CTR Home Internal  Relations and Communications Home About CTR Publication Schedule CTR Archives

April 11, 2002 CanDo slate wins the student election



A well-organized campaign paid off for the CanDo team in the Concordia Student Union election, as the slate led by experienced student politicians won out over the Representative Union slate by 327 votes. Sabine Freisinger, who has involved with the CSU for several years, will take over as student president as of June 1.

The university administration’s freeze on the hand-over of CSU funds will end on that date. This was part of the university’s undertaking when it imposed the freeze in the muddled aftermath of a by-election held in late November.

The election results were a disappointment for political science student Chris Schulz, who had won the November by-election, only to have it contested and finally annulled by the CSU’s judicial board. The by-election had been called because of dissatisfaction with the CSU executive, expressed particularly by business and engineering students.

Voting went smoothly

The voting on March 27-29 went more smoothly. The CanDo slate got 1,718 votes, to the RU’s 1,396. One hundred and five ballots were spoiled.

About half the students elected to the Council of Representatives were CanDo supporters. One-third were RU supporters, and the rest are unaligned.

Tom Keefer, who was banned from university property by the Rector last year and is not considered a student by the administration, was elected to the Council as a representative of independent students. While he has not been allowed to register for any courses, according to the CSU he is still a student, and therefore eligible for election.

The Sodexho meal plan was one of the referendum questions, and was denounced by a wide margin (2,639 to 378). (See CTR, Mar. 28, page 4.) The meal plan is complusory only for first-yeat students in residence, of whom there are 144 this year.

For the second time, a proposal to increase substantially the non-academic clubs’ fee paid by students was turned down.

The ballot included two candidates for the post of Dean of Students, interim CSU president Patrice Blais and, without his consent, Dean of Students Donald Boisvert. Blais “won” by nearly 700 votes (1,708 compared to 1,030), but this result is irrelevant, as the Dean of Students is an appointed administrator of the university.








Sabine Friesinger

Sabine Friesinger is the new CSU president

Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

Victory surprised even her, says Sabine Friesinger

by Sigalit Hoffman

Sabine Friesinger, the incumbent president of the Concordia Student Union, is still recovering from the shock.

“It’s really surprising. We were certain that he [opposition candidate Chris Schulz] was going to win,” she said.

The head of the CanDo slate won the presidency of the CSU by a margin of 327 votes. Friesinger was thrilled at the turnout for this election, in which just over 3,200 students cast their ballots, and she hopes that students will get involved in more than just the electoral process.

“It’s really encouraging to us that so many people came out to vote,” she said. “More people are looking at the CSU and noticing what’s going on. Hopefully we’ll get those people involved in the CSU, not just in voting.”

The 24-year old journalism and communications major has had a long history of involvement in student leadership. She served on the CSU executive two years ago as VP internal, and as the Concordia representative for the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). This year, Friesinger will step into the CSU presidency just as her term as head of the Quebec CFS chapter ends. Friesinger said her “do-it-yourself” attitude led her to student politics.

“I’m a student, and I have certain things I like to see done and I like to make things happen,” she said.

Friesinger decided to run for CSU president because she wanted to give students an alternative to Chris Schulz, the head of the Representative Union. Schulz had run for president in two earlier CSU elections. He lost the first time, and his win was nullified the second, after a judicial board declared the election invalid.

Plans are already in the works

The incumbent CSU president is not taking her future duties lightly, and has many plans for the next school year, like bringing the Sustainable Campus Initiative to Concordia. The Sierra Youth Coalition started this program, and does a complete evaluation of the university. The group checks energy efficiency on campus, and how it can be improved.

Friesinger is also planning to improve food services at the Loyola campus, in response to the referendum question in which students rejected the current Sodexho meal plan for students in residence by over 2,200 votes.

First-year students living at the Loyola campus residence, of whom there are 144 this year, must buy the plan, which many have criticized for not accommodating the dietary restrictions of some students. Friesinger wants to help the volunteer soup kitchen The People’s Potato expand to the West End campus.

“Enrolment is going up, [and] a lot of students [who] go to Loyola rarely go dowtown,” she said. “We have to improve our presence there.”

She also plans to create a Web site where students will be able to post teacher evaluations.
Despite Friesinger’s experience in student leadership, she said she learned a lot from this election. Though at first daunted by the task of campaigning in classes, she was pleasantly surprised by the response. “We had applause in the classrooms.”

Another thing she learned is not to stereotype students according to their subject of study. “Students are very diverse,” she said. “We have to represent that.”