It’s Election Time?
The Concordia Student Union’s election campaigns kicked off today.
Except they didn’t really.
Usually a night of antics to claim the best poster space, the hours leading up to the first day of campaigning were awfully quiet. In the Hall building, which offers some of the most coveted wallspace, there is only one set of campaign posters: for the only slate running.
There are a few familiar faces among the list of candidates, with some current councillors and executives campaigning to switch roles, as well as a former editor from The Link.
Maybe the reason behind the lack of campaigning this year is the lack of competition. Whereas last year there were three teams running for executive positions, this year the race is between Community Action candidates and independents. Councillors for John Molson School of Business will be missing two other representatives, while two candidates from Fine Arts and Engineering and Computer Science and one Arts and Science student won’t make the cut. The silence might also be due to a shortened nomination period from ten days to four approved last month by council.
This year’s chief electoral officer has decided not to arrange a “meet and greet,” but candidates traditionally visit classrooms so their peers can meet them before voting.
The CSU general election runs from March 24 to 26.
Terry Wilkings (Community Action)
Having served as this year’s VP Academic and Advocacy, Terry is already invested in a lot of ongoing projects. He plans on having a daycare and Reggie’s bar completed and moving forward with student housing through a new fund that needs to be approved by students. Food sovereignty is also a priority, and he hopes to get support behind a new greenhouse as well.
As president, Terry will continue to sit on the Board of Governors and Senate, and hopes to increase the diversity of voices on those bodies. Terry will continue to campaign against austerity and pipelines. When it comes to striking, he says the CSU won’t be responsible for voting on that sort of thing, even though he supports associations that choose to strike. “Having been around the last time the CSU went on strike in 2012, I found it immensely difficult to coordinate on such a macro level,” he said.
Anas Bouslikhane (Community Action)
In order to improve transparency and literacy of the CSU’s finances, Anas promises to hold regular workshops for students. He says he wants to improve financial sustainability and make sure budgets are accessible online. He promises to balance the budget and make sure the CSU’s funds are divested if the process isn’t completed by June.
Jonathan Mamane (Independent)
Jonathan is an accounting and finance student as well as a co-president of Hillel. He supports campaigns such as club space, Reggie’s, budget allocation, and a setting up a tax clinic on campus. He prioritizes financial transparency so students are aware of the financials. He says he has to study the numbers before proposing a way to tackle the deficit. On the question of divestment he says he’ll focus on investments that are secure and profitable. “CSU holdings are, in my opinion, public funds and cannot be treated the same way private holdings would be treated.”
VP Clubs and Internal
Alexandre Laroche (Independent)
Alexandre says, first off, communication has to be upgraded. He’s also against the “looming” strikes and a “turbulent” end of the semester. He says he’ll be the voice of reason and speak for those who can’t. Alexandre is the former President of the Students of History at Concordia. He supports student housing, Reggie’s and student-run food services, like the Hive. But he says he wants more selection to be offered to meat-eaters and students that follow dietary guidelines like Halal.
Lori Dimaria (Community Action)
Through Reggie’s, Lori promises to provide cheap local beer, good food and a venue for activities by September. As President of the International and Ethnic Association Council, Lori already manages the IEAC building and promises to renovate club space by creating a review system to track the use of the space. She says she’ll improve communication with clubs and students by being available to hear their concerns.
VP External and Mobilization
Gabriel Velasco (Community Action)
Gabriel says the CSU is not going to go on strike. “We learned from our mistakes; we learned from 2012,” he said. But he says the CSU will support any association that goes on strike and support other community groups involved in the anti-austerity movement. The union, he says will keep a close eye on national associations like the FEUQ, and will be reevaluating its role in the student movement. He will continue to work with the anti-pipeline group ECO through shared resources and encourage student movements to include environmental issues.
