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CFS to appeal Guelph referendum

Saturday, May 1, 2010

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  • More than 40 per cent of eligible undegraduate students, voted in the refendum on membership in the Canadian Feeration of Studen

    More than 40 per cent of eligible undegraduate students, voted in the refendum on membership in the Canadian Feeration of Studen

Written by Greg Beneteau

The Canadian Federation of Students and its provincial wing intend appeal of the ruling that allowed a membership referendum to go ahead at the University of Guelph, thecannon has learned.

A notice of appeal was filed by lawyers representing the CFS and the CFS-Ontario, challenging the decision reached by Justice O’Connor that opened the door for campaigning on campus during the last weeks of the semester.

The CFS has also requested a formal audit of the online voting process that students used to cast their ballots.

The notice was obtained by former Communication and Corporate Affairs Commissioner for the Central Student Association, Gavin Armstrong.

The CSA Board has empowered the onetime executive as the primary contact for matters related to the referendum.

"[The CFS and CFS-O] are seeking to appeal the original ruling to allow Guelph to hold the referendum and they are asking that the courts demand the university do a thorough audit of the [voting] system," Armstrong told thecannon in an email.

The information could not be independently verified. Representatives for the CFS could not be reached for comment. At publication, thecannon was still trying to obtain court documents.

Armstrong said the CSA was planning to represent itself at the appeals process, which would add to the $70,000 the student union spent in legal fees to force the CFS to hold a referendum.

"As CFS as chosen to appeal the results, the CSA is obligated to defend the democratic right of our students. Unfortunately there is a cost associated with this," Armstrong wrote. "If CFS/CFS-O appeal multiple items of the referendum (which they have indicated they are) then there is an even greater cost for our students."

According to results released by the CSA, 7330 students, or more than 40 per cent of eligible undegraduate students, voted in the refendum at the beginning of April. Nearly 75 per cent voted in favour of leaving the CFS.

In response, the CSA sent out a press release on April 21, announcing that it would withdraw from the CFS and the CFS-O effective June 30.

Because of the appeal, the planned withdrawal is now in jeopardy, Armstong claimed. "It is challenging because we need [the withdrawal] submitted to the May AGM, but the more they delay the less likely it is that it will get there."

"I suspect the federation will then demand that we pay an extra year of fees until the next AGM, which to me sounds like a money grab and not what our students voted for."

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  1. Posted by: AdamObrien on May 2, 2010 @ 6:39pm

    This is sad, for a federation that claims to represent students across Canada they have only caused our campus and students’ pain and delay. I understood the initial protest but this is ridiculous! If they were true to their word the federation would have allowed us to leave. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that they would cause more delay and difficulties for our student government and more importantly our student body.

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