Former CSU Finance Coordinator Accused of Having Problematic Behaviour
On April 1, 2016, the Act Together slate won all the executive seats in the Concordia Student Union general elections.
Six months after the June 1 beginning of Act Together’s mandate, on Saturday, Nov. 19, Longinotti sent an email to the executive team saying that he would be taking an indefinite leave of absence.
He became unreachable on Facebook, text message, email and Slack, a group messaging service, according to CSU Academic and Advocacy Coordinator Sophia Sahrane.
Later that day, he sent a letter indicating that he would be resigning from his position as the President of the board at Reggie’s.
On Sunday, the CSU executive team sent a letter to Longinotti demanding he step down from his position as the finance coordinator of the CSU. He then handed his resignation to Caitlin Robinson, chairperson of the CSU.
The Link reached out to Longinotti multiple times but he could not be contacted by press time.
“Together we have reached many milestones to this point, however personal reasons and focus on overall wellbeing necessitate that I vacate my position and focus on improving my studies and career,” he wrote in his resignation letter.
The resignation comes after multiple instances of Longinotti violating CSU values, for example “anti-gender based violence and anti-oppression clauses,” according to a statement signed by the entire executive team.
On Nov. 17, a situation arose at Reggie’s, the Concordia student bar, when a man, identified as a friend of Longinotti’s who has been accused of spiking drinks, came into the bar. Lana Elinor Galbraith, Sustainability Coordinator of the CSU, immediately alerted the staff.
They reacted in accordance with their Safer Space policy, according to Jessica Bortnik, Assistant Manager, and Melanie Desrosiers, General Manager of Reggie’s. The policy is to make sure the bar stays safe. Anyone who is being verbally or physically abusive will be removed from the premises.
The man is now officially banned from Reggie’s.
“Our only concern was the safety of the patrons in the bar at the time. The staff reacted based on what they learned in their mandatory trainings. We made sure to stay true to our ‘No Bullshit Policy,’” Desroisers and Bortnik added in a joint statement to The Link.
Although the police became involved after campus security called them, no arrests were made.
This was not the first case where Longinotti would invite this friend to CSU events around campus and Reggie’s, despite multiple requests from the bar’s general manager and CSU executives.
In the team’s statement, they claimed that this behaviour was “prioritizing and protecting a friend rather than the safety of students on campus.”
This was the last straw, according to CSU General Coordinator Lucinda Marshall-Kiparissis.
Sahrane said that Longinotti had been “transphobic [and] queerphobic over and over again” throughout his whole time as an executive.
In an incident in August, Longinotti allegedly made fun of non-binary gender identities at Reggie’s. When a CSU staff member told him to stop, Sahrane said he continued. Despite being called out by his co-executives, his behaviour did not change, she said.
The CSU would attempt to address the situation by holding an open discussion.
“We try to not let it go any further, [but] it did because there’s never any acknowledgement of wrongdoing on his part,” Sahrane said.
In another incident, she said that Longinotti asked the women on the executive team, including herself, Galbraith, and Rachel Gauthier, the Student Life Coordinator, for more detailed breakdowns of their budgets.
The men on the executive team, Aloyse Muller, External Affairs Coordinator, Rami Yahia, Internal and Clubs Coordinator and Marcus Peters, Loyola Coordinator, were exempted from similar demands.
Efforts were made to try and to talk to Longinotti about his behaviour during executive meetings and multiple executives claimed to have had one-on-one talks with him, but nothing changed.
“Then, it was for little things.” Sahrane said. “We’re just exasperated, we’re drained. It’s so much work and so much emotional labour for everyone in the team.”
“We’re just exasperated, we’re drained. It’s so much work and so much emotional labour for everyone in the team.” —Sophia Sahrane, CSU Academic and Advocacy Coordinator
The group eventually made a collective decision to have Longinotti resign from his position.
“I think you try and work through things hoping that people will learn and be receptive,” Marshall-Kiparissis added. It got to a point, she explained, where the executive team realized they were not getting through to Longinotti.
Before the CSU general elections last March, the Act Together slate was created to run for all executive positions. Muller said that when he was helping to put a team together, he approached current CSU councillors.
“He was a councillor. You need to have some kind of knowledge of the CSU,” Muller said. “Being a councillor is definitely a good source of experience and knowing how this works.”
At the time Muller said he did not notice anything that would indicate his future problematic behaviour.
“We know that he was a part of a pretty bro-y gang, but we didn’t really know to what extent,” Galbraith later added.
Now without a finance coordinator, the CSU executive team will be splitting Longinotti’s former duties among themselves until they appoint someone new. Marshall-Kiparissis will recommend a councillor for the position and then the appointment will be voted on at a future council meeting.
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