University of Guelph administration conducts email survey on collection of CFS fees

Studentunion.ca has obtained an email sent by the University of Guelph administration to members of the Central Student Association (CSA) which asks whether they think the university should recommence the collection of Canadian Federation of Students / Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario (CFS/CFS-O) membership fees.

From: Brenda Whiteside <b.whiteside@exec.uoguelph.ca>
Date: Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 11:41 AM
Subject: Important University Question re Fees

The University is asking that you take a few minutes to answer a question regarding the resumption of a fee collection. Please click the link below to to answer the question – you will only be allowed to respond once. Background Information is provided and you are encouraged to read it prior to answering the question.

[Individual survey links attached here]

The question will be available until Sunday at midnight. Your opinion is important to us so please take the time to answer.

Thank you and good luck on exams.

Brenda Whiteside

Associate Vice-President (Student Affairs) and Acting Director, Human Rights and Equity Office
4th Floor University Centre
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario
N1G 2W1
phone 519-824-4120 ext. 53868
fax: 519-767-1693
Developing the person, scholar & citizen

Check out studentunion.ca’s recent coverage of the CSA/CFS legal dispute

The survey link provided within the email brought students to the follow screen:

University of Guelph - Survey Question re CFS Fee collection - April 5, 2013

It should be noted that the third point raised by the administration states: “The current CSA has now indicated that it wants to settle the legal proceedings and continue membership in the CFS.”

The University of Guelph administration also released its own statement of facts on the same day as it sent the above email. It indicates that in 2012, the administration “advised the CSA of its growing concern that the parties had had two years to try to resolve their difficulties with no apparent progress in sight. The university advised the CSA that it was already holding over $500,000 in trust, and another year would add another $250,000.” The administration even went as far as to offer “to help the CSA address the financial challenges” of the ongoing legal dispute between it and the Canadian Federation of Students/Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario.

It’s still not entirely clear as to why the University of Guelph decided to get involved in this legal dispute. It may be that the administration was uncomfortable holding over half a million dollars in trust. And now that the CSA has announced its intention to seek a court order that would force the U of G administration to begin collecting CFS fees again, the entire situation has become all the more complex. It strikes me as unusual that the CSA would agree to join forces with the Canadian Federation of Students in order to pursue the administration when the CSA took the CFS/CFS-O to court.

It appears as though the administration expects the CSA to move this case forward as quickly as possible. The speed at which a legal case moves through the courts is almost completely out of the hands of the parties. However, it is possible that the CSA (who has now indicated that it wishes to remain a member of the CFS) and/or the CFS/CFS-O are purposefully delaying the case from going forward.

Studentunion.ca has also obtained a second email from the U of G administration, sent to students on Monday, April 8, 2013, which reveals the results of the CFS fees survey:

From: Student Affairs <announce@uoguelph.ca>
Date: Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 4:29 PM
Subject: Announcement Regarding Survey Results

The results of the survey sent out to undergraduate students on April 5th are in.

The survey question was: Are you in favour of the University resuming the collection of CFS membership fees commencing fall of 2013.

The results are:

Yes: 1037 votes – 29.145% of the vote
No: 2515 votes – 70.685% of the vote
Spoiled: 6 votes – 0.168%
Total: 3,558 votes

Given the students’ input, the University continues to be open to working collaboratively with the CSA regarding next steps in this matter.

We will continue to follow this ongoing legal saga closely and update our readers on any further developments as they happen.