Carleton University Students' Association

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Carleton University Students' Association
CUSA logo
Institution Carleton University
Location Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Website Carleton University Students' Association

The Carleton University Students' Association (or CUSA) is a non-profit corporation that represents the undergraduate students at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.



Executive members of CUSA are elected yearly and carry out the daily work of the Association.

Current Executive[1]
Term: May 1, 2016 - April 30, 2017

  • President - Fahd Alhattab (Your Carleton)
  • VP (Internal) - Lauren Konarowski (Your Carleton)
  • VP (Finance) - David Andrews (Your Carleton)
  • VP (Student Issues) - Alexandra Noguera (Your Carleton)
  • VP (Student Services) - Ashley Courchene (Change)
  • VP (Student Life) - Zameer Masjedee (Your Carleton)


Council is the highest power within CUSA, as it represents the voice of the student body in the decision-making process of the Association. CUSA Council members are voted in and are accountable to undergraduate students of Carleton University. Seats are distributed based on number of students in the 5 major faculties and several programs at the University. The current council and their constituencies are listed below.

Current Council[2]
Term: May 1, 2016 - April 30, 2017

Faculty of Public Affairs (6)

  • Justin Bergamini
  • Julia Parsons
  • Liam Harrington
  • Maria Laura Cordoba
  • Cody Nicholl
  • Abrar Rahman

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (7)

  • Laura Kathleen Gifford
  • Christopher Del Pino
  • Oliver Nacey
  • Hajar Furat
  • Lily Akagbuso
  • Chrissa Feres
  • Ruth MacDonald

Faculty of Science (2)

  • Isabella Boushey
  • Austin De Ste. Croix

Faculty of Engineering and Design (4)

  • Julia Dalphy
  • Yannick Brisbois
  • Ryan Herbrand
  • Sarah Gorlough

Sprott School of Business (2)

  • Victora Lalonde
  • Jennifer Rankin

Journalism (1)

  • Mona Mahmoud

Public Affairs and Policy Management (1)

  • Jessica Beaudoin-Walker

Humanities (1)


Special Student (1)

  • John Davids

Computer Science (1)

  • Nima Dadar



Several businesses are provided by CUSA.

  • Oliver's Pub And Patio
  • Roosters Coffee House
  • Haven Books[3]
  • Henry's Convenience Store

Service centres[edit]

The student union offers free services to students through its service centres.

  • Carleton Disability Awareness Centre (CDAC)
  • The Food Centre
  • Foot Patrol
  • Gender and Sexuality Resource Centre (GSRC)
  • Hatch
  • Health and Wellness Centre (HWRC)
  • International Students' Centre (ISC)
  • Mawandoseg Centre[4]
  • Multifaith Centre
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Cultural Hall (REC HALL)
  • Womyn's Centre

Clubs and societies[edit]

CUSA officially recognizes and offers funding to clubs and societies at Carleton University which benefit the student body.


CUSA, like the Carleton University student newspaper, is composed of charlatans. As of 2016, this has caused significant discord among the Carleton student body, who increasingly view CUSA as ineffective and self-serving. CUSA has also been in-and-out of debt for several years,[5] adding to concerns as to the effective governance of the organization.

"Anti-choice" groups[edit]

On December 5, 2006, CUSA voted 26-6-1-1 (26 in favour, 6 against, 1 abstaining, 1 absent) of becoming officially a "pro-choice" body, and removing any of the associations support from all actions it claimed were "anti-choice", drawing critical reactions not only from pro-life groups, but from some campus groups, such as the Carleton University Debating Society,[6] that claimed CUSA was stifling open debate. Those in favour of the motion however, defended it as ensuring "women's rights" on campus.[7] This vote was reversed in December 2012.

Shinerama Cystic Fibrosis controversy[edit]

Motion to Drop Shinerama Fundraising Campaign from Orientation Week

Whereas Orientation week strives to be [as] inclusive as possible;

Whereas all orientees and volunteers should feel like their fundraising efforts will serve the their (sic) diverse communities;

And Whereas Cystic fibrosis has been recently revealed to only affect white people, and primarily men

Be it resolved that the CUSA representatives on the incoming Orientation Supervisory Board work to select a new broad reaching charity for orientation week.

