Even when you have only one choice, you have to go out and vote.
With the CSYou team running unopposed for all but one executive seat, this year’s Concordia Student Union has practically been decided from the get-go.
Even for VP Finance, the sole contested position, CSYou candidate Scott Carr is the better choice: while his opponent, Pierre Tardivo Martin, is looking to promote ethical investments, Carr is the only one of the two who actually has a long-term plan in place and initiative behind it.
But without showing up at the polls and casting a ballot, you’re signalling low expectations—if any at all—for this CSYou executive.
Even if you go just to spoil your ballot, you’re still voicing your opinion. Not showing up at the polling booths is giving free rein to the incoming executive—just look what historically low turnout last year got us. And, after all, important referendum questions for fee levies are also still on the docket.
On the university side, strong voting numbers tell Concordia that students are not only engaged in their own affairs, but passionately so.
Last year, only about 1,500 students showed up to vote, less than five per cent of the undergraduate student body—and about a quarter of the turnout the year prior.
This year, there is no provincial-wide student strike keeping students away from school.
At first glance, there’s nowhere to go but up: The union’s reputation among Concordia students is damaged at best, and strong leadership is needed to rebuild trust.
We believe that CSYou is capable of doing this. This new team seems much more reassuring than the current CSU executive.
But, we still hold reservations. CSYou may have a near-free ticket into office, but they’re running ambitious projects with unrealistic deadlines.
Cutting ties with Chartwells is an easy example—a giant problem that would need years of planning to change.
The contract between the world’s largest prison-cafeteria operator and the university expires in 2015, and the union is hoping to entice Concordia away from a single lump contract towards more environmentally sustainable and local alternatives.
They want to get local businesses to fill the gap in campus eats. But considering the giant mass of students that go in and out of our buildings each day, that’s a huge void for the local café to fill. Making it attractive for the administration to rent space to small businesses instead of dealing with one corporation would be a feat on its own.
And that’s not considering how we could find a Chartwells-free way to provide a meal plan for students in residence.
Transforming The Hive is another plan with a questionable timeframe. CSYou wants to have a scaled-down café open to students for September.
But issues still abound, mostly surrounding the dire financial straits of CSU’s for-profit arm, CUSACorp. With its one business, the campus bar Reggie’s, already $1.4 million in debt, it will be conceivably hard to find the liquidity to open a successful second business.
Not surprisingly, there’s a lot we need to expect from this year’s executive. While the ideas are good, the results may vary.
And if you don’t think that CSYou can deliver, you can always spoil your ballot.