Goodbye FEUQ, Hello AVEQ

Concordia Students Officially Disassociate From Defunct Quebec University Association

Concordia University File Photo Jonathan Caragay-Cook

As of the winter semester, Concordia undergraduates are switching to new provincial student representation and are already funding start-up costs after the Concordia Student Union council voted to transfer $60,000 to the organization.

Students voted in favour of leaving the Fédération Étudiante Universitaire du Québec (FEUQ) and joining the Association for the Voice of Education in Quebec (AVEQ) during November by-elections.

A membership fee of $3.50 per student—indexed to inflation and to be collected next semester—was ratified by the university’s board of governors on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the CSU has $164,504.97 accumulated from FEUQ fees collected in fall and summer 2015 terms, as well as a portion of spring 2015 fees. FEUQ voted over the summer to no longer collect fees from universities and is in the process of dissolving itself.

While FEUQ is sorting out its legal demise, AVEQ is still in the process of establishing itself without an executive team or funding source. The student associations at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières and Université du Québec à Chicoutimi have already transferred funds to AVEQ. The CSU is transferring $60,000 to the association and holding on to the leftover $100,000 until FEUQ settles its books.

Once FEUQ dissolves, External and Mobilize Coordinator Gabriel Velasco. will report back to council, which will decide whether to give leftover funds to AVEQ.

“That money isn’t in the possession of the CSU, because students paid those funds in order to have student representation on a provincial level,” said CSU General Coordinator Terry Wilkings. (CSU executives changed the names of their titles through bylaws voted on in the byelections.)

The $60,000 will go toward paying for AVEQ’s interim coordination staff and legal, translation, and meeting fees. Until now these costs have been absorbed by the student groups that are already affiliated, according to Velasco. AVEQ will elect an executive team after universities vote to affiliate over the next semester, Velasco said, expecting elections to happen in May.

“It’s really what’s needed to kickstart the association and get it off the ground,” Velasco said about transferring the funds to AVEQ. “Especially for communications—we want to make sure that students all across Quebec are very aware of the association, what it does.”

Communication was one of FEUQ’s weakest points. Although nearly half the students FEUQ represented were Concordia students, information in English was hard to come by.

“You need a certain amount of funds to have a communications strategy,” he added. “We have a hard time communicating with our own students at Concordia so across the province is a real challenge.”