By Amanda-Marie Quintino
RyeSAC’s Canadian Federation of Students defederation referendum may not happen because the council didn’t follow the CFS’s bylaws.
To hold a referendum, the CFS said RyeSAC had to poll 10 per cent of the student body six months before the proposed vote. A majority would have to agree to vote to hold the referendum.
Two CFS delegates explained the breach at a recent RyeSAC board of directors meeting. “To hold a referendum certain steps must be taken,” said Jesse Greener, Ontario chairperson for the CFS.
“The deadline has come and gone, and there has been no expression by membership at Ryerson that they wish to hold a referendum. “We made it clear in the presentation that it wasn’t an ‘if’, but it was that the procedure wasn’t proper.”
However RyeSAC President Dave MacLean said he had neither heard of this bylaw, nor seen a mention of it in the rule book the CFS gave him. “The procedures were followed, so that’s it,” MacLean said. “If the CFS wants to throw out reasons why they’re not even going to allow our students to choose…I think they’re just taking cheap shots in a bureaucratic way to protect the revenue of over $200,000 a year they make off Ryerson students.”
A motion to rescind the CFS defederation proposal has been put on the agenda for tonight’s semi-annual general meeting. Joel Duff, former Ontario chairperson to the CFS, said he and Greener made the presentation at the meeting because he wanted to correct false assumptions about the federation.
One of the slides, titled “Democracy,” stated the bylaw: “Since individual students are members of the Federation, students (not students’ councils) must be polled on membership,” the slide read. “In order to hold a referendum on membership, a petition of 10% of your members must be presented to the Federation 6 months before holding a vote.”
MacLean said the CFS had manipulated schools trying to defederate. “I do not like playing the CFS’s game. I think they play cheap tactics…and we’re going to run a Ryerson referendum and that’s the way things work,” he said.
Rebecca Rose, vice president education and the person in charge of RyeSAC’s relationship with the CFS, said she wasn’t made aware of the bylaw until Greener and Duff pointed it out at the meeting last week.
“It would be very unwise for [MacLean] to push the referendum through,” Rose said. “To go through with it would be ridiculous at this point.”