A message from Kaytlyn Barber (No side)
Prior to my involvement with URSU, I had not heard of the Canadian Federation of Students. For this reason, after being elected as the Vice President Student Affairs of URSU in 2009, I made a personal goal to work with the CFS to ensure UofR students were receiving the level of service we deserve, and working for CFS to have an active presence on our campus. In an effort to accomplish this goal, I volunteered and was elected as the Saskatchewan Representative on the CFS National Executive in May 2009. In addition, I have acted as the CFS SK treasurer, and the UofR representative on the Saskatchewan Students’ Coalition.
I quickly discovered that being the Saskatchewan Representative was more of a commitment than I had anticipated. The provincial component, CFS SK, financial records were not returned from the previous CFS SK Executive and the bank account was not accessible. After numerous attempts to locate this information a decision was made to start from scratch and work to make CFS SK operational, which in cooperation with other URSU representatives we did.
UofR students did not have access to ISIC cards in Regina, and the resources had to be put in place to offer this service. Prior to September of 2010, I was the only one in Regina making ISIC cards. The argument has been made that URSU has denied CFS involvement on campus, or has failed to invite them to campus. In fact CFS has been invited to our campus on numerous occasions, and since the petition was sent, representatives have visited our campus two separate occasions. One such example would be an invitation to have a CFS representative visit our campus to bring materials and train us on how to create ISIC cards, so
that URSU could ensure they were provided to UofR students.
Some additional arguments being brought up on the no side include:
-CFS SK has not hired a provincial organiser since 2007, all the while UofR students have been paying a combined $89,000 per year of provincial and national dues
-The UofS Students’ Union does not consider themselves CFS members therefore it is difficult to lobby on a provincial level (where the majority of post-secondary funding decisions are made) without the support of the largest student body in the province
-Leaving the CFS is very difficult. It has taken a year to bring the opportunity for UofR students to be in a position to vote on continuing membership. In addition, if the ‘yes’ vote wins, we will not be permitted, by CFS bylaws, to hold a referendum for the next 5 years. That’s approximately $445,000 of UofR student money being spent on national and provincial dues with no guarantees of improved levels of service
-In the past two years, 12 other schools from across Canada have submitted petitions to request a vote on continued membership.
-The CFS does not publish their financial statements or budgets online.
-The UofR are members of the Saskatchewan Student Coalition which lobbies on a provincial level in cooperation with the UofS Students’ Union, FNUC Students’ Association, and SIAST (Kelsey and Woodland) . This organization does not charge a fee to students for membership.
Educate yourself on both sides, but on October 26-28, on behalf of URSU, I encourage you to VOTE NO on continued membership.
Vice-President of External Affairs