By Jill Langlois
The Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson is currently working on a referendum to see if students want to make last year’s one-year trial membership with the Canadian Federation of Students a permanent one.
CESAR president Jeremy Salter, a former CFS board member, explained why CFS is being picked over other national student associations.
“CFS offers a number of relevant national and provincial services,” Salter said.
“They were the only association with other part-time student associations in their membership. It was the natural and best fit for CESAR.”
The vote, scheduled between Oct. 16th and 21, would make CESAR a local member of the CFS.
The referendum needs a simple majority to pass next month.
CESAR, which represents continuing education, distance education and part-time students, was formed in 1979 to provide advocacy and services for students who wanted a stronger voice in the Ryerson community.
If Ryerson’s 24,000 CE students sign up, it would significantly strengthen the federation’s lobbying strength and inject a large amount of money into the organization.
If the majority of CESAR members vote in favour of becoming full-time members of CFS, students would be charged an annual fee of $2.14.
However, this doesn’t sit well with part-time engineering student Emetullah Abdulrazak.
“If there are more fees to pay, I don’t think the majority of students would agree (with becoming full-time members of the CFS),” she said.
“I would definitely like to vote.” Jesse Greener, Ontario Chairperson of the CFS, explained the benefits of joining.
“We work together (with the student associations) to advocate improvements for their students and their institution,” he said.
“We’re also working to lessen tuition fees and we want to empower part-time students to be a part of the advocacy movement.”
The organization also offers other services, Greener added.
The CFS was formed in 1981 to help student groups use a united voice when lobbying different levels of government.
Another national student union, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), offers more specific benefits to its members.
Phillippe Ouellette, CASA’s national director, explained the strengths of his organization.
“CASA is unique because it is focused only on lobbying,” Ouellette said. “We are the number one student lobbying association in Canada, and we are a very member driven organization.”
The average fee per student for membership with CASA is $2.10.