Petition to recall CSU's
Concordia students are circulating two separate petitions demanding
that Concordia Student Union president Rob Green be recalled to election
after Green admitted that nearly $200,000 of student money has been
embezzled during his presidency.
The CSUs bylaws stipulate that when a petition with 2,086 student
signatures demanding the presidents recall is submitted to the
chief returning officer, a by-election is automatically called. If Greens
presidency is recalled, he could run in the by-election.
Petitions demanding Greens resignation are not binding according
to the CSUs bylaws. If the president was presented with a petition
demanding his resignation and refused, students would have no legal
Anthony Maragna, a Political Science student and executive at the Political
Science Student Association (PSSA), drafted a petition two weeks ago
and with the help of several other students, has been actively soliciting
signatures since then.
Another student, Andrew Bandes, the sales manager at CJLO, has been
circulating a petition of his own for a couple of weeks. A spokesperson
for PSSA hopes the two petitions will eventually be merged, but was
unsure if such a move would be recognized by the CSUs chief returning
- by Jane Shulman
With their money out of reach in frozen funds, many student clubs and
associations are feeling the aftermath of the CSU fraud.
The embezzlement of $196,000 has left most of the CSUs 70 clubs
and associations with the prospect of cancelling or postponing many of
their events scheduled for the term.
Until the CSU redesigns a new budget, the student union will not be issuing
cheques. Specific funding that clubs may need must be overseen by CSU
Clubs Commissioner Chris Schultz, who is regulating an emergency fund
Cheques signed after the beginning of October are now invalid due to the
change in signing authority, which has shifted from the VP Finance and
the president to the CSUs general manager Frederick Stom and the
council chair Patrice Blais.
The embezzlement has affected clubs in various ways. Those that put on
larger-scale events on campus are feeling more pain, but even clubs that
put on smaller events are finding themselves in a financial bind.
Its hit us in little ways. Theres no funding to even
make a new banner. In that respect, its been hard, just because
of little things like photocopies and colour printing, said Yesim
Ilkin, the president of Amnesty International.
At the moment, money for any of her clubs activities or materials
are coming out of Ilkins pocket, not from the emergency fund. The
money Im going to ask for is too little, but its enough for
me that it makes a substantial difference in my quality of living,
Ilkin has kept the receipts from the clubs expenditures and will
see what the CSU can give back to her later. Despite all the drawbacks,
though, she is not upset with the CSUs failure to prevent the embezzlement.
These things are very hard to run. Rob Green made a mistake. These
things happen. Its going to be a catalyst for change, she
Faculty associations have also been hit hard by the fraud. The Arts and
Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) especially has been feeling
the effect. Unlike the Commerce and Administration Student Association
(CASA) and the Engineering and Computer Science Association (ECA), ASFA
is not an accredited Faculty association, meaning that it does not levy
student fees through its own Faculty.
Our funding is almost 100-per-cent dependent on what the CSU will
give us. We are presently in a very tight financial situation, said
Riccardo Filippone, VP Finance of ASFA.
ASFAs objectives for the school year include creating its own interactive
Web site, producing a bimonthly newsletter for Arts and Science students,
providing services to its many departments, and organizing social events
and large departmental orientations.
ASFAs finances will be restricted because its departmental associations
budgets will be severely cut. Our budget did not get cut
its a very small budget. All the projects that were going to be
used to unify the Arts and Science programs all those funds will
have to be diverted to making up for the fact that the departments now
will have less money, Filippone said.
Filippone is also VP Internal of the Model United Nations, who are experiencing
similar financial problems. The Model UN organizes several trips to out-of-province
conferences yearly, so funding is a major concern. Last week, club members
went to Washington for a conference.
The Model UN has an annual budget of $40,000. This year, it has a budget
of $7,000 and has only obtained half of it, $3,500.
We are the most underfunded association, Filippone said. Now
our budget will have to be cut for the second semester, which will mean
that students will have to pay more for each conference and will be able
to attend fewer conferences which, essentially, is the whole purpose
of the club existing,
The Model UN had to cancel an event at Reggies a few weeks ago due
to the clubs lack of funding. Other clubs have had to follow the
same route. The Liberal Arts Society, which annually organizes a theme
weekend up north for its students in the fall, will have to postpone the
event until CSU funding is restored.
At this point in time, no money is going out because were
trying to reconstruct the budget, to make sure we know everything thats
coming in, and then we have to go to the bank. Its a very lengthy
process, said CSU Clubs Commissioner Chris Schultz.
Schultz is asking clubs that need immediate funding to drop off proposals
to him explaining what they need funding for, and he will get them signed.
The CSU clubs budget fund last year was $140,000, which it is hoping to
preserve this year. The year before it was $80,000.