The Director of ASFA

President-elect Speaks About Apathy, Accreditation and Allowances

Alex Gordon, the president-elect of the Arts and Science Federation of Associations, is keeping mum about his plans for his time in office.
Running unopposed, a spiky coiffed Gordon was elected with 77.4 per cent of the 855 votes cast during the ASFA election, which ran from Feb. 15 to 17.

“You’ll find out what my projects are,” Gordon told The Link a week after his victory. “I’m not going to say it, I’m going to do it.”

Having yet to convene the other five members of his executive—each ASFA VP is elected independently—Gordon wasn’t ready to comment on what his administration’s direction would be.

The president-elect confirmed that he would sit down with his cabinet by the end of the week to “get our heads straight” and sketch out the path for the representatives of Concordia’s 15,500 Arts and Science students.

Expect ASFA to maintain the status quo next year, as only half of the candidates ran opposed and none of the executives-elect ran any original policy platforms, preferring instead to campaign with platitudes. Despite his light policy agenda, Gordon said he had already committed to his first duty at the Federation: ending the student indifference that marked an election with a 5.7 per cent turnout.

“The fight’s not over. This was only step one, winning the election,” said Gordon. “It’s an ever-growing office, the next immediate step is Member Associations. MA elections are this week and I want to get the right people in there, people who want to do good and get involved because that’s the foundation of ASFA, getting solid Member Associations.”

ASFA’s Council is composed of delegates from the 27 MAs who represent the programs of the faculty of Arts and Science.

“I’m going to try to create interest and seek those who are interested,” Gordon said of the MA elections that will largely be held from March 1 to 4.

Gordon will be inheriting a Federation from outgoing President Aaron Green that has undergone a series of unresolved shakeups. The most serious of those challenges to ASFA was an attempt by the Mathematics and Statistics Students Association to seek accreditation.

MASA’s announcement came after the small Math association felt that it was disproportionately punished for violating a financial rule earlier in the year. The punishment led to ASFA removing MASA’s budget and putting it under a tight fiscal leash.

With accreditation, MASA would hold the same legal status as ASFA and could begin collecting money directly from its own students.

“If MAs want to get accredited, I don’t necessarily see a problem with it, as long as they don’t try to leave ASFA or change what we do,” said Gordon, who stressed the added weight of ASFA’s collective voice.
The president-elect was not as friendly about the idea of accredited MAs collecting an independent fee levy.

“That’s another can of worms,” said Gordon, possibly setting up a fight in the new council with MAs seeking a more stable source of funding.

Gordon admitted that he might seek to “tweak” the budget, eliminating some of the inequality in the budgets given out the MAs. In November, an investigation by The Link found that some MAs were being given far more than the average of $5.70 per student doled out by ASFA. One MA, the tiny Science College, received nearly $40 per student, the most per student of any member association.

While the president-elect considered fighting tuition a “paramount issue,” he was unsure about what role ASFA would play.

“I don’t know how the needs of students and the mandates of all the student association, whether it be the Concordia Student Union or others, how in line they are,” said Gordon.” I want to wait until we can all get back together and make sure we are all on the same page.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 24, published March 7, 2011.