OTTAWA, Nov. 23, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Students across Canada converged on the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) general meeting to protest CFS' refusal to liberate students who have voted to leave the CFS. CFS is currently involved in multiple lawsuits trying to force students who have voted in democratic referenda to leave the CFS to continue paying CFS fees indefinitely.
"Since 2009, students at about 15 schools have petitioned to leave the CFS, yet no student organization has successfully left without a lawsuit. In several cases, students have voted overwhelmingly to leave the CFS in democratic referenda. CFS has refused to recognize the results and claims that these students are still members and owes CFS fees", explains Jonathan Mooney, Secretary-General of McGill's Post-Graduate Student Society (PGSS). PGSS members voted 86% in favor of leaving the CFS in 2010 but CFS refuses to recognize the results and continues to demand fees.
"CFS' refusal to release students who have voted to leave CFS demonstrates a complete lack of respect for freedom of association. Students are being held hostage by an organization with questionable transparency and accountability, lobbying the federal government when education is a provincial matter", adds Melissa Kate Wheeler, President of the Concordia Student Union (CSU). CSU members voted 72% to leave the CFS in 2010 but CFS still claims they are members and owe CFS fees.
CFS' process to dissociate is intentionally filled with hurdles and technicalities designed to trap students into paying CFS fees forever. CFS uses student money to pay lawyers to litigate against any student organization trying to leave, when this money should serve students' interests instead.
Students from over ten schools across Canada protested with giant lobster traps today at the CFS annual meeting to denounce CFS' abusive practices towards the democratic will of its past or actual members. Lobster traps illustrate how CFS works: students can get into CFS, but can never get out.
Students at McGill's Post-Graduate Student Society, the Concordia Student Union, and the Graduate Student Association of Concordia are involved in lawsuits with the CFS, while students from the University of Toronto Graduate Student Union, Capilano Students Union, Laurentian University Graduate Students' Association, and the Dawson Student Union have petitioned to leave the CFS this year.
McGill's Post-Graduate Student Society (PGSS) is the representative body for the 8500 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows at McGill University.
The Dawson Student Union (DSU) is the representative body for the 11000 students at Dawson College.
The Concordia Student Union (CSU) is the representative body for the 36000 undergraduate students at Concordia University.
The Graduate Student Association (GSA) of Concordia University is the representative body for the 7500 graduate students at Concordia University.
The Capilano Students' Union (CSU) is the representative body for the 7500 graduate students at Capilano University.
SOURCE: POST-GRADUATE STUDENTS' SOCIETY OF MCGILL UNIVERSITY (PGSS)
For further information:
McGill's Post-Graduate Student Society (PGSS)
514 686 4770
Dawson Student Union
514 743 4374
Melissa Kate Wheeler
Concordia Student Union
514 432 5125
Graduate Student Association of Concordia University
514 655 6687
UBC Students' Union - Okanagan
250 515 2188
Educational Issues Coordinator
Capilano Students' Union
604 789 6660
Laurentian University Graduate Students Association
705 929 9135