Another week, another court battle between the University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS) and the Canadian Federation of Students. And another victory for the UVSS.
When we last left this wacky escapade (which is wasting tens of thousands of dollars intended for student advocacy), the two were in a court case over whether a petition of UVic students gathered nearly 18 months ago was valid grounds for a referendum to defederate from the CFS. After some deliberation, the judge deemed the petition valid, and allowed the referendum to go ahead.
The CFS had other ideas though, refusing to agree to a date for the referendum until the UVSS had paid back what they claimed was a $129,058 debt. So they went to court on Friday, in a case that should go on for a while, and—
(cue the visual of picking up an imaginary phone, listening to someone on the other line and nodding)
I’m sorry, I’m being told the judge immediately mandated a referendum be held March 29, 30, and 31. So, with five weeks before the vote, there should be some quiet before active campaigning begins, at which point—
(again cue the imaginary phone)
I’m sorry, I’m being told that the students’ society at Camosun College, another post-secondary institution in Victoria, just approved unlimited spending to convince UVic students (who, last I checked, are not Camosun students) to vote no in the referendum.
This is nothing new for the CFS. They’ve always been fairly open that students sometimes campaign for causes at schools they don’t attend. It’s been just three years since seemingly every BC student politician got a leaked copy of a referendum “war plan” outlining the possibility of CFS loyalists across the country to campaign against Kwantlen University’s attempts at leaving. And when you think about it, if you believe—as CFS people do—that they are the national union for students, and one of those members was trying to leave, thus weakening the student movement, wouldn’t you do everything you could to try and get them to stay?
It’s charming, in a way, how every breakup between the Canadian Federation of Students and a member school seemingly happens more or less the same way. A lovely, amicable relationship devolves into blackmail, lawsuits and former best friends yelling at you to stay loyal. Ah, university relationships.