Igms: Crescent Table Talk

A Couple Seats Short of Democracy

What was supposed to be a roundtable discussion at Thursday’s Information General Meeting turned out to be more of a semi-circle in practice— the Commerce and Administration Student Association and Engineering and Computer Science Association’s invites must have gotten lost or left in the mail.

The IGM successfully cleared off to-do lists on überculture, Free Education Montreal’s, and Concordia Student Union VP Sustainability and Promotions Morgan Pudwell’s agendas. The outcome of the meeting trended dangerously towards undemocratic territory, for a number of reasons.

Among the FEM, überculture, CSU and ASFA politico crowd, curious undergrads trickled in, but they were few and far between. Even scarcer were John Molson School of Business students. In fact, only one sat within the left-slanted mob and was often heckled, especially when he stressed the importance of inviting different fiduciary streams to fund student projects.

But the slant of most of the IGM crowd made the meeting very productive. A handful of non-binding motions, including one that was killed at the last CSU council meeting (the call for immediate resignations of 23 community-at-large members of the Board of Governors with expired terms), were passed at the assembly.

Helping move things forward was Chairperson Roddy Doucet’s bias towards FEM’s mission statement, though I’m sure his intentions were to speed things up. He rushed the passing of ad-libbed motions and peppered in some of his own commentary throughout.

For example, on a motion to call for a stance against water bottles on campus he lamented to the leftist crowd, “Can’t we all agree this is a good thing?” Sure, it’s likely that most in this group agreed, but those sorts of comments would intimidate someone who thinks otherwise.

Speaking of differing minds, where were the Commerce and Administration Student Association and Engineering and Computer Science Student Association?

Even if they were there, there wasn’t much discussion that wasn’t between the Chair and FEM.

A student in the crowd raised a good point by saying that if the CSU was able to elaborately campaign for the Student Centre, they should be able to campaign to mobilize students.

It appears they have taken the comment to heart, because a Mobilization Committee is now in place, made up of FEM and überculture people, Pudwell, CSU VP External and Projects Adrien Severyns, and the IGM Chairperson.

CASA and ECA can make a pretty substantial advance towards student democracy by simply making the effort to step inside the room.

For quorum to be reached, the committee requires 2.5 per cent of Concordia undergrads to feel romantic enough about the university to show up to the Reggies terrace on Valentines Day to justify Thursdays political maneuvering.

Biases aside, I take comfort in knowing that the FEM, überculture, ASFA and CSU crew are out there fighting the good fight for us students in the way they think is right—I think that’s nothing but virtuous. But if we’re talking democracy, it takes two to tango.

I just wish that the CASA and ECA executive crew knew that their input is needed because a huge chunk of the school is not being represented. Because of this, I’m not even sure if what’s happening is democracy in action, but it’s no fault of those that are actively trying to bring justice to this university.

The CSU can’t do anything else but ask Concordians, ECA, and CASA to show up. Woody Allen once said, “80 per cent of success is showing up.” Assuming he’s right—CASA and ECA can make a pretty substantial advance towards student democracy by simply making the effort to step inside the room.

This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 21, published February 1, 2011.

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