Last year’s RSU activist of the year is calling for Ryerson to leave the Canadian Federation of Students, citing the CFS’ ineffectiveness.
Second-year arts and contemporary studies student Dionysos Potamoskulos says he’s pushing the school to leave because the CFS has been ineffective in meeting its goals.
“It’s failed its mandate,” he says. “It hasn’t been able to adapt its tactics or change in trying to meet its goals which includes affordable tuition.”
His chief complaint is that the CFS has been unable to fight rising tuition.
Potamoskulos says a “core group” of students at Ryerson is joined by students from 15 universities including York University, the University of Toronto and Laurentian University in a group called Time to Mobilize.
He says he approached the RSU about the campaign, which will begin next week, and hopes it will join the fight.
RSU president Melissa Palermo said last week, “I am surprised that students are looking to initiate this because we’ve had a good response to our campaigns and working with students across the province.”
If the school decides to ditch the CFS, 20 per cent of the student population would need to sign a petition advocating for a referendum asking students if they support leaving the CFS.
In 2009, the CFS changed its bylaws to make getting a referendum more difficult. According to the Link, Concordia University’s campus paper, the CFS passed a bylaw to increase the percentage of students needed to sign the petition to 20 from 10.
Still, earning a referendum is not impossible.
In 2010, José Barrios who organized a similar movement at the University of Victoria that resulted in legal battle eventually allowing the school to defederate.
He says, “Being a member of the CFS is like being stuck in an abusive relationship: they tell you they are going to change, yet they only get worst. When you try to divorce them, they tell you you’re not allowed.”