Structural changes to CSA in senior administration’s interests
This past Wednesday, students voted to create huge structural changes at the Central Student Association Annual General Meeting. As a result, the student union will have four executives instead of five, executives will not have the right to vote on the CSA board of directors, and the CSA now has a hierarchical, presidential structure instead of a non-hierarchical one.
Brenda Whiteside, the vice-president of student affairs, attended most of the meeting, including the debate about the structural changes. This was the first time I’ve seen a senior administrator at an AGM. She even talked with some members of the CSA board of directors during the meeting.
It’s in the interest of the University’s senior administration for there to be a weak CSA. Senior administration does not want to be questioned on increasing tuition fees each year. They do not want to face protest from students for affordable public education, more mental health resources on campus, and other issues in the student interest. They also do not want students and workers to work together in coalition for a university that answers to the community and not to private corporations.
Now, the CSA executives are seen as staff instead of political activists supposed to fight for student interests. They have less power to build participatory campaigns in the student interests without a vote on the CSA board. And now, a majority of votes on the CSA board of directors come from appointed seats, instead of seats directly elected by the student membership.
It’s the job of students to demand a CSA that fights for their interests, builds the student movement, and isn’t afraid to build student power instead of focus on networking with the senior administration. If this doesn’t happen, students in huge debt from soaring tuition fees, and people who face so many barriers to university they cannot even access the institution, will no longer be represented by the CSA.