The student group You Decide U of T has recently gained 420 signatures in their petition for a referendum to decide whether the University of Toronto Students’ Union should remain a member of the Canadian Federation of Students.
The group has termed the current rallying efforts as “very successful.” In a post shared on November 10th, the group announced that they gained 420 signatures from engineering students across the St. George campus.
“The goal of the You Decide campaign is to submit a petition calling for a referendum on the issue of continued membership of the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) in the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). We hope to get the referendum so that students may decide for themselves whether to remain in or defederate from the CFS,” said a representative, Jonathan Webb from the CFS in an email to The Medium.
“Our campaign has been very successful so far. Students are genuinely excited about having a referendum on the issue of CFS defederation. We hope to submit the petition by the end of the academic term in April 2018,” the email also read.
A successful petition would require signatures from at least 15 per cent of members of the UTSU, equaling to around 7,000 students. Members of the union would include all undergraduate students studying full-time at the St. George campus, where the campaign is based.
According to the You Decide Facebook page, “We believe that St. George students—who pay over $600,000 in annual membership fees to CFS—should be able to decide whether or not they want to continue to remain members of this organization.”
“You Decide as an organization does not take a stance on the outcome of a decertification referendum, we simply believe that students should have the opportunity to decide if they want to continue to be in the CFS themselves,” the page adds.
If the required number of signatures are collected, You Decide U of T plans to turn in the petition to both provincial and national executives of the CFS, as is required by CFS bylaws, by April 2018. A possible referendum will then be held the following October.
Membership of the CFS have been disputed amongst members of the UTSU, including the executive members, who approved a motion during their AGM that allows the UTSU to retain autonomy when joining organizations outside of the university.