The results of the Concordia Student Union referendum on accreditation were as follows: 4,363 votes for, 3,127 votes against, with 166 spoiled ballots.
The bid for accreditation automatically failed, because about 900 students fewer than 25 per cent of the student body voted.
The CSU is generally recognized as the voice of Concordia students, and as such, sends representatives to the Board of Governors, University Senate, the Concordia Council for Student Life and other decision-making bodies -- but it is not officially accredited by the Quebec government as such.
Central to the campaign mounted over a 12-day period by CSU president David Smaller and his executive was the effort to make students in Commerce and Engineering pay student fees to the CSU. These students already pay fees to their respective association.
About a decade ago, the Commerce and Administration Students Association (CASA) and the Engineering and Computer Science Students Association (ECA) broke off from the main group, then called CUSA. Both have a fairly homogeneous student bodies, and organize many activities and services for their constituents. In the past, they have paid a lump sum to the CSU for shared services, but the negotiation of these service contracts is often fraught with conflict.
The referendum campaign itself degenerated into charges and counter-charges, and appears to have left the CSU somewhat dispirited. In an article in last week's Link, Smaller raised the possibility of another referendum on accreditation next fall. Other options include breaking the CSU into a federation of department associations, or giving the students of Arts and Science and Fine Arts similar status to that of the ECA and CASA.
Asked to comment on the referendum, CSU president David Smaller e-mailed the following message: "I think that more concentration should have been put on informing students from all Faculties on the benefits of a university-wide union. The CSU, as a whole, has learned from this experience."
Commenting on a news item in the student press regarding the sale of CUSACorp, the CSU's commercial arm, Smaller called it "an exaggerated myth."
"There are no plans for the CSU to give up management of Reggie's, for example. The plan is to reorganize how commercial and service-oriented aspects of the CSU are conducted. We're merely hoping to dump the ineffective corporate shell that is CUSACorp."
At one time, the CSU's predecessor, CUSA (the Concordia
University Student Association), owned a number of business
ventures. However, these have either closed down or been sold
off. Virtually the only holding left is Reggie's, the student bar
in the Henry F. Hall Building.
- Barbara Black