Going away on Business

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Written by Cailey Campbell

Next week the Ontario Federation of Students (OFS) will be gathering to discuss policy and define the strategic direction of the student organization’s campaigns, policies, advocacy, and services. This annual four day gathering will bring together representatives of the more than 250,000 students across the province. As your new external commissioner, I’ve already had the chance to meet with and connect with many of the student representatives who will be meeting at the OFS Annual General Meeting. These connections are especially important this year, as the province gears up for elections that will profoundly affect everything from the accessibility of education to the way in which we elect representatives to government.

The OFS meeting is an opportunity for new initiatives and organizational changes to be proposed to representatives of Universities and Colleges from across the province. Some of the key motions that we’ll be discussing address the:

  • Ontario Referendum question on Mixed Member Proportional Representation
  • inadequacy of the international students health insurance plan
  • need for information-collection on student voter data
  • endorsement for the September Anti-Poverty march
  • Don’t Ask Don’t Tell campaign in support of immigrant and refugee rights
  • need to lobby provincial government for ‘campus greening’ initiatives that work towards a zero emissions standard
  • Security and Prosperity Partnership and further economic and security integration with the United States (aka Deep Integration)
  • Ontario Labour Federation’s Equal Pay Coalition

Although some may cringe a little at the thought of sitting through an AGM- let alone one that lasts four days- I’m feeling really excited about the positive directions, and changes proposed for the upcoming meeting. The meeting is one of many important connections that link us (as students at Guelph) to the creativity, ideas, and sheer numbers of other students across the province, amplifying student voices to promote accessible and high-quality education as a foundation for social justice.

One of the great things about organizing with other students is that it creates opportunities for each of us to step out of the bubble of our own community of consciousness, and get exposed to politics that are informed by experiences beyond our own. This is one of the reasons why collective organizing is so valuable; by being open to organizing as students, as youth, and as human beings, we not only offer important windows into each other’s realities, but also endow each other with the power to create urgently needed positive changes. I’m deeply excited to meet, share, and discuss with people at this upcoming meeting, and would love to get in contact with anyone interested in talking and sharing ideas or plans of action regarding any of the motions listed above. If you’re interested in getting involved as a delegate or by organizing closer to home, or just want to learn more, please feel free to email me at or call me at 519-824-4120 ext. 58328.

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  1. Posted by: Evan Dalzell - CSA Local Affairs Commissioner on Aug 2, 2007 @ 10:50am

    The way I see it, each point that Cailey mentioned does relate to students. The issues may not necessarily relate to students in terms of academics specifically, but they do relate to students as citizens. Election issues impact students especially because we have such a huge population that is eligible to vote, however the 18-24 age group consistently is under represented at the polls. So how does this help you? Students, when they come together, can create change. It was the students in Newfoundland and Labrador that forced a tuition freeze. Issues of poverty can impact how a university or government looks at funding for post-secondary students. Being a student is much more about just getting a degree.

  2. Posted by: on Aug 2, 2007 @ 5:10pm

    "Being a student is much more about just getting a degree".

    No, being a student is just that, getting a degree. Being a global citizen is when you start looking at social issues and how you go about dealing or not with them. I effin' hate when the CSA rams down my throat all these social causes they plan to take on when in fact they completely overlook our (as in University of Guelph and not something about immigrants or darfur or some other shit) issues. For example instead of campaigning for some injust cause, you could bring back our exam bank.

    We need to move away from all this hippy shit and start cleaning up our own backyard.

  3. Posted by: Evan Dalzell - CSA Local Affairs Commissioner on Aug 3, 2007 @ 11:52am


    I would very strongly disagree. When you are in the classroom, yes, your primary goal is a degree. However if you think that University is only about academics, clearly the structuring of the University Administration itself would beg to differ. Student Life is an enormous branch of the University Administration, which includes Peer Helpers, Citizenship and Community Engagement, and the Global Learner program. That a degree is the only outcome of spending four years at an institution of higher learning may be your personal belief, there are many students, including myself, who would strongly disagree.

  4. Posted by: on Aug 3, 2007 @ 2:47pm

    You're twisting my words and mixing being a student and being a citizen. No, going to university as an institution for 4 years should give you more than a degree, granted, but saying these issues pertain students is weak.

    You haven't answered my point about the CSA not prioritizing their efforts properly, even when I gave you the exam bank as a clear point to work with. Are you saying that the "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell campaign in support of immigrant and refugee rights" point is of a higher priority than the failed exam bank, the fact that there is no space between the end of classes and finals, or the fact that already high user fees went up this year, to the University of Guelph undergraduate population?

  5. Posted by: sean on Aug 3, 2007 @ 4:33pm

    OK, as long as the "Dont ask, don't tell" campaign is an issue that is supposedly related to students, I would argue that the wrong stance is being taken by our representatives. As more and more students rely on working throughout the school year in order to pay living expenses, tuition etc, accessible employment for students is becoming a very important issue. By allowing more (illegal) immigrants into the country who will be searching for the same low wage, unskilled labour positions that students rely on in order to afford their degrees, you are effectively acting against the best interests of students. If students are forced to abandon their education because someone working illegally for less than minimum wage (whose recent increases have made illegal workers much more sought after than students who want $12/hr) then what have you all accomplished?

