The union held a special council meeting to approve bylaw changes and pass a new budget
The Concordia Student Union passed its annual budget, ratified bylaw changes, and made further appointments to empty positions during a special council meeting held on June 22.
2022-2023 budget released
Though it was originally meant to be released during the CSU’s regular council meeting on June 8, the union’s annual budget needed more time to be finalized, said Finance Coordinator Meryem Benallal. The budget’s presentation also had to be delayed due to minor technical errors.
Similar to previous annual CSU budgets, this year’s plan saw a cost increase of 3 per cent, accounting for inflation and other broader economic factors. Fee-levy groups whose initiatives passed during the general election in March saw a boost in their budgets, while additional funding was directed towards the Loyola campus.
“This mandate, we said we should think about students who frequent the Loyola campus, so we’ll be spending more money there,” Benallal said.
The annual budget is set to put the CSU in a deficit of $166,020, but that number is purposefully overinflated, Benallal added. Internal Affairs Coordinator Fawaz Halloum elaborated on this, saying that this is a standard practice for the budget.
“These numbers will be very different than the ones we see in May [2023, when the full report is released]. If there’s a surplus for a non-profit, we’re not doing our job,” he said.
Updated: new chairperson selected
After nearly an hour of closed-session deliberation, current CSU minute-keeper Michelle Lam was selected to be the next chairperson, replacing former chair Caitlin Robinson. During the past two CSU council meetings, Lam demonstrated her knowledge of procedural matters as she guided the new executives through motions, voting, and objections.
New bylaws instated
Originally organized months ago by former Academic and Advocacy Coordinator Hannah Jamet-Lange, the motion to amend the CSU’s bylaws was passed in May 2022. Current coordinator Asli Isaaq presented her predecessor’s work and the council voted to instate them. “These new changes even out the playing field,” said Isaaq regarding specific word changes and procedural requirements.
Much of the changes were in terminology, seeing as the old bylaws made references to the “president” of the CSU, a position that has not officially existed since 2016. The position was replaced by that of the general coordinator, a less hierarchical role, Lam explained. “Previously, the structure had the president above the other executives,” she said.
This even playing field, as Isaaq described it, will now be reflected in the language of the new bylaws. In addition, there was a change made to how many executives or councilors are required to enact policy changes, once again decentralizing the role of the general coordinator to further democratize CSU procedures. This move aligns better with the union’s values, Isaaq noted.
Some councilors, like Nassim Boutalbi, were shocked that such an approval process was required at all. He questioned section 7.6.1., saying that there should be even more democratic methods of getting work accomplished.
External affairs seat filled
The other major appointment of the night came when council members finally selected an external affairs and mobilization coordinator. After deliberating for another hour in closed session, council members selected Julianna Smith to fill the position. Smith was already a council member and an active voice in student politics at Concordia.