Ottawa

Carleton students start voting on cutting ties to student federation

Carleton University students began voting on Wednesday to decide if they want their student union to separate from the Canadian Federation of Students, an organization founded at the university in 1981.

Voting is being held on campus until Friday

The CFS was founded at Carleton University in 1981. (Danny Globerman/CBC)

Carleton University students began voting on Wednesday to decide if they want to separate from the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), an organization founded at the university in 1981.

The CFS is an overarching student union with over 60 local members across Canada.

But David Oladejo, president of the Carleton University Students' Association (CUSA), said the organization has become redundant.

"We are able to do a lot of campaigns that kind of mirror what they do, and provide the same services at a cheaper cost to students," Oladejo told CBC's All In A Day.

Each student pays $16.74 in dues to the CFS as part of their tuition. In total Carleton students collectively pay over $400,000 a year to the organization.

"With that large sum of money, there have to be results in terms of what we are seeing on campus"

Oladejo alleges that they are not seeing that return, estimating the CFS had come to the campus three times in the previous school year.

But the CFS contends that they do come to the university to provide information about the organization and how students can be involved.

Nour Alideeb, the federation's Ontario chair, told All In A Day that she makes it to campus once every month or so.

"We have over 39 campuses in Ontario so we spend a lot of time visiting different campuses across the province."

But more important than the work the CFS does on campus is what they do off campus, she said.

Alideeb said the CFS takes issues such as tuition fees — which CUSA advocates for locally at the administrative level — and brings them to the federal and provincial levels.

"It's not really repetition but it's strengthening and elevating the work that we do, that way we're targeting all decision makers." 

Oladejo did acknowledge that the CFS lobbies on behalf of students provincially and federally, but said Carleton students aren't seeing a return on the investment that they are putting into the organization.

Voting is taking place at five locations on campus and runs until Friday.