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Friday, March 11, 2011 

Why Did University Of Regina Students Union Try So Hard To Prevent Results Of Referendum From Being Made Public?

(Students at the University of Regina voted in an October 2010 Referendum to determine if they would maintain ongoing membership with the Canadian Federation of Students. The results of the vote were kept secret for about 5 months by the current executive of the Students Union .. until today. Something very fishy seems to have taken place here.

The current Students Union executive have expended a lot of time and money trying to break ranks with the Canadian Federation of Students. Is it possible that they were trying to keep their referendum loss secret until after next weeks SU elections?)

Canadian Federation of Students Results Released
The Carillon
March 11, 2011

"OK, it's finally happened. Here's a letter from the CFS that the Carillon received Friday afternoon:

Re: CFS membership referendum at the University of Regina

This letter is written in response to an e-mail entitled ʻTiming of CFS results release convenient and suspicious” circulated yesterday by the University of Regina Students' Union (URSU). This release comes following months of the Executive of the URSU refusing attempts by our Federation to release the results of a referendum held In October 2010, amongst the individual members of the Canadian Federation of Students at the University of Regina on membership in our Federation.

In the referendum, students at the University of Regina voted to remain members of the Federation. The results were as follows:

In favour of continued membership: 1,414
Opposed to continued membership: 1,326

Following the close of polls, results were embargoed until the eligibility of a small number of voters could be determined. This included URSU members studying at the First Nations University of Canada who the URSU Executive sought to disenfranchise. The remaining ballots were counted on December 17, at which point the URSU and the Federation agreed to release the results in a timely manner.

*** In the nearly three months since, the Executive of the URSU has refused to allow its members to be informed of the results, instead making its consent contingent on the Federation paying URSU legal bills and agreeing to various unrelated demands being made by the URSU.

The Federation's members at the University of Regina and across the country have a right to know the results and the Federation will not allow the Executive of the URSU to impede the release of the results. While the Federation encouraged the Executive of the URSU to agree to a joint release, the URSU refused, leaving the Federation with no choice but to release the results on its own.

The attempt to prevent the release of the results are another inappropriate intrusion by the URSU Executive into the Federation's democratic processes, and a not particularly subtle way to divert attention from the fact that, despite spending significant resources opposing membership, its member students voted for unity. ***

Finally, the URSU Executive's accusation that the timing of the results is politically motivated is baseless and a continuation of its campaign to prevent students at the University of Regina from learning the results of the referendum before the conclusion of the current academic year.

Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

In solidarity,
David Molenhuis
National Chairperson
Canadian Federation of Students

This certainly sounds a little, ahem, different from what URSU has been saying. We'll update as more information comes in.

UPDATE: URSU's Mike Staines has linked a response from URSU below; we'll reprint it here, as it was also sent to our inbox:

The University of Regina Students’ Union (URSU) is pleased the students at the University of Regina have the results from the referendum on Local 9’s continued membership in the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). “As happy as we are that our members finally have the results, were disappointed by CFS’s tactics of refusing to work with us” states URSU President Kyle Addison, “We’ve been contacting CFS to try and work with them to resolve the outstanding issues since December when we counted the final ballots.”

In the end 51.6% of students voted to remain members, 48.4% voted to leave CFS. A motion will be presented to the URSU Board of Directors on March 21st, 2011 to ratify the results, the URSU executive will be encouraging to the board to accept them and vote to remain members of the Canadian Federation of Students. Addison worries now that the results are public, after the CFS broke the agreement they forced on URSU, they will not work with URSU or commit to repairing the relationship. As the results indicate, this was a very divisive issue amongst the student population. “We communicated to them the campus was very split and even though they can claim victory the margin indicates there are a large number of students who are unhappy with the level of service they receive for their membership fees” he added, “URSU’s communication to CFS contained requests which we believed would help repair the relationship and demonstrate it’s willingness to win over the people who opposed their presence on campus. The CFS never responded to our repeated requests to work together and resolve the issues.”

URSU continues to assert the results being released less than a week before voting for the general elections is a deliberate attempt by CFS to interfere in the democratic process at the University of Regina. According to the documentation (which URSU has made public) delivered to URSU by the consul for CFS, CFS has asserted they have been in a position to release the results since they were counted on Dec 17th 2010 but didn’t not attempt release the results until March 9th 2011. URSU believes based on paragraph 3 of the Dec 15th 2010 agreement the parties agreed to not release results until determination of FNUC provisional ballots was agreed to by both organizations. The CFS has refused repeated attempts by URSU to bring this matter to a close.

Because of CFS’s reluctance to return and count the provisional ballots, in December of 2010 URSU filed an injunction that helped force CFS back to Saskatchewan to determine the final outcome. With the results now public, URSU will be instructing it’s consul to immediately stop the notice of motion.

In October of 2010 the URSU Board of Directors took an official stance to not continue membership in the CFS due to the poor level of service being provided to students at the University of Regina. It is the organization’s hope that both parties are prepared to move forward and work together to ensure the fees paid by the University of Regina students are rewarded with the quality of service CFS is capable of offering.
The Carillon - University of Regina

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