to Concordia events and being an advocate for progress. This is an institution of higher learning, after all.

The willingness to restructure the organization’s bylaws to prevent future cases of harassment is commendable, though. Cocullo’s team wants ASFA’s members to be held accountable for their individual actions and the spending of its fee-levied finances. Too many scandals—Mei-Ling, the VP Finance quitting amidst controversy at a general meeting—and rumours have tainted the student association’s reputation.

In her October executive report, Cocullo, who has been working in an interim position since the summer, wrote that ASFA’s new sustainability policy is progressing and a lawyer may be consulted soon to help rewrite the bylaws that make council sessions a bureaucratic nightmare.

ASFA is only as good as its members, not just its small group of councillors. They should focus on providing associations with the financial tools to create their own projects and events. This step back would allow more independence to its members. Then, maybe student life would flourish beyond just orientation.

ASFA should take its proper responsibility as a parent association and help its members grow. By providing an overarching support and collaborating with the CSU—akin to the relationship the Fine Arts Student Alliance has—they could build a proper university culture, a proper identity that could rival those found at McGill and University of Toronto.

By now, it should be evident that the school’s administration doesn’t give a fig about building a united student body. It comes down to us, as students, to create it for ourselves. We can no longer take comfort in blaming the long distance that separates the two campuses. Student life at Concordia is disjointed; it’s a place to study and get a diploma, nothing more.

How many people honestly knew about Quad Fest, another ASFA sponsored drink-to-excess event held at the Loyola Quadrangle in September? It’s ironic to see ASFA proudly pour students’ money into events they barely advertise beyond a few flyers and a Facebook post.

The organization is supposed to represent Arts and Science students but their chugging contests seem to only cater to a select group—namely their elected members. These parties don’t represent the progressive standards espoused by the university.

ASFA’s next leadership should consider how they can reach out and represent the ideals of a diverse, tolerant and forward-thinking student body.

Also, vote this time. Even though some of us want to see ASFA dissolve as an institution, it won’t. So take time to weigh the options—using The Link’s candidate breakdown in this issue—and make an informed decision.

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