Canadian Federation of Students v. Acadia Students’ Union (1995 referendum)

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Acadia Students’ Union (ASU) held a disaffiliation referendum in 1995, and a majority voted to stay in the CFS. The ASU then held a second referendum in 1996, and a majority voted to leave the CFS. The CFS sued the ASU in June 2002, claiming that the second referendum violated a recent amendment to the CFS bylaws which prohibited students’ unions from holding successive disaffiliation referenda within a two year period. The CFS insisted that the ASU owed it membership dues for the period 1995-2002 – a huge sum of money, which the ASU could not afford. The ASU argued (1) the Acadia Students’ Union Act superceded the CFS bylaws; (2) the CFS position contravened the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (this argument was later withdrawn), and (3) the specific amendment was not validly adopted at the May 1995 CFS General Meeting. The parties settled out of court in late November 2007, on undisclosed terms.