CUSA moves to defederate from the CFS

The Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) is ramping up efforts to defederate from the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) through a new campaign called “CU Later CFS,” which launched on the first day of frosh week.

Masjedee said the campaign is ensuring first-year students are aware of what the campaign is by explaining the petition is simply “a precursor to the vote.”

CUSA is a member of both the CFS National organization as well as its provincial chapter, and will have to run a referendum to defederate from both.

In order to decertify from the CFS National, Masjedee said CUSA is required to collect signatures from 15 per cent of the undergraduate student body at Carleton before holding a referendum to decide. Leaving the CFS Ontario requires 20 per cent of student signatures.

“We don’t want any students to make a vote uninformed,” Masjedee said.

However, he said CUSA is hoping to double the number of signatures to 30 per cent, or 7,500 signatures, so that they don’t run the risk of invalid signatures leading to restarting the petition process. For example, signers must be current undergraduate students at Carleton and all signatures must be legible, Masjedee said.

“The rule of thumb within this entire decertification process is to double the threshold,” Masjedee said. “Then you should be pretty confident that you will be able to have a vote once you submit your petition to the CFS.”

While CUSA has until the end of April to collect the signatures, Masjedee said the association hopes to collect them as early as possible. According to the CFS bylaws, no more than two student unions can attempt to decertify at the same time during an academic year. Decertification votes cannot be held between April to September or December to January, according to the bylaws.

Masjedee said he hopes CUSA will have better luck with decertification than other universities. According to him, other student unions haven’t spent as much time gathering signatures.

“No other student union has really done it this way,” he said.

According to Masjedee, the decertification process is too lengthy for student unions to successfully defederate because executives often have a limit of one year on their term to achieve campaign promises.

He added he hopes CUSA will be able to hold a referendum in November 2018.

Photo by Meagan Casalino