Huffington Post Canada

Does the Canadian Federation of Students care about students?

The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), a national organization composed of campus student unions, purports to organize students on a “democratic, co-operative basis.” When Guelph students wanted to hold a referendum to exit the CFS, they served the CFS with a petition asking for a referendum to be held to decertify. However, the CFS refused to schedule a referendum. Guelph’s Central Student Association (CSA) took the CFS to court, and an Ontario lower court trial judgegranted the referendum. Then 73.5 per cent of Guelph students voted to exit the CFS.The CFS alleges the results were not reliable.

Even after Guelph students overwhelmingly expressed a desire to leave, the CFS continued to challenge the democratic vote in court. They argued that signatures were not verified for the initial referendum request. The Ontario Court of Appeal judge granted the request, and remitted the matter to another trial court judge on a technicality. The appeal was granted because the original judge did not provide written reasoning for his decision.

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The Cannon.ca

CSA lawsuit empties the pockets of students

Dear CSA Board:

I recently came upon a Facebook event notifying me that the CSA is planning to collaborate with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) to sue the University of Guelph using a secret motion that students have not been informed about.

[Facebook event  link here –Ed.]

The motion is as follows:

BIRT, the CSA pursue a joint application with the CFS against the University regarding the collection of CFS membership fees, BIFRT, the joint application seek court orders for the university to:
1. Remit the CFS membership fees collected in trust to the CSA,

2. Resume the collection of CFS membership fees immediately, and

3. To remit the equivalent of any uncollected CFS membership fees to the CSA

BIFRT, the CSA Board of Directors empower the Executive Committee to coordinate this application until a court decision is made with regular updates to the Board of Directors.

As board members, it is your duty to uphold the mandate provided to you by students. Overturning the results of a democratic referendum in which 73.5% of students voted to leave the CFS is wrong.
By suing the University, the money will ultimately be coming out of students’ pockets. Point 3 of the motion will sue the University for any uncollected CFS membership fees, which would amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Publications

Enquiry, Engagement and eLearning: Three Perspectives on a Student-Centred, Online, Enquiry-Based Course

Jacqueline Murray, Natalie Giesbrecht, and Samuel Mosonyi, “Enquiry, Engagement and eLearning: Three Perspectives on a Student-Centred, Online, Enquiry-Based Course,” Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching 6 (2013): 34-40.

Abstract:

In the 2011 Winter semester, the University of Guelph engaged in a pedagogical experiment: an online first-year seminar. This article is a conversation about the learning journey that surrounds this seminar, as experienced by three participants: Jacqueline Murray (JM), Professor of History and Director of the First-Year Seminar Program (FYS); Natalie Giesbrecht (NG), Manager, Distance Education and a Distance Learning Specialist; and Samuel Mosonyi (SM), an undergraduate student who was enrolled in the course. We reflect upon the online seminar and discuss the technology and pedagogy, student learning experience, and process of online interaction. We conclude that this seminar, an innovation in both enquiry-based learning and first-year seminars, is arguably comparable with classroom-based offerings.

Full text here.

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The Ontarion

Why you should opt out of OPIRG

How would you feel if you were forced to pay money to a political party on campus every semester? Would you want to pay to support Stephen Harper, Dalton McGuinty, or Thomas Mulcair’s campaign? If you disagree with them, should you be forced to pay them? Of course not.

It is a fantastic exercise to donate to a political party or charity if you support it. It gives you a positive feeling when you contribute to something you love and believe in. However, when you are forced to pay for an ideology you disagree with, it leaves you feeling angry and helpless.

There is an organization on campus called the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG), which participates in a number of initiatives that can only be characterized as radical and at odds with the views of the vast majority of students. I don’t mind that this group exists on campus; diversity is a crucial thing to have. What does worry me is that every student pays a sum of money – for what many amounts to a hidden tax – every semester to prop up this organization when so few students benefit or even know it exists.

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The Prince Arthur Herald

The CLASSE brings its radical agenda to Ontario

Samuel Mosonyi and Alex Vronces.

The CLASSE, Quebec’s most radical student federation, just finished a tour of Ontario, which started in Ottawa on July 12th and ended in Peterborough on July 20th. Sympathetic individuals from all walks of life crammed into lecture halls across Ontario to discuss tuition hikes and social movements, hoping to inspire a sense of solidarity with those who have mobilized in Quebec among the broader student population. 

The Prince Arthur Herald was fortunate enough to have attended the speaking events at Guelph and York.

Mobilization against private sector involvement in education

In both conferences, the speakers began by attempting to successfully pit private against public interests, portraying the former negatively and the latter positively.  Speaker Hugo Bonin, the CLASSE activist and political science student at the University of Quebec at Montreal, was mainly concerned that a private education system would reduce enrolment and distort the student-university relationship.

Under a private regime, with respect to the relational distortion, Bonin said  that certain fields—mainly the arts and humanities—would necessarily be underrepresented. Students in a totally privatized system, he said, would only opt for an education that promised a certain level of monetary success later in life. He argued that this pursuit of riches is somehow supposed to undermine society and to result in a net loss of some kind in terms of our well-being.

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The Cannon.ca

Board of Governors chooses to raise tuition… quite seriously

This opinion piece is in response to that entitled “Opinion: Board of Governors chooses to raise tuition again… SERIOUSLY?

I would first like to point out that our elected student representatives Mr. Blais and Mr. Straathof likely understand the fiscal situation facing the university better than any other undergraduate student due to their participation on the Board of Governors. The fact that both supported the tuition fee increase indicates to me that they must have had a compelling reason to do so which is in the best interests of students. Both students are very capable and determined individuals with a background of serving students.

I’m not sure if the author is aware, but the provincial government tightened its belt with the recent budget and is fighting a major deficit. If less funding is going to be coming from the government, where will it come from? Will it magically appear? Will the Board of Governors wave a wand and conjure up an endless supply of cash?

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The Ontarion

Increasing transparency and accountability for CSA student fees

The recent CSA election campaigns featured messages students hear nearly every year: more quality post-secondary education and a more financially accessible campus, “fighting the hikes,” and addressing high debt loads of graduating students.

Unfortunately, it is beyond the purview of the CSA to do anything about tuition fees. These are regulated by the government, and at the university level, tuition increases are decided by the Board of Governors. Tuition is going up next year, has gone up in the past year, and will continue to go up in the future. No matter how much students may campaign against it, it is not going to change.

In addition to tuition, students pay compulsory university fees. These include fees for athletics, the University Centre, health services fees, and student services fees, which supports things like Safewalk, The Learning Commons, CECS, CIP, etc.  These services benefit almost all students and promote a healthy, balanced campus life.

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