What Is Next for the GSA?

2015 Elections of the Concordia University Graduate Students Association Have Come and Gone

The 2014-2015 year has not been a good year for the GSA because not much was delivered.

The current representatives were identified as a dysfunctional team without any clear objectives.

Some of these representatives were appointed by other directors to fill vacant council seats.

Despite the effort they may have put in, they fell short of expectations.

The current representatives who contested in the election’s proposed changes, despite having months to implement these changes. A current director who was a candidate had plans “to bring attention to the budget and the need for greater financial transparency and accountability”.

A lack of involvement of directors in the association besides council meetings, made it difficult for committees to meet and consider crucial issues. Council wasted time on numerous poorly conceived motions that failed to pass, and on the executive bursary policy.

The bursary was increased by 47 per cent to $1,100, prevented from being sent to the GA, and made retroactive to the summer semester, at the Aug. 27, Oct. 9, and Oct. 22, 2014 council meetings.

There was a closed session for over 45 minutes to approve the bursary at the Dec. 18, 2014 meeting, and advance payments were approved without following the policy at the Jan. 19, 2015 meeting.

The policy was adopted after a past executive failed to perform his duties. It is highly subjective, and is not based on a standard performance evaluation criteria.

A lack of experience is not supposed to be an excuse for poor performance. Learning on the job requires some specific skills, plus a considerable amount of time commitment. A Student representative should be able to volunteer their time for the association. They have an obligation to fulfil the responsibilities of their position.

Four failed general assemblies in the past year left a lot of business undone. Two of these assemblies which failed to reach quorum highlighted a lack of member engagement. The March 26 GA, which was able to reach quorum had the unchanged Oct. 23, 2014 GA packet.

Quorum was quickly lost when an out of date anti-austerity motion, which went through several amendments, made some members lose their patience and leave frustrated.

GSA needs to engage its members and meet their needs to remain relevant. A good starting point would be working together towards fulfilling the objectives of the association.

Alex Ocheoha is the incoming president of the Graduate Student Association for the 2015-2016 school year.

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