By Aleysha Haniff
Some schools call it a fringe movement. Others, a grassroots organization.
At Ryerson, the idea of defederating from the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) doesn’t even fall on the radar.
According to the McGill Daily, groups from 13 different schools from across the country distributed petitions for a referendum about CFS membership.
Trent University student James Murphy said the number of schools currently petitioning for defederation ranges from 12 to 24. The fourth-year economics student has become the de facto leader of the defederation movement at Trent,
“We had made up our mind well before we started to talk to people at other schools,” Murphy said.
Thirteen per cent of Trent’s student body signed the petition this year, said Murphy.
“No petition has been received from the students at Trent University…no petition whatsoever,” said Dave Molenhuis, treasurer for CFS.
In fact, he’s heard nothing official about schools trying to leave the federation.
According to Molenhuis, everything about the federation is decided on by its members. “Anything can be addressed within the framework of the federation,” he said.
Leaving the CFS would indicate students wouldn’t want to work with other unions on initiatives, said Molenhuis.
“Working with the CFS on campaigns is beneficial,” said Osman Hamid, former student groups director for the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU).
Every student at Ryerson pays a membership fee for CFS services and programs like Travel Cuts or Drop Fees.
“But the problem is no one is reevaluating how the funds are going into [CFS],” he said. “When you’re actually putting money into it, more than $250,000 every year for both CFS Ontario and CFS National, then you have to ask more questions because then there’s accountability.”
RSU president Jermaine Bagnall says he’s a fan of CFS.
Mohammad Ali Aumeer, president of the Continuing Education Students at Ryerson (CESAR), doesn’t see any drawbacks to CFS membership.
CESAR joined the CFS in 2006. Though more than 94 per cent voted in favour of federating, only 928 students voted in that referendum.
Hamid, however, was around when the University of Toronto joined CFS. “If you say you don’t want to be federated, they send you to a hole. A non-existent hole…you hear stories,” said Hamid.