Unsure Future for Concordia Student Union Council Change

Referendum Question From Last Month’s By-Election Might Not Follow CSU Bylaws

  • Rearranging the council is currently up in the air, but nothing is expected to change until 2021. Photo Brian Lapuz

Despite passing in the Concordia Student Union by-election this past November, the change to the council is not guaranteed to happen.

The referendum question asked to change the amount of councillors from 30 to 16 and have a fixed allocation of 3 per faculty instead of it being based on the size of the student body.

The proper procedure was seemingly not followed, and actually implementing the change could take up to a year.

The referendum question as it was worded “will incur no change to the current composition of council,” said CSU Chairperson Caitlin Robinson over email.

Christopher Kalafatidis, the CSU General Coordinator, brought the question to referendum during the last CSU by-election. When asked about whether the question followed the bylaws, he seemed to be under the impression it did.

He declined to comment on the issue, saying he is “currently corresponding with a third party who is verifying that [he is] correct in [his] interpretation of the bylaws.”

The makeup of the student council is governed by bylaw 6.2.2, which states that “The composition not specified in 6.2.1 [which specifies a minimum two councillors per faculty] above shall be determined by the Council of Representatives.” This would mean the composition of council could not be determined by a referendum question.

Bylaw 6.2.2 also says “The composition decided upon shall appropriately reflect the composition of the membership in the different faculties of the University.”

Therefore, to achieve the council makeup as stated in the referendum question, the CSU would have to amend its bylaws according to the process outlined in bylaw 21.1.

Council would need to approve a motion to amend the bylaws with a two thirds majority. Then, the amendment would only come into effect after a simple majority in a referendum.

Considering all these factors, implementing the council changes could take up to a year. Council would have to pass a motion to amend to bylaws ahead of next year’s general election to be able to put it to referendum. Then, the new referendum question would need a simple majority vote. The new council makeup would then take effect in the 2021 CSU General Elections.

A previous version of this article referred to Christopher Kalafitidis as Chris Kalafatidis. The Link regrets this error.

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