Recently, it has come to light that students at Laurentian University are attempting to disassociate from the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), an umbrella organization that consists of student organizations from across Canada.
As the largest student association at Laurentian University, the Students’ General Association (SGA), is squarely focused on students.
Over the past year, we have worked to expand our services, run engaging events, advocate for greater improvements to Sudbury Transit, and work with local businesses to create a better student life in Sudbury.
We have a number of concerns about our involvement in the CFS. As a Northern Ontario school, our needs are not reflected in the workings of the organization.
Our attempts to reform the organization have been shut down repeatedly by the CFS, which is controlled largely by backroom staffers, and not students. Their suffocating control over local associations presents problems for us as a northern school, attempting to strike our own path within our own community.
Dangerously, the CFS advocates an approach of aggressiveness towards university administrators, government officials, and the private sector. We are willing to work with all of those individuals, including the private sector, to make meaningful change for students at the local level.
This is a modern vision of a strong student organization, one which does not include the CFS. Their political philosophy, which takes one side of the political spectrum to the exclusion of all others, disconnects them from our vision.
How is this relevant to the student body and the Sudbury community? We have attempted to educate students about the issues in the CFS, and students have responded with this petition, independently.
They realize that the CFS is on the outskirts of where we are heading as a university. The $15 fee that every student pays to the CFS is being used to fund questionable things that students never see.
Students do not see the need for paying for an organization that does not respond to them. That money could be used to expand services on campus, services that students actually want and need.
The CFS has never taken an interest in being an active part of the Sudbury community, and so we find it difficult to justify their continued association with us as we attempt to be responsible community partners.
The money we give to them could, instead, play a role in community initiatives, particularly in light of the new School of Architecture, which would help students become economic and social engines of prosperity in a new downtown Sudbury.
We will continue to inform students and the community at large about our vision for the future, and why the CFS is incompatible with this vision, no matter the outcome of this grassroots student petition.
Students’ General Association (SGA)