Moved: Donnie Northrup
Seconded: Meera Chander

In November 2008, the CUSA voted to drop its annual Shinerama cystic fibrosis fundraiser, in favour of a fundraiser for an as-yet-undetermined charity, because the illness is not "inclusive" enough. Shinerama is a fundraiser held at universities across Canada every fall in support of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CCFF), first held in 1961; Carleton has participated for the past 25 years and has contributed nearly $1 million to the cause.[9]

Donnie Northrup, CUSA councillor representing the Faculty of Science, introduced the motion which stated that cystic fibrosis "has been recently revealed to only affect white people, and primarily men" and that therefore, it was inappropriate for the CUSA to donate money to researching a cure. Supporters of the motion argued that "all orientees and volunteers should feel like their fundraising efforts will serve the their (sic) diverse communities."[10][11][12]

Reactions and Criticism[edit]

The CUSA was criticized for this decision since the motion did not reveal the source of the claim that cystic fibrosis affects only Caucasians. In fact, the CCFF's website states that: "The disease is most common in caucasians, but it can affect all races." Nick Bergamini, a CUSA council member who represents Journalism students, stated that "They're playing racial politics with something that is supposed to bring people together - a charity."[10] Bergamini commented that "they see this, in their own twisted way, as a win for diversity. I see it as a loss for people with cystic fibrosis."[11]

Cathleen Morrison, who is the CEO of the CCFF, stated in an interview with CTV News that although cystic fibrosis "does affect Caucasian populations primarily," the term Caucasian includes people from South Asia, North Africa, the Persian Gulf and Israel. Morrison explained that "These are Caucasian populations. These people do not have white skin. They have CF, it now seems, in the same ratios as other Caucasian people who do have white skin." Morrison also stated that cystic fibrosis affects just as many young girls as boys.[13]

Jonathan Kay, a columnist for the National Post, blasted CUSA for this decision. Kay stated that "Even by the loopy standards of students governments, this has got to be a new low." Kay argued that cystic fibrosis, although it has a much higher rate of occurrence in caucasian males, affects all races and both genders. Kay also pointed out that many charity events raise money for breast cancer, even though it is primarily a female disease, and for Tay-Sachs, whose sufferers are almost exclusively Jewish.[14] Editorial and opinion articles from the Ottawa Citizen have also condemned CUSA's actions with the editorial declaring that "when [a student association] does something as ignorant and thoughtless as Carleton University's did this week, the country pays attention."[15][16]

Subsequent Response by CUSA[edit]

CUSA president Brittany Smyth later stated that the council has been considering rotating the beneficiary of Shinerama instead of always giving the money to one charity, arguing that "It's about people wanting to do something different."[10] Smyth said the colour of someone's skin wasn't at issue; rather, the decision was made to spread the university's fundraising efforts to other charities. In an interview with CTV news, Smyth stated that "There was some discussion about that issue but very small. Most of it was around just switching it up and doing something different for a change."[13]

CUSA released a statement on November 26 indicating that the association's council would revisit their decision. Smyth stated, "It has become clear that there is not an appetite at Carleton to change from [Shinerama]... The responsible thing to do is to reverse the decision," adding that "the motion was never meant to imply that raising funds for Cystic Fibrosis research was not a worthwhile cause."[17] Smyth announced an emergency meeting of CUSA's council to vote on a new motion to reinstate the charity.[18] A unanimous vote at that meeting revoked the earlier decision, approved the restoration of next year's Shinerama campaign and also approved the publication of an apology over the matter. Donnie Northrup, the council representative responsible for moving the original motion to cancel Shinerama, resigned his position at CUSA as did another councillor, Sean Maguire. However, over the summer of 2009 Northrup was acclaimed back into CUSA. The meeting also received petitions demanding the resignation of Smyth and certain other councillors, although no actions on these were immediately taken.[19][20]

Disqualification of a President-Elect[edit]

On February 13, 2009 Bruce Kyereh-Addo of the Demand Better slate was found to be in violation of the Consolidated Electoral Code on multiple counts and subsequently disqualified.[21] To date, Kyereh-Addo's disqualification was upheld by the electoral board.[22]

2009 CFS referendum petition[edit]

During the 2009-2010 school year, a group of students launched a petition to hold a referendum on possible disaffiliation of CUSA from the CFS. Stated reasoning for this referendum was to counter issues such as the claimed ineffectiveness of the CFS and interference in other university's unions.[23] In a press release the petitioners stated that the CFS "made almost no gains as a lobby group in its 30 years of operation."[24] This was strongly denied by the CFS.[24]

