Reforming a Fallen FASA

Shorthanded Executive Awaits Much-Needed Byelection

  • Graphic Paku Daoust-Cloutier

With byelections approaching, the Fine Arts Student Alliance is ready for take two.

Since FASA’s general elections, held this past spring, the association’s executive has gradually fallen apart, dwindling from an initial team of six executives down to two.   

First, newly elected VP Clubs and Services Erika Couto turned down her position immediately upon receiving it, explaining that she was unsure whether or not she would be returning to Concordia.

The summer saw VP External Gabrielle Provost and VP Finance Anas Bouslikhane resign, both citing “personal reasons” for their respective departures.

Most recently, at October’s council meeting, a fourth executive, VP Internal Rebecca Spencer, resigned. Spencer explained that her decision was made based on the fact that she will be graduating in December and would like to open the position for a candidate capable of staying for the entire academic year.

“All of their reasons for leaving were individual and personal and all had nothing really to do with FASA, but rather each of their own personal lives,” said FASA President Eva-Loan Ponton-Pham, one of two remaining original executives.

Ponton-Pham explained that heading such a vacant executive has been no easy feat—one she is more than happy to move on from.

“It was crazy for us, trying to patch up the holes resulting from being so understaffed,” she said. Since FASA’s first official council meeting, four executives have been appointed to fill the voids in the interim period prior to byelections, set to take place from Nov. 5 to Nov. 7.

“Now that we are a team of six, it is so much easier for us to work,” said Ponton-Pham. “We can settle down and focus on the upcoming year that we really hadn’t had the time to think about before now.”

Photon-Pham said that prior to receiving the shot in the arm, the association had continued to function and pursue its projects as planned, but that certain delays had been inevitable due to a lack of staff.

Couto, who was initially elected as VP Clubs and Services in the general election, has now returned to fill her old position as interim and is running in the upcoming byelection—with hopes of being re-elected to fill it permanently.

She says that in addition to dealing with vacancies, a poor handover from last year’s executive has made things particularly difficult.

“We’ve been dealing with a lot of problems that last year’s executive left us and it’s really preventing us from doing our work and moving forward,” she said, citing a lack of training and poor financial documentation as additional setbacks.

Couto says that now that the empty executive positions have been filled in interim, the team is focusing on ensuring something like this doesn’t happen again.

“Basically we never want to leave people in a position that we were left in,” she said, explaining two of the preventive measures the team is working on as strengthening their institutional memory through documentation and developing a new budget model.

Considering their less-than-ideal circumstances, Couto gave major kudos to the two remaining executives for managing to keep FASA from completely fizzling out during recent months, as it easily could have.

“They’ve just been doing so much work, and I think that the reason FASA is on track—and to the point where there is a visible future where you can see that it is going to get better—is because of these people who have just worked like crazy to ensure that the association moves forward despite all of these setbacks.”

Ponton-Pham is excited and ready to start working with a new—and hopefully complete—team.

“I feel like there is a renewal of interest towards FASA and making it a better association that is more sustainable and accessible to its members,” she said.

“I’m just looking forward to putting FASA back on its feet, and to undertake this reform that will help the quality of student life for fine arts students and hopefully get them more involved within the association.”

Students who wish to run for a FASA VP position can submit nomination forms to the FASA office in the VA Building (1395 René-Lévesque Blvd., VA 025) by Oct. 24 at 1:00 p.m. The positions available are VP Internal Relations, VP External Relations, VP Clubs and Services and VP Finance. The nomination form is available at goo.gl/riHpA.

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