After several drafts and numerous lively discussions on Council, it is now time for undergraduates to vote on proposed changes to the Concordia Student Union bylaws.
As a member of the CSU Council for two years I have seen the proposed amendments and have been privileged enough to be a part of this process. These changes will give more power to individual students to hold their elected representatives accountable.
These bylaws limit the powers of the CSU’s executive thereby ensuring better governance and accountability. According to the current CSU bylaws, the president could use a presidential decree to make decisions, bypassing the CSU Council that serves as the checks and balances of the union.
This decree has been abused in recent years when presidents were reluctant to call special Council meetings. The new bylaws guarantee that such a decree cannot be used to bypass Council.
The proposed bylaw changes also simplify the procedure to remove an elected executive member from office by replacing the recall procedure with an impeachment procedure.
The recall procedure has never been used successfully because the people in office could easily interfere and delay it long enough to finish their mandate. The impeachment procedure would allow students to replace an elected official that is not working in the best interests of students or not fulfilling his or her mandate.
In this case, the person will have to leave office immediately after a vote takes place in a Special General Meeting called for that purpose.
The new bylaws also empower CSU Council and individual students to keep the CSU executive in check. The frequency of Council meetings has been increased to ensure the executive’s transparency and accountability due to their need to report to Council, the media and to students at large in these public meetings.
I am thrilled to see this opportunity to promote and uphold direct democracy at Concordia. Quorum for Special General Meetings has been decreased from 2.5 per cent to 450 students (representing roughly 1.5 per cent as approved by the SGM at the WHALE in February 2011).
This will facilitate the calling of these meetings more frequently to consult students and make important decisions directing the Union.
Going forward, we can actively hold our elected representatives accountable to their mandate! On Nov. 29, 30 and Dec. 1, I encourage you to empower yourselves! Vote yes to the proposed changes to the CSU bylaws!
CSU Arts & Science Councillor
School of Community, Public Affairs & Policy Studies
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