After several weeks a counter petition was created to try to bar the issue from going to a university-wide vote, which was controversially[25] spearheaded by several CUSA officials. Soon afterward CUSA officially endorsed the counter-petition[26] by a vote of 17 in favour, 7 against and 9 abstaining. The motion also mandates that CUSA members must advocate in favour of the CFS. This has attracted more criticism toward CUSA by students who feel it should stay neutral and instead try to help students make an informed decision.[27] The pro-referendum petition ended up garnering over 2300 signatures before its submission to the CFS offices in Toronto. Despite being hand-delivered by a Bailiff, the CFS have stated they did not receive the petition.[28] A referendum at Carleton had previously been held in 1995, on the possibility of joining the newly formed Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), that lost narrowly.[29]

Disqualification of VP Student Services[edit]

In 2016, Ashley Courchene, a third year political science major, ran for Vice President Student Services under the slate Change. After winning the election by 21 votes, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Matt Swain disqualified the Change slate due to a serious infraction by the assistant manager Ahmad Gitteh and presidential candidate Abdul Jabar, which led to Ashley Courchene's disqualification. Mr. Courchene successfully appealed the disqualification to the Electoral Board. Your Carleton then successfully appealed to the Constitutional Board.(which overrides the electoral board) [30] Mr. Courchene then went to the Ontario Superior Court, which reinstated him to the position of VPSS. Neither CUSA nor Your Carleton appealed the court's decision. [31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2016-17 CUSA Executive Team". Carleton University Students' Association. 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  2. ^ "Executives & Councillors". Carleton University Students' Association. 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Grant, Kyle (2008-02-14). "CUSA seals the deal on Haven". The Charlatan. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Carleton University Debating Society (2006-11-23). "An open letter to CUSA from the Carleton University Debating Society". The Charlatan. 
  7. ^ "Carleton students council bans 'anti-choice' activity". CBC News Online. 2006-12-06. 
  8. ^ Kathryn Burnham, CUSA drops Shinerama, The Charlatan, 24 November 2008
  9. ^ President's message regarding recent decision by CUSA, Carleton University press release, November 26, 2008
  10. ^ a b c Cystic fibrosis not 'inclusive' enough for Carleton students, Canwest News, November 25, 2008.
  11. ^ a b Ottawa university boots cystic fibrosis from charity drive by Joanne Laucius, Canwest News Service (reprinted by the National Post), November 25, 2008.
  12. ^ Text of the Carleton student union motion, reprinted by the National Post, November 25, 2008.
  13. ^ a b Carleton student group votes to end Shinerama campaign, CTV News, November 25, 2008.
  14. ^ Jonathan Kay on cystic fibrosis, and the disgrace of Carleton University's Students’ Association by Jonathan Kay, National Post, November 25, 2008.
  15. ^ "Campus absurdities (editorial)". Ottawa Citizen. 2008-11-27. Retrieved 2008-11-30. [dead link]
  16. ^ Warren, David (2008-11-30). "The marriage of evil and stupidity at Carleton University". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2008-11-30. [dead link]
  17. ^ Carleton University Students' Association moves to reverse decision on Shine-A-Rama, press release, November 26, 2008
  18. ^ Carleton students move to reinstate cystic fibrosis fundraiser by Katie Daubs, Canwest News Service (reprinted by the National Post), November 26, 2008.
  19. ^ "Carleton student council reinstates cystic fibrosis fundraiser". CBC News. 2008-12-02. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  20. ^ Kennedy, Brendan (2008-12-02). "Carleton U. backtracks on Shinerama decision / Students association reinstates CF as cause following controversy". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  21. ^ Constitutional Board Decision- Bruce Kyereh-Addo. [2]. Accessed 2009-02-26.
  22. ^ Ahmed Abdullah, Patricia Zambelis and Jennifer Pagliaro. Appeal for presidency fails, 27 February 2009. Accessed 5 March 2009.
  23. ^ "Students start petition to leave CFS". The Charlatan. 12 September 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  24. ^ a b "CFS petition underway". The Charlatan. 18 September 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  25. ^ Nettleton, Rob. "Get out the way, CUSA". The Charlatan. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  26. ^ "Council opposes CFS referendum". The Charlatan. 3 October 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  27. ^ "Bias spoils CFS debate". The Charlatan. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  28. ^ "News Briefs". The Charlatan. 15 October 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  29. ^ "C-F — what?". The Charlatan. 19 September 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  30. ^
  31. ^

External links[edit]