Students raise concerns about UVSS participation in CFS activity
Frightened students sounded the alarm on February 5th about the participation of University of Victoria Student Society representative Kenya Rogers and Native Student Union (NSU, a part of the UVSS) representative Blake Desjarlais in the Canadian Federation of Students lobby week. A press release issued by the University of Victoria students suggests that students are afraid to speak out about the UVSS’s actions out of fear that they might be sued by the CFS, a national student group known for its involved legal history.
“By participating in the CFS Lobby Week, Kenya Rogers is condoning violence against workers,” a UVic student said in a press release.
As reported in the Martlet, UVic’s fledgling student newspaper, the council of the UVSS sent Rogers and Desjarlais to the CFS lobby week in Ottawa. Concerns have been raised about the UVSS’s history with the CFS, including the CFS suing the UVSS for a debt it claimed was owed from two decades prior which no one could find any record of. Students at UVic voted in 2007 (graduate students) and 2010 (undergraduate students) to leave the CFS by overwhelming majorities.
“Kenya Rogers should respect students democratic voice, she is not more important than 3,000 UVic students who voted in that referendum.” – UVic student in February 5th press release.
The Canadian Federation of Students has been criticized in recent months, particularly from its 14 affiliated schools in British Columbia, who have all begun a mass defederation. The CFS stands accused of violating its own democracy, union busting in its national office, and failing to produce legally required financial statements. The students who raised their concerns on February 5th made reference to the first two issues specifically in their press release.
Soon-to-be CFS Treasurer Peyton Veich was present in Victoria for the UVSS Education is a Right rally on February 3rd. Sources close to the UVSS executive say it is unclear if the UVSS is considering re-joining the Canadian Federation of Students.