Windsor jumps on the OUSA bandwagon
By Becky Somerville
Students at the University of Windsor who cut ties with the Canadian Federation of Students are now adopting the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance as their provincial lobby group of choice as the result of a student referendum held in February.
Windsor has been an associate member of OUSA for two years after voting in 1995 to leave CFS. As associate members, they were not able to vote on issues and paid reduced fees to the lobby group. As official members, they will now fully participate in OUSA's lobbying efforts.
Certain pressing political issues such as the federal budget prompted Windsor to examine alternative lobby groups, explained David Young, president of the University of Windsor Students' Alliance.
"Generally there were a number of students who wanted to see student lobbying move in a different direction. In Windsor there was a perception that CFS wasn't doing much for students," he said.
Students at Windsor voted 784 in favour of and 625 against paying $1.95 per student fee to be a member of OUSA, Young said.
The vote is not a close one for Windsor students, Young added. "Windsor is a unique situation. We have a very strong spectrum when it comes to political activism."
As a voting member of OUSA, Windsor will have the opportunity to exercise its strong activist voice on various points of student opinion, Young said.
Windsor is not the only party who benefits from the new membership, however. The addition of another university to the lobby group means greater representation and a broader base of support, said Rick Martin, executive director of OUSA. "It's helpful to have students giving us a vote of confidence.
Windsor's membership will help us in two ways, Martin said. "It will help our budget and we'll have more political credibility."
Martin also pointed out OUSA's $1.95 membership fee is substantially lower than CFS's approximate $11 fee. "Our budget is already tight any new membership will help."
Western is also a member of OUSA and Sam Castiglione, VP-student issues for the University Students' Council, said he is very pleased Windsor voted to join. "It's not that OUSA is in any financial trouble, but it is good to hear membership is increasing."
Currently OUSA represents 110,000 students from six Ontario universities.