Entrance to the office of the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU). Photo: Carolyn Levett.
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Letter criticizes federation’s structure, calls for reform

Toronto (NUWire)—The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) is one of the 10 signatories of an open letter to the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) criticizing the federation’s structure and what they call a lack of transparency.

In addition to the UTSU, the signatories include:

  • The Carleton University Students’ Association
  • The Cape Breton University Students’ Association
  • The Ryerson Students’ Union
  • The Laurentian University Students’ General Association
  • The University of Regina Students’ Union
  • The Kwantlen Student Association
  • The Lakehead University Students Union
  • The University of British Columbia Students’ Union Okanagan
  • The OCAD Students’ Union.

The letter highlights the signatories’ concerns that include the availability of the meeting minutes, bylaws, policies, and financial information. It also covers the “overly burdensome” defederation process, the power of the CFS staff, the “closed, exclusive nature of general meetings,” and the “lack of space for dissent and for constructive criticism.”

The 10 student associations plan to pass reform motions at the CFS Annual General Meeting in November.

“Our motivation for these reforms comes from a desire to strengthen student organizations in Canada to be truly representative and to further reflect the will of our members,” reads a portion of the letter.

Despite the criticisms, the 10 signatories say that they remain committed to the CFS’s principles and support “the existence of a progressive student movement that advances the interests of all students.”

The UTSU had been a member of the CFS since 2003 and is listed under Local 98.

Student activists unaffiliated with the UTSU executive have launched a petition campaign called You Decide U of T in an attempt to stage a referendum on continued membership with the CFS.