A Collapsing Union

Graphic by Paku Daoust-Cloutier

Concordia Student Union Council meetings have a long history of being political minefields—any meeting might blow up without warning.

But this year it isn’t what’s happening in the boardroom that’s worrying.

The forced resignation of VP Academic and Advocacy Lucia Gallardo through an overzealous enforcement of bylaws by the council signals the beginning of the end for this CSU executive.

An end that is, surprisingly, not entirely due to the incompetence of this slate. Schubert Laforest and his team have, after all, racked up a long list of mistakes in their short time in office.

There were the posters and website missing in action during their bid for office. Then there was the botched Orientation concert. Then they tried to take credit for Concordia President Alan Shepard dropping security charges against students, despite a pitifully poor approach to advocacy.

For “academic” reasons he won’t disclose, Laforest can’t sit on the Board of Governors. And now Lucia Gallardo turns out not to have been a student this whole time.
All this, and it’s only Oct. 2.

Given this track record, it’s understandable why some would call for the impeachment of A Better Concordia. But there’s a way to approach the issue with civility and respect for the student body.

The past few council meetings have disintegrated into self-indulgent disasters as some councillors tried to push through motions seemingly intent on punishing Laforest and Gallardo in as embarrassing a manner as possible.

After Laforest admitted he could not serve on the BoG, some of the councillors put forth a motion to instate Lex Gill as the primary student representative on the BoG rather than current exec member VP External Simon-Pierre Lauzon.

Gill, who at the time already sat as the alternative govenor, gains no extra powers from this switch, and without appointing an alternate, the move seems needless.
It accomplishes little other than furthering the embarrassment of Laforest and his team.

While Gill’s experience makes her vastly more qualified than Lauzon, appointing them both could have been the olive branch council so desperately needs right now. Not to mention, there would have been one more student sitting at Friday’s BoG meeting.

At the same time, this council, which has a lot of executives from last year’s slate, is ignoring certain skeletons in the closet of the previous year.
Morgan Pudwell was getting paid to be VP Advocacy and Outreach in 2011-12 despite probably not being a registered student; she only resigned (to little fanfare) at the end of the spring semester, citing health reasons.

In comparison, Gallardo’s been tarred and feathered by the same people who stood by Pudwell all along.

So it seems that what was disregard for bylaws last semester has all of a sudden morphed into a strange lust for enforcing them—but this sure as hell isn’t being done for students.

There has been a disappointing lack of transparency from both the exec and the council. They are both at fault for the circus our union has become.

Ultimately, Gallardo’s resignation feels like the first piece being pulled out of the bottom of a teetering Jenga tower. This year’s CSU is certain to topple before long if these shady motives continue. Who will be the next to go?