Not Bored With the Board

Your Concordia and Action Explain their Stance on the BoG

One of the most pressing issues facing Concordia this year has become a non-contentious issue in the upcoming Concordia Student Union election.

Both Action and Your Concordia have declared their intentions to put more pressure on the Board of Governors—Concordia’s highest governing body—and both slates are outlining very similar approaches to dealing with a BoG they feel is detached from both the students and the school.

Two elected representatives, as well as two members appointed from the council—one of which is traditionally the president of the student union—stand for student interests on the Board of Governors.

“I feel like some of the Board of Governors are not in touch with students,” said Action’s presidential candidate, Khalil Haddad. “There’s this disconnect, which is why I feel we should build a relationship with them.

At the same time, they have to realize they have to follow their own rules. Many of them have exceeded their mandate, and we have to send a clear message that they have to be transparent and accountable.”

It’s a view that is echoed by Haddad’s opponent on the Your Concordia slate, Lex Gill, who also believes that the representation of students by the current student Board members and CSU president Heather Lucas has been insufficient.

“Students expressly mandated CSU executives and Board members to bring issues to the Board of Governors, which they did not do,” she said. “They completely ignored the will of students. They had binding resolutions passed at CSU council and at the Informational General Meeting, [that were] were either blatantly ignored or intentionally disregarded.”

After a resolution was passed at the Jan. 27 Council meeting calling for the resignation of 16 of the Board’s 23 community-at-large members, Lucas didn’t broach the subject at the subsequent Board meeting—an
omission she has since apologized for.

“Some of the Board of Governors are not in touch with students.”

–Khalil Haddad,
Action presidential candidate

Current student representatives Amine Dabchy and Stephanie Siriwardhana have also come under fire for not sufficiently representing student interests.

Members at large on the BoG include executives in some of Canada’s largest and most powerful companies. Following the local and national media scrutiny after the firing of former-President Judith Woodsworth, the atmosphere surrounding Board of Governor meetings can be intimidating to the student representatives.

“I think once you do a year term in the CSU, you tend to learn not to get intimidated so easily,” said Action candidate, and current CSU VP Loyola and Advocacy, Hassan Abdullahi. “I do understand that there will be some powerful and wealthy people, but regardless, it’s not going to stop me from demanding what the students have mandated me to do.”

The notion of standing up for students and not backing down or becoming too friendly with the members at large was echoed by Your Concordia candidate A.J West.

“I think I can bring representation,” he said. “I want to represent what the students have to say. I want to be blunt, and sure I want to work with the Board, but at the same time, I’m here for the students, not corporations.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 28, published March 29, 2011.