    Being a good global citizen is a great thing, but ultimately you should be acting so that as many students can actually achieve their academic goals. We all know that society really could care less what a university drop out working at Roots has to say about the situation in Darfur...

  6. Posted by: j on Aug 3, 2007 @ 7:57pm

    I'm going to have to agree with Alex. Yes, one does come to expect more than just a degree out of these 4 years, but why are our funds going to accommodate the pet causes of a few student leaders?
    The fact is, we, the undergraduate students, pay roughly $40 a person into the CSA. ($40 * 2 semesters) * ~16000 undergraduates is close to $1.3 million.

    It's a little cold sure, but it's not unreasonable to expect such a large sum of money to benefit directly those that paid it, instead of campaigning for people on the other side of the planet. There are so many things that could be focused on, instead of these pet causes. The exam bank stands as a perfect example as something that we could use and would benefit the students directly. Focus on the people paying your wages, then once all the issues are worked out, you can go to work on your activism.

  7. Posted by: lofty on Aug 3, 2007 @ 11:48pm

    The CSA is a student organization; putting any other entities or groups before students should not be part of its mandate.

    Work for students. How many other organizations exist for these, as mentioned, "pet causes" or the CSA staff/admin/directors?

    The CSA exists for the betterment of students, funded by student dollars. Save the world on your own time.

  8. Posted by: on Aug 7, 2007 @ 10:34am

    Hi Everyone!

    Wow, the CSA has got everyone talking! I know some people might disagree with me, but I love debate and think it's very important - even when the debate is against some of the CSA's initiatives.

    The CSA is the Local 54 member of the Canadian Federation of Students. We have been affiliated with this group for many years. It is true that the CFS has a tendency to get involved in highly politicized matters, ones that some people may think are out of their mandate to support students. However, the CFS also offers a lot of services to us at UofG that makes it worthwhile, in my opinion, to be affiliated with such a group. CFS runs TravelCuts, the agency where you can get cheap flights, greyhound bus tickets, and travel insurance, all in the UC! They also provide ISIC cards for free, the only internationally recognized form of student status.

    If you want to be involved on a decision-making level in the CSA, then why not run in this fall's by-elections? If you're a student in OAC, OVC, or the College of Management Economics, there are spaces available on our Board of Directors where you can make your voice heard!

  9. Posted by: on Aug 7, 2007 @ 11:01am

    In response to two of Alex's concerns about the priorities of the CSA.

    1) Exam Bank:

    The issue of the exam bank is a lot more complex than most students realize. The closure of the CBSSC exam bank was a very difficult decision that was made due to financial reasons. The service was no longer sustainable. There are a number of underlying issues that must be solved before any new exam bank service can be brought back to campus. One of those issues is that of faculty intellectual property rights, an issue that will likely become more pressing with the unionization of the Faculty Association this year. As the CSA Academic Commissioner I have been in contact with College Presidents and administration over the summer discussing how best to move forward on this issue. It is VERY clear that students would like some form of an exam bank service. Making progress on the issue is a priority of mine and the CSA this academic year. Please be in touch if you have questions (my contact info is below).

  10. Posted by: on Aug 7, 2007 @ 11:01am

    2) "...the fact that there is no space between the end of classes and finals"

    A change to the schedule of dates that includes some "study days" at the end of the semester will be voted on by the University Senate in the first week of October. Some students are in support of the motion and some are against the proposed change due to a shortening of o-week. If you would like to attend Senate in October to voice your concern please get in touch. I will write an CSA executive column on this topic in the near future and you can voice your opinion there as well.

    If you have any questions about academic issues that the CSA is working on please contact me at 519-824-4120, ex. 56742 or [email protected]

  11. Posted by: j on Aug 7, 2007 @ 11:06am

    Sorry.. spelled your name wrong in the last post. If only there was an edit feature. :p

  12. Posted by: on Aug 9, 2007 @ 9:36am

    Hi J,

    A few years ago, discussion was entertained as to whether or not the CSA should defederate from CFS and join OUSA (Ontario University Student Associations - the provincial branch of CASA). A report was commissioned and presented in April 2005.

    It found that "a switch to OUSA would provide students at Guelph with little or no benefit compared with CFS, and given the significant amount of work required to defederate and join OUSA it would require a committment that would surpass the potential for improvement in representation".

  13. Posted by: on Aug 10, 2007 @ 11:57am

    The new UoG motto, which appears on the homepage is "Changing Lives, Improving Life". How can students argue that the institution they are paying tuition fees to, as well as to the CSA, have differing views if the University also sees being a student here as learning and growth outside the classroom and more than a just a degree.

    I also would draw the attention of the students posting to the thought that ALL students that attend the University of Guelph need to be represented equitably by the CSA. This may include students abroad, students facing social issues, differently abled students and the list goes on. I would love to see narrow views broadened to see the larger picture of the undergraduate students here at Guelph. Open your eyes to those connections made with the projects of the Executive and join the unified community of students.

  14. Posted by: Aaron on Aug 21, 2007 @ 10:28pm

    There may be different issues affecting different members of the UoG community, but we all have one thing in common: we all attend UoG.

    Why doesn't the CSA focus on initiatives that positively impact ALL of its students? We all pay the same ammount.

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