With the first organized competition in years, the results of the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) election may renew discussion about its membership in the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS).
Transform RU presidential candidate Andrea Bartlett says their team is focusing on the election for now, and while they’re not concerned about separating from the CFS at the moment, they would consider hearing what students have to say.
“It’s not in the best interest of our students to go and make a decision like that without getting a consensus from them first,” Bartlett says. “That said, there are a lot of services that the CFS offers that do enhance student life here on campus, such as the water bottle-free campus and the consent to sexy campaign.”
Formed in 1981, the CFS is a national union with over 500,000 students from more than 80 university and college students’ unions across Canada.
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Ryerson is one of 37 CFS members in Ontario. According to the 2014-15 fiscal year RSU budget, membership in the CFS cost $385,000.
In 2013, Ryerson students joined a group called Time to Mobilize, which petitioned to defederate from CFS, which they considered ineffective.
The group consisted of students from 15 different universities.
“There has been interest and discussion already about (leaving the CFS), so that’s something we would want to investigate further,” Bartlett says.
“What kind of benefits are we getting out of the CFS? Are these things that students really want to see on campus? If our team is elected then we would continue that conversation and really get a consensus with what (students) want first.”
This is a sentiment Bartlett echoed at the RSU election debate that took place Monday.
Bartlett says that the expense of being a CFS member is another factor in the decision.
“One of the major factors that we would consider is looking at where the students’ money is going and if it is going to impact them in a positive way,” Bartlett says.
“Especially given the fact that the RSU is currently under investigation of the entire budget as a whole.”
Election polls open Feb. 9 and close Feb. 11.
This story also appeared in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on Feb 4, 2015.