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November 23, 2000 CSU knot still being untangled



Patrice Blais is working on his degree in Political Science, but he’s also getting a practical education he didn’t bargain for.

As chair of the Concordia Student Union council, Blais is holding things together in the wake of an embezzlement of about $196,000. However, he feels that with the addition of some checks and balances, the CSU will survive.

An as-yet-unnamed employee of the CSU has been charged with theft. The CSU hired a forensic auditor, whose report will be completed and sent to the MUC police today.

To that loss must be added fees for legal and auditor’s services incurred as a result of the theft, and some careless budget procedures. These include the tendency of CSU administrations to claim advances on the $625,000 a year they anticipate from student fees collected by the university.

As a result of Blais’s research, the CSU has asked the university to guarantee a bank loan of $500,000 to meet this year’s expenses. Ironically, the Union just finished paying off a loan incurred as the result of financial mismanagement during the Charlene Nero administration of 1992.

As chief electoral officer, Blais pulled all the stops out in the CSU’s accreditation drive last month, using roving poll stations to get votes from 25 per cent of the electorate on what, for most students, was an obscure issue. The financial scandal broke right after the accreditation campaign ended successfully, and Blais has become exhausted with the continued pressure.

“I’m working really hard to put this crisis behind us, and apart from having to pay off the loan, I’m optimistic that it will be in the past by January. If any student has any questions, my door is always open.” He can be reached at pblais@colba.net

— Barbara Black

CSU plans assembly on Middle East

The Concordia Student Union has scheduled a general assembly on November 28 to discuss the following resolution:

“Be it resolved that the CSU call on the Canadian government to put pressure on the Israeli government to implement the United Nations resolution number 242. This pressure should include cutting diplomatic and economic ties with the Israeli state.”

The university has received many queries about tension between supporters of both sides in the Middle East conflict. It has remained just that, tension, but there is concern about the level of civility on campus.

In a message to the internal and external communities, Rector Frederick Lowy said, “We respect and uphold free speech, provided this occurs in a civil fashion. We also respect and uphold the right to peaceful assembly, provided this does not interfere with the rights of others to make use of campus facilities. However, we deplore and will not tolerate harassment, intimidation, threats or violence. Conduct that gives rise to any of these situations will be dealt with promptly, in accordance with Concordia’s Code of Rights and Responsibilities.”