Carla Marrouche (Independent)
Carla has volunteered abroad for Centre ABC and believes she can transfer her communications skills to the position. She would seek relations with embassies and hopes to create a host system for international students who have trouble finding apartments. Carla also hopes to encourage community connections by pairing up students with small businesses that can mutually benefit from working together. She wants to create campaign awareness about issues like strike votes. She moved to Montreal four years ago from Lebanon and is a Human Resources student.
VP Student Life: John Talbot (Community Action)
VP Sustainability: Gabrielle Caron (Community Action)
VP Academic and Advocacy: Marion Miller (Community Action)
VP Loyola: Chloe Williams (Community Action)
Arts and Science Councillors : 14 seats, 15 candidates
Jenna is a fifth-year student double-majoring in Anthropology and Communications. She sat on the CSU council this year, and was involved with their finance, policy, external, campaigns, and Loyola committees. She is also a member of Divest Concordia, and is an organizer of both the Festival du Film Ethnographique de Quebec and the Concordia Transitions conference. Jenna plans to “ensure that the student union continues to make effective use of student resources to support initiatives that promote an environmentally sustainable future.” She would also like to sit for a second year on both the external and campaigns committees to “maintain a strong environmental campaign and ties with outside groups.” Jenna would also support the school’s many student-run projects, such as the greenhouse.
A political science student in his second year, Aloyse is the VP of External Affairs at the Liberal Arts Society and has been a member of Concordia’s Senate since January. If elected, he intends to support the growth of “sustainable student-run projects.” In relation to food on campus, he’ll take the focus off “corporate multinational food providers.” He supports the Hive, the housing project, the greenhouse and initiatives to fight government-imposed austerity measures that “are a direct attack on the quality and accessibility of education.”
Michael gained experience this year as the faculty liaison and internal relations coordinator for the Undergraduate Students of Philosophy Association. If elected, he intends to focus on student self-determination and community. He would lend a hand to the school’s many student-run initiatives, such as the Hive Café, the student housing project, Reggie’s, and other campus programs. He is active in the movement against austerity and the push for the referendum question opposing privatization in post-secondary education. Michael believes that “resisting these trends is crucial to maintaining Concordia as an autonomous, public, and universally accessible post-secondary institution.”
Genevieve Nadeau Bonin
Genevieve is a second-year student of Geography. She serves as the Vice President of Finance for the Geography Undergraduate Student Society, is a board member at Frigo Vert, and has volunteered for the Loyola Hive, as well as other student groups. She supports the student housing co-op, the student daycare, sustainability action around campus and local, sustainable and healthy food options on campus.
Michael is working towards a double major in Journalism and Community, Public Affairs, and Policy Studies. He spent two and a half years working as an editor at The Link. If elected as a councillor, Michael plans to support student-run projects, particularly the housing co-op project, and the daycare center project. “I think both of these projects have the potential to really have a positive impact on students’ quality of life,” he said. He would also like to see the CSU executives be more accountable and follow project deadlines and budgets. He wants to increase transparency by making CSU budgets and other internal documents available to students. He is interested in sitting on the Loyola, External, and Campaigns committees. “In particular I’d like to see the CSU continue to be involved around environmental issues, and fighting climate change, and activism around that,” he said.
Having already been elected as a CSU Arts and Science Councillor in 2014, Marcus has seen first-hand “the real changes the CSU has the ability to make.” Student-run initiatives such as the greenhouse, the Hive Café, the student daycare, the student-housing project, and Reggie’s bar have been “inspirational” to him, and he plans to continue his support of these programs if re-elected. He’s involved in Divest Concordia and supports the divestment movement. Despite initial doubts, he also supports Concordia’s BDS movement. He will continue to fight against the tar sands, “will oppose unfriendly adjustments to the organization and structure of fee-levy groups,” and will move in against the Liberal government’s austerity measures.
Melanie is a student in the Human Environment program, an advocate of Divest Concordia, a self-described environmentalist and a supporter of the Concordia Food Coalition. If elected to the council, she plans to prioritize environmentally-responsible and food related initiatives. She believes that “an overhaul of the current corporate monopoly food system is needed and student access to local, eco-friendly and affordable food options is vital.” Melanie has been involved with the Hive Café and the Free Lunch Project at Loyola. She also supports the reopening of Reggie’s, the Loyola Greenhouse, the student-housing co-op, and the student daycare.
