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Grad students take issue with CFS

by admin November 10, 2009

Concordia graduate students have submitted a petition calling for a referendum on their membership in the Canadian Federation of Students.
According to Graduate Students’ Association council member Erik Chevrier, the petition was signed by 900 of Concordia’s approximately 6,000 graduate students.
Chevrier said the petition was sent by bailiff, registered mail and e-mail.
Chevrier said the Association hasn’t taken a specific stand on its membership with the Federation, but that their council voted unanimously to support circulation of the petition.
He cited concerns about a lack of transparency on the board of CFS-Quebec as driving support for the petition, along with a lack of visible results.
“We don’t really know what they’re doing for us, especially here in Quebec,” he said.
Members of the Concordia Student Union, the Dawson Student Union and the Post Graduate Students’ Society at McGill University submitted similar petitions last month.
If a petition receives support from at least 10 per cent of the students at CFS member student unions, it automatically triggers a referendum.
CFS national chairperson, Katherine Giroux-Bougard and National Graduate Caucus Chair, Megan Nicholson, did not return calls by press time.

Education plan could cost grads

Graduate students at several schools across the country are taking issue with the Canadian Federation of Students’s Education Action Plan. Released in October, the plan calls for an end to tax credits for education and tuition costs.
But graduate students at McGill, University of Manitoba and the University of Calgary, who sent out a joint press release Monday, say that if these tax credits are cut, many graduate students would have to pay tax on their scholarships and research funding.
According to Arman Vahedi, a senator with the University of Manitoba Graduate Students’ Association, taxing graduates would unfairly target the best students.
The graduate students also said they had no input on the development of the Action Plan, which they say pits the interest of undergraduates against graduate students.
The plan calls for the money saved by the government from the tax credits to be redirected to up-front grants.
CFS national chairperson, Katherine Giroux-Bougard and National Graduate Caucus Chair, Megan Nicholson, did not return calls by press time.