Volume 93, Issue 19

Thursday, September 30, 1999



Waterloo set to join Travel Cuts lawsuit

Referendum motion denied

Third party to mediate negotiation

CSIS gets go-ahead from above

Tourism study to track homecoming cash

Vanier Cup scores rent break


Caught on Campus

Waterloo set to join Travel Cuts lawsuit

By Nina Chiarelli
Gazette Staff

The University of Waterloo's Federation of Students has decided to jump on the bandwagon and contribute to a $100 million lawsuit filed by Western's University Students' Council against the Canadian Federation of Students.

The USC's lawsuit, filed in 1996 names the CFS-Services, a branch of the CFS, the Association of Student Councils-Canada and the Canadian Universities Travel Service Limited, now known as Travel Cuts, as defendants.

In 1969, six university student councils, including Western's, incorporated the then non-profit AOSC. At the time, Travel Cuts was owned by the AOSC.

In 1987, the CFS-S was issued all the assets of the AOSC in a transfer resulting from a vote taken by the AOSC.

The USC lawsuit states that the shares of Travel Cuts remain vested in the AOSC and the CFS-S has improperly converted the said shares to their own use, said USC general manager, Jim Walden. As a result of this, the transfer was never fully completed.

Travel Cuts charges every student from a non-CFS affiliated school $16 per year for use of the retail service. "We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars," Walden said. "[This lawsuit] is not frivolous."

Christine Cheng, the University of Waterloo's Federation of Students' president said they are in support of the USC. "The student council passed a resolution on September 19, in favour of joining the lawsuit," she said.

Cheng added the federation has not officially joined the lawsuit because they