Assigned and undemocratic

Over the summer months, the Concordia Student Union has been playing a game of musical chairs without giving students a voice about who’s sitting where.

After the resignation of President Prince Ralph Osei last week and VP Finance Nikki Tsoflikis in April, the CSU executive will not hold much of a resemblance to the Fusion slate elected by students in March.

After a new VP Services is appointed—The Link has learned that Arts and Science Senator Georges Alexandar is the top candidate for the position—three of the eight executives running the student union will be unelected to the position they are filling.

While newly appointed president Heather Lucas has said that her credibility or that of appointed VP Finance Zhuo Ling is not in question because both were elected by students, they were not elected to the positions they are currently holding.

During the last election, Fusion’s 40 candidates heavily outnumbered the Community slate’s eight. Students didn’t have much of a choice but to vote for Fusion in March, so if I were Lucas, I would not lay all claim to the credibility of the CSU on the election results.

Besides, Alexandar and Ling climbed the student political ladder by default—they ran unopposed for their positions and both will likely be appointed to the only executive positions they will ever hold.

But, who are these new appointees making major decisions about the quality of our university experience? Why are we allowing people who are strangers to the CSU election process be responsible for the student union’s finances? What do we know about these executives, seeing as they have not gone through electoral scrutiny?

It is hard to put faith in our leaders, when we don’t know who they are and what they stand for.

Although no individual on the CSU should be blamed for reacting to the situations that forced Osei and Tsoflikis to resign, undergraduates should not be forced to rely on leaders who avoided the democratic process through little known rules and regulations.

According to section 11.4 of the CSU’s bylaws, empty seats on the Council of Representatives may only be filled through a byelection. Despite the fact that executive members of the CSU are not technically a part of Council, they should still go through a similar electoral process.

A byelection is a necessity. The members of the CSU who control the finances and internal tasks of the organization need to be vetted and approved by voters. Individuals who haven’t gone through that process should not be unilaterally given the opportunity to make major decisions for undergraduates.

Representing Concordia students is a privilege and a responsibility. The students who are given the power to speak for Concordia should be elected and not appointed by the insular world of student politicians.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 03, published August 31, 2010.