More than 20 per cent voter turnout highlights return to political normalcy for the CSU

Students vote almost unanimously in favour of pass/fail, a Charter of Student Rights, and a position against transphobia

Annual CSU by-election closes with return to pre-pandemic levels of voter turnout. File photo Ireland Compton

The Concordia Student Union’s first election season since a return to in-person classes is now over.

After recording a low of nearly 5 per cent turnout during the lockdown spring, this election showed a much higher student involvement from March’s election. This time around, 21 per cent of the eligible student body – or 6709 ballots were cast. 

This election primarily revolved around a series of referendum questions proposing amendments to CSU bylaws, increases in fee-levies, and the pursuit of academic policy changes at Concordia. 

The amendment of CSU bylaws 6.3d and 9 were approved, allowing the CSU to streamline its process for adopting, amending, and rescinding regulations, and enshrining the protocols for conducting elections and referenda respectively. Bylaw 6.3d’s amendment was passed with 92 per cent of the vote, while bylaw 9 obtained an 88 per cent majority. 

Students voted overwhelmingly in favour of adopting a Charter of Student Rights. This means the CSU will begin composing and advocating for the adoption of a single document that consolidates all student rights. The vote passed with 97 per cent.

Also securing landslide victories were the initiatives to advocate for Concordia’s implementation of a pass/fail grading system and recorded lectures. The success of these votes means the CSU will actively petition Concordia’s administration to these initiatives as the pandemic continues. 

Ballots also included proposals to increase fee-levies for The Link, CSU Student Advocacy Centre, and Sustainability Concordia. All of these passed with the exception of The Link which failed to secure a majority of the vote.

In addition to these increases, the creation of new fee-levies for proposed services were also approved by voters. SEIZE Concordia and the CSU Diversity Services Office were approved for funding with 61 per cent and 65 per cent of the vote respectively. Both initiatives will be effective starting in the winter 2022 semester. 

Further CSU initiatives to adopt a position against transphobia and divert a portion of its funds to social-solidarity, non-for-profit, and democratic enterprises were also approved, capturing 85 per cent and 82 per cent of the vote respectively. 

Students also voted for the CSU to advocate for the implementation of a sustainability curriculum at Concordia by 2030. The vote passed with an 89 per cent majority.

In addition to the referendum questions, candidates running for the Gina Cody School of Engineering, Arts & Science, and Fine Arts councils were elected. 

Katherine Soad Bellini and Hassan Nabeel both secured positions as representatives on the GSCE council, acquiring 85 per cent and 65 per cent of the vote respectively. Olivia Integlia and Caleb Woolcott were voted in as representatives for the Arts & Science council with 81 per cent and 79 per cent of the votes. Wan Hua Li ran unopposed for a position on the Fine Arts council and acquired it with 92 per cent of the vote.

The referendum result can be viewed here

A previous version of this article stated an incorrect turnout percentage, this has been rectified and updated to reflect the actual percentages. The Link regrets this error.