Canadian Federation of Students Approves Motion to Expel BC Member Unions

| By: Whitney Rothwell |

On April 13th, 2018 the National Executive of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) voted unanimously to initiate the expulsion of BC students’ unions which are joint members of both the CFS and its BC provincial component, the British Columbia Federation of Students (BCFS). The motion will be added to the CFS national general meeting agenda in June and, if approved, will expel 120,000 individual students.

A letter to the Selkirk College Students’ Union (SCSU) sent on April 30th, 2018 from Coty Zachariah, CFS Chairperson, Charlotte Kiddel, CFS Deputy Chairperson, and Peyton Veitch Treasurer of the CFS, states that the motion comes after nine of the twelve joint member students’ unions have petitioned for the CFS to hold referendums deciding whether to stay or leave the organization.

Many students’ unions in BC, including the SCSU, remit their CFS and BCFS membership dues to the BCFS, where they are divided and the appropriate portion is remitted to the CFS. For a number of historical reasons, BCFS continues to withhold the CFS membership fees of local associations in BC while the CFS is withholding BC monies owed to the BCFS. CFS considers the membership dues of the BC member students’ unions as outstanding, so the Ottawa-based group asserts that allowing students to vote on decertification would violate CFS bylaws. The SCSU considers its membership dues to the CFS to be paid up-to-date.

Tensions between CFS and BCFS have been mounting for some time, and the letter also cites a significant distraction from the ability for all involved to serve their core mandates as a consideration in the motion.

SCSU is currently a member of both CFS and the BCFS and therefore will be expelled from the CFS if the motion is approved in June.


Canadian Federation of Students meeting unproductive, Selkirk membership conflict continues

| By: Cohen Dyer |

Despite a motion from the Selkirk College Students’ Union (SCSU) asking to terminate its membership, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) voted to continue fighting to keep Selkirk College students at its most recent meeting. On November 17 to 20, delegates from dozens of students’ unions across Canada met in Gatineau, Quebec to discuss the future and the work of the CFS at its National General Meeting. The SCSU submitted two motions, one to have its membership in the Ottawa-based group terminated, and one to compel the CFS to release a detailed report of secret bank accounts.

“I would characterize the CFS as a very frustrating meeting that accomplished very little,” said Shaun Wiskar, Vice-President Student Affiars for the University of Regina Students’ Union (URSU). “The meeting opened with a declaration of this being the “New CFS” and that nationally they had come to an impasse with the British Columbia Component. However, when Selkirk asked to leave, they were told they failed to follow proper procedure.”

Students at numerous colleges and universities in British Columbia have been trying to leave the CFS for at least a year. The August 2017 Executive Committee report of the British Columbia Federation of Students includes a long description of this conflict, and says that eight students’ unions in BC have submitted petitions to leave the CFS. Selkirk College students have submitted two petitions to the CFS asking for a vote to leave the group, one in 2016 and one in November 2017, although the CFS has not held a referendum because it claims the SCSU hasn’t remitted its fees.

The National General Meeting seemed to get through little business other than voting down the SCSU’s proposals. Any motions not resolved at a CFS meeting are forwarded to the next meeting held six months later. A few motions will be on the agenda for the first 2018 meeting that were originally served in 2016 and have yet to be dealt with.

“I heard the phrases ‘point of order’, ‘privilege’ and  ‘information’ an extensive amount, this can throw off the meeting in its tracks and can make the NGM a long painful process,” said Derrick Gagnon, also of URSU. “Some of the points brought forward were valid but others seemed like tactic to use up the little time we have in closing plenary. CFS now has motions on the agenda that have remained on for the last two years, again not enough time to get to these motions. These motions will be on the agenda for next years June SGM.”

Representatives from the SCSU who attended the NGM say the meeting failed to achieve its goals. The agenda for the meeting shows that over the four day conference, there were only a small handful of workshops. None of the workshops focused on post-secondary education at the federal level.

“I would say the meeting was a categorical failure for the Canadian Federation of Students,” said Santanna Hernandez, Chairperson of the Selkirk College Students’ Union. “Their (CFS) business is so backlogged that motions submitted in 2016 were still not dealt with at this meeting, and will have to wait until at least 2018.”

“I met with most of the delegates from Selkirk and they were all very professional,” added URSU’s Wiskar. “We formed a close enough bond with them that I created a snapchat filter in solidarity with them. The #imwithselkirk was the UofR’s response to the lack of action by the national body.”


Students’ Union general meeting scheduled for November 30

| B:y Cohen Dyer |

The Selkirk College Students’ Union has scheduled a general meeting for November 30, say Students’ Union representatives. Notice for the meeting is posted on all campuses. The meeting was scheduled by the Students’ Union’s Executive Committee to be prior to the exam period to increase attendance. While the meeting is scheduled to take place on the Castlegar campus, students from other campuses are eligible to receive travel assistance by contacting the Students’ Union.

The meeting will require a minimum number of participants in order to pass motions. One motion is being presented by the Executive Committee for funding outreach projects. Whether the meeting has high enough attendance to deal with this business or not, the attendees will still hear from Students’ Union Executive Committee members about the organisation’s finances and work over the previous year.

The meeting will include free food for all attendees.


Selkirk College Students’ Union launches book

CASTLEGAR — The Selkirk College Students’ Union has launched a manual for students’ union organizers.

The Fundamentals of Students’ Unionism provides student activists and organizers with a framework to understand students’ unionism and the student movement.

“Students are more in debt now than ever in the history of British Columbia and Canada,” said Santanna Hernandez, Chairperson of the Selkirk College Students’ Union. “This book is part of our effort to inspire student organizing for lower tuition fees and increased education funding.”

Tuition fees are at an all-time high in British Columbia. The Selkirk College Students’ Union advocates for affordable and accessible post-secondary education. As a relatively small students’ union in a rural area, the Selkirk College Students’ Union relies on the solidarity of other students’ unions and umbrella student organizations to have an impact on government policy. Releasing The Fundamentals of Students’ Unionism is part of the Students’ Union’s contribution to this community of solidarity.

The book was authored by Zachary Crispin, Executive Director of the Selkirk College Students’ Union. Crispin is a long-time student organizer who has served as an elected student leader and students’ union staff person. Crispin shares his knowledge and experience with successful campaign planning, student-worker solidarity, and students’ union administration.

“The Fundamentals of Students’ Unionism provides tools for everyone from new student activists to long-time students’ union staff,” said Hernandez. “Everyone fighting for better post-secondary education can get something out of this book.”

The Selkirk College Students’ Union represents over 2,000 students at Selkirk College.

Source: www.rosslandnews.com