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Concordia has strength in numbers

by Kalina Laframboise January 22, 2013
Concordia has strength in numbers

The Concordia Student Union and the Canadian Federation of Students are back at it again.

The CSU called a special meeting last Wednesday to address the ongoing lawsuit between it and the CFS, the nation’s largest student association that works at a federal level.

The meeting, with a brief introduction from former CSU President Lex Gill, was conducted in closed session to discuss the potential joining of the separate cases filed by the CSU and the university’s Graduate Students’ Association against the CFS.

Both student groups have been trying to leave the CFS unsuccessfully for years, resulting in a slew of accusations from the CFS that both the CSU and the GSA owe unpaid and mounting dues.

On Friday, Jan. 11, the GSA unanimously voted in favour of collaborating with the CSU pending the undergraduate association’s approval.

CSU President Schubert Laforest said the CFS has been notified of the motion.

“After a lengthy discussion where council weighed the pros and potential cons of joining the cases, council decided unanimously to join the cases,” said Laforest. “The CFS is aware of this but we haven’t gotten any response about it as of yet.”

This Wednesday, a motion will be brought before the courts to allow the merging of the two cases against the CFS so they can be tried at the same time.

In March 2010, the CSU held a referendum where an overwhelming percentage of students voted to leave the CFS. The association in turn claimed the process was illegitimate and barred the CSU from leaving. Similarly, when students voted for the departure of the GSA from the CFS in April 2010, the CFS refused to acknowledge the referendum.

Approximately a year later following failed negotiations, the CSU filed a lawsuit for the organization to officially recognize the results and allow them to leave.

In response, the CFS countered with their own lawsuit against the CSU in early 2012, claiming that the union that governs the undergraduate student body owed them close to $2 million in unpaid fees. Since 2010, the CFS has been claiming that the student association have an obligation to pay $1 million.

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