By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
And the war goes on...
The Canadian Federation of Students and the Graduate Students' Association at Carleton are locked in legal deliberations over technicalities as a result of a referendum vote.
In 1995, Carleton's GSA decided they wanted out of the federation, but according to Brad Lavinge, national chairperson for CFS, proper procedure for de-enrollment was not followed and, as a result, legal action was brought against the association.
"In the reaffirmation vote, Carleton fulfilled some by-laws but not all and went ahead anyway knowing they weren't abiding by some procedures," he said.
Lavinge said at any given point, a member can put their membership to a vote but must notify other members six months in advance which the association did not do.
Cindy Robinson, VP-external affairs for the association, said they recognize their organization did not follow exact procedure in de-enrolling from CFS.
"The fact that we did not send our notice of a referendum by registered mail is what this whole conflict is over," Robinson said, adding they gave CFS nine months notice when only six months is required.
Every avenue was exhausted to illustrate to the council at Carleton that they were not abiding by the rules and as a result, the vote would be null and void, Lavinge said.
"This can only go on so long before we must bring in legal action which is only an incentive to acknowledge the obvious," Lavinge said, adding they are confident both groups will come to a fair agreement.
The two groups are trying to settle out of court and there is an offer on the table, Robinson said, adding the GSA would like to be recognized as leaving the federation.
"We would like this to be over and done with because it is never pleasant to be sued by other student associations," she said.
GSA has since established ties with the Canadian Graduate Council, Robinson said, adding they feel this group will be more equipped than CFS to deal with graduate issues.
"Everyone is aware that when you want to get out of an organization like CFS, there are rules to follow," said Kelly Barrowcliffe, VP-external affairs for Western's Society of Graduate Students.
Over the past year, SOGS have staged their own referendums because different executives did not feel the organization should be paying into CFS, Barrowcliffe said.
At a conference this summer, SOGS addressed their concerns to the federation who made an active effort to answer all questions. According to Barrowcliffe, both faculty and student members of SOGS are completely satisfied at this point.