Paige Beaulieu resigns from CSU due to unsafe work environment
Former councillor said pronoun mockery was ‘tip of the iceberg,’ citing racism, transphobia, and sexism
Councillor Paige Beaulieu has resigned from the Concordia Student Union council because they do not feel safe or respected within the work environment.
“I’m not going to keep bracing myself before the start of every meeting to be able to defend mine or others’ identities, nor end every meeting in hurt and frustration,” said Beaulieu, who uses they/them pronouns.
They had planned to present a motion for trans-inclusivity training at the Sept. 16 council meeting, but it will instead be presented by a colleague.
Councillor Jeremya Deneault made mocking comments directed at Beaulieu’s gender identity and expression, but Beaulieu explained the toxicity of the work environment at council goes deeper.
“Making fun of pronouns is just the tip of the iceberg,” they explained. “Racism, white supremacy, sexism, and transphobia pop up with inappropriate comments, harmful jokes, and by questioning the capabilities of extremely capable councillors and the executive team.”
Beaulieu said some councillors cannot make space for or respect “anyone that is not a cisgender man or white.”
“I’m not going to keep bracing myself before the start of every meeting to be able to defend mine or others’ identities, nor end every meeting in hurt and frustration.” —_Paige Beaulieu_
Beaulieu feels the means of seeking accountability after incidents occur is problematic, placing an undue burden on the people who are most affected by the harmful incidents.
“Frankly, we shouldn’t have to experience mistreatment in the first place,” they said. “Our voices have value, and it’s a shame we need to fight so hard to have them heard and simply exist within the same space as those who choose to remain ignorant to these issues.”
They said they wished they had the capacity to fight for more accountability and a simpler impeachment process but that they are confident in some of the remaining councillors and the executive, who they describe as “wonderful.”
Beaulieu said they saw some individuals in council and the executive stand up for others and do great work. They remain hopeful that those individuals will continue to fight for the CSU to be a place of genuine inclusivity and representation of all students, even in their absence.
“So many of us come into these positions hopeful, with passion and dedication to help students, then face harm from within the CSU itself, by the people getting elected to represent us and our interests,” they said.