Thomas was elected to the CSU Council in 2014, and is a geography and political science student. He wants to work in “social and environmental justice, community building, and solidarity with other groups who have common interests.” He would also lend his support to initiatives such as student housing, the student daycare and the Loyola greenhouse.
Jason Poirier Lavoie
A second-year student, Jason served as a CSU Councillor over the past year. He says his experience on council has given him extensive knowledge of university politics. If re-elected, he intends to bring unpaid internships to council’s attention, as well as Concordia grade-cap policies, student participation in university politics and the problems posed by austerity.
Lucinda is working towards a degree in Community and Public Affairs and Political Science. This past year, she served on the CSU council and sat on the Loyola and Policy committees. Additionally, she was an undergraduate senator and represented the school’s undergrads on the Senate Research Committee. She is a campus outreach coordinator as well as the volunteer coordinator at CJLO, and is on the board of Frigo Vert. Last year, she served as the Executive Secretary for the School of Community and Public Affairs Students Association. If elected, she would like to “strengthen and clarify” the student union’s standing regulations and bylaws. She also supports student-run projects, particularly “those concerning sustainability and access to education.” Lucinda would also like to support the student daycare, student housing co-op, and greenhouse.
John Molson School of Business Councillors : 6 seats, 4 candidates
A Marketing major, Rachel has worked at the Alternative Spring Break program, was a board member at the student-run Coopérative des brasseurs illuminés, worked for the Montreal Canadiens game presentation department, and completed cooperative internship in Peru. Her primary goal is to increase student participation in the university community. She would also like to see more interconnectivity between JMSB student groups and other initiatives across campus. “There shouldn’t be a division between faculties prohibiting us to learn from each other. If Concordia students all come together, I believe we can make this school and our society a better place to live.”
Fadi served as a general executive and Treasurer and Radio manager in the Vanier College Student Association, where he played a part in rebuilding the now-successful Vanier College Radio. If elected to the council, Fadi plans to increase student involvement in the CSU. He will “try to make the CSU a bit more student-friendly” than it is now.
Omar has experience working as VP Finance for the Concordia Syrian Students’ Association. If elected, he plans to “represent JMSB in a professional and unbiased way,” would like to increase student involvement in the CSU, and hopes to “organize various activities and events for students to participate in.”
Simon has served as president of the resident’s council at Grey Nuns and played a number of roles at the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. If elected as a councilor, Simon plans to encourage greater involvement between students and the CSU, particularly among those studying in JMSB. According to him, proof of the lack of JMSB student involvement is that only 4 out of 6 of the faculty’s seats are being campaigned for. He believes that the situation can be fixed with a “better spread of information and more effective communication.” Simon also plans to ensure “proper financial oversight” of CSU expenditures, particularly in relation to the many student-run initiatives that have been developing over the past year.
Engineering and Computer Science Councillors : 5 seats, 7 candidates
Rami is an engineering student who has been involved with several student organizations over the past year. He served on the board of the CSU last semester, and has also worked with Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights. He is interested in the CSU funded housing co-op, plans on supporting “all the great campaigns that the CSU endorsed,” and is a supporter of the BDS movement.
Katherine Soad Bellini
Fine Arts Councillors : 3 seats, 5 candidates
Sanaz Hassan Pour (Sunnie)
Sanaz is a second-year student of Art History and Studio Arts. Last year she served as secretary for the Visual Arts Visuels Gallery, and this year she sat on the Gallery’s board in the communication and outreach committee. She plans to communicate with “fellow council members and fine arts students to voice issues and suggestions, and act on creative solutions.” Sanaz would like to increase collaboration between the different faculties and create more sustainable space. Sanaz also plans to support initiatives like the student housing co-op and Reggie’s and will oppose austerity measures.
There are no Independent candidates running for the two available seats.