Douglas Students’ Union referendum, January 1992

LAST UPDATED ON JANUARY 11, 2015

Summary

The Douglas Students’ Union held a disaffiliation referendum in January 1992, in which a majority voted to withdraw from the organization. According to the May 1998 CFS National Executive Report, this referendum “was not recognized by Federation members because of a number of serious procedural violations and irregularities: the vote was scheduled for the registration period so there was no prior opportunity to campaign; Society representatives conspired with the administration to bar Federation representatives from campus; an unannounced and unscheduled day of polling was held prior to the scheduled start of polling; anti-Federation materials were placed at polling stations and a sworn affidavit from a member witnessing ballot stuffing.”1 The CFS refused to recognize the validity of this referendum, and for the following five years the membership status of the Douglas Students’ Union was in dispute. However, “in the Spring of 1997, the Society elected executive members who supported membership in the Federation. Negotiations were held to resolve the matter of outstanding membership fees and agreed that a new referendum would be held on the issue of renewed membership. The referendum was held between February 23 and 27, 1998, of the 1657 students who voted, 1401 or 85 per cent voted in favour of renewed membership while 247 opposed with only 9 spoiled ballot, a significant difference from the hundreds that had been spoiled in the previous invalid referendum.” 2

This second referendum had the additional benefit of participation from the Simon Fraser Student Society. The SFSS actually changed the dates of its general elections forward by one week “since some of the dates conflicted with Douglas Colleges’ CFS referendum dates.” 3

Footnotes

1 CFS, “National Executive Report,” May 1998, 20, attached as Exhibit J to Titus Gregory, “Affidavit #1,” March 10, 2008, in Canadian Federation of Students v. Kwantlen University College Student Association, Supreme Court of British Columbia, Vancouver Registry, No. S081553, http://www.studentunion.ca/cases/kwantlen08/gregory1-c.pdf.
2 Ibid.
3 SFSS, Forum Minutes, January 14, 1998, 6, http://www.studentunion.ca/docs/SFSS-forum-1998-01-14.pdf.