Union quiet as others jump ship

TRUSU plays silent or oblivious as other student unions exit the Canadian Federation of Students

Karla Karcioglu, Roving Editor Ω

Students will return to the polls for the Sept. 25 byelection. Jessica Klymchuk/The Omega

Local 15 of the Canadian Federation of Students claims not to know that more than a dozen more schools are trying to leave the organization, despite having been told on numerous occasions. Jessica Klymchuk/The Omega

Fifteen Canadian universities have decided to leave the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) according to a Sept. 4 news release from an unnamed group speaking for the departing unions.

The CFS is a national organization which formed in 1981 to unite students across the country and create a unified voice to express issues in post-secondary education and to provide services to student unions at universities.

The news release concludes by calling students to action, saying “It is time to defend the interests of students; it is time to say no to CFS.”

According to an article from The Other Press, “Students across the country state that the national organization has become corrupt, operated in a militaristic top-down approach, and does not effectively advocate on students issues. They also claim that CFS’ finances are not properly kept and that use of funding has been questionable.”

The press release states that if this group of universities successfully leaves the CFS, it may leave the organization without representation in B.C., Manitoba and Quebec. The press releases also emphasizes the CFS having a “lack of representation” in Alberta and the Maritimes.

TRUSU is currently a member of CFS. Students pay $8.52 per semester as a part of their student fees for CFS membership.

As members, students gain access to a student discount card, Ufile.ca (a tax filing service), the International Student Identity Card, travel discounts and access to the Student Work Abroad Program.

Services for TRUSU include a student union directory, handbooks and day planners, access to the National Student Health Network and a student union website.

TRUSU president Dylan Robinson said he knows nothing about the recent issues with student unions leaving CFS, despite being asked about the movement by The Omega on at least two occasions over the past three weeks.

Leif Douglas, TRUSU VP external and TRUSU’s student representative for CFS, declined to comment.

Ashleigh Ingle, a University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union president and spokesperson of the university group leaving CFS, told Canadian University Press that some of the universities involved may not want to express their intentions openly because in the past it has attracted attention from CFS campaigners.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story misstated CFS’ representation in Alberta and the Maritimes. It has since been corrected.