By Matt Kwong
If RyeSAC President Dave MacLean had his way, students would be voting in a referendum to leave the Canadian Federation of Students this month.
Instead, MacLean has to play it safe by abiding by the CFS’s guidelines, meaning RyeSAC will have to wait until March to vote.
According to MacLean, if RyeSAC closely follows the CFS’s regulations, they’ll have no reason not to let the university leave-even if that means CFS rules will supercede RyeSAC’s.
“We’re going to follow the rules governed by the CFS rather than by Ryerson,” he said.
Ryerson’s policy on referendums allows students to vote one month after the decision to hold a referendum. But CFS rules state otherwise: Members proposing to leave must first grant the organization six months’ notice of an intention to hold a referendum.
MacLean is submitting to those demands, but not happily. “Six months’ notice is ridiculous,” he said.
The CFS has refused to recognize motions from universities to defederate, so MacLean is not alone in thinking caution is the way to go. President of the York Federation of Students Paul Cooper is doing everything by the book.
“We wouldn’t want to defederate in a way that would cause a lawsuit,” Cooper said.
Other universities have had tenuous relationships with the CFS, and some have even sought legal action against the organization. In 1993, the CFS rejected the University of Waterloo’s referendum results because of “improprieties with the election.”
The CFS also overturned referendum results at the University of Prince Edward Island eight years ago.
At York, Cooper is in the process of confirming the CFS has indeed received notice of their plans to referend, but CFS Ontario Chair Jesse Greener denied ever receiving any. “I think that’s what psychologists call – denial,'” Cooper said.
Ryerson’s proposal for a referendum doesn’t need to pass through the Board of Governors.
Still, MacLean said that by following the CFS’s demands, won’t ensure a referendum passing.
“There is nothing to guarantee.” he said.