Ethnic students without representative council

Ethnic students without representative council
CSU and student groups blame each other for disorganization
THE LINK • 26.25 • MARCH 14, 2006 • HTTP://THELINK.CONCORDIA.CA/NEWS/

BY CAROLINE FERNANDEZ
The International/Ethnic Associations Council, which represents 13 cultural student groups, has been out of service over the 2005-2006 school year. The umbrella association, which includes groups like the Latin American Student Association, has spent the past six months attempting to plan elections with Concordia Student Union VP clubs and spaces, Catherine Reimer. The election was supposed to be held before Oct. 31, but never took place.
“We spoke to VP Clubs and [Space], and she has been promising us to run elections since the beginning of the year,” Rawan Hadid of the Arab Student Association said. “I’ve spoken to her about it personally several times, and nothing; we’ve got nothing.”
Reimer disputes this. “I don’t take care of the organizations’ elections, they need to take care of it. They got in touch with me about the elections at the very last minute,” Reimer said. “I’ve had several complaints from the groups beneath [the I/EAC] about nominations not being accepted because their deadline wasn’t advertised properly.”
The I/EAC plans the Global Village at Concordia and allots budgets to groups according to their activity level. It also acts as an intermediary between its clubs and the CSU. “A council of members from different groups would help make decisions for groups underneath it,” said Sushmeet Sunger of the Indian Student Association. Organizations under the I/EAC claim they’ve made a continuous effort to plan an election. “I feel that the CSU had other important things to look at and they were sidelining this… How hard is it to book a room and have elections? This is not our problem.”
Reimer said that the I/EAC is at fault due to their disorganization. She told I/EAC members that to proceed they’d need to properly inform members about elections and find a space other than their offices to hold elections.
Throughout the school year, it seems many of the groups were unaware of how to handle their activities. An interim government of three people was instated, but didn’t last. “Associations have been sending bills to the I/EAC; [they didn’t realize the organization is defunct] because there has been no communication and it is procedure to submit them to the I/EAC. But no one responded since it never formed,” Sunger said. “There’s just a general lack of responsibility on the part of the CSU. They should’ve intervened earlier or they should’ve had an information session to notify these clubs of the fact that
I/EAC clubs would be reporting to them.”
He questioned why the CSU held a gala update on CSU responsibilities and never discussed the absence of the I/EAC. Instead, I/EAC members were expected to approach CSU executives following the meeting. “All of the clubs under the I/EAC are still functioning very well. It’s simply the governing body of the I/EAC that hasn’t been able to form completely,”
Reimer said when asked why the council never formed. “They’ve had a really hard time holding elections.” Still, member groups had nominated students to act as council members if the advisory board were to form. Typically, upon examination of their proposed events, the I/EAC either honours the requests or withholds money from clubs asking for funding. “A lot of the associations are dead and a lot of the money is going to end up going back to the CSU,” Hadid said.
Reimer says that in order for the I/EAC to maintain their non-profit status, their balance must amount to zero by the end of the year. The I/EAC’s finances are managed by the CSU since the 2004-2005 academic year. Before, the Dean of Students managed the accounts. The mandate of the I/EAC found on its website states that the organization encourages cultural diversity on campus, by providing a “safe environment” for members to “share their cultures with each other.” With the CSU directly handling the I/EAC groups within their broader mandate of tending to all students needs, members fear the I/EAC council will no longer exist next school year.
“I don’t want to take [the I/EAC] over,” Reimer said. “I want them to continue being a non- political club… so they don’t lose their non-profit status.”
“I/EAC as an umbrella organization is becoming a dead organization, not because it didn’t have people in it but because it didn’t form,” Sunger stated. “I know for a fact none of the associations want to come directly under the CSU.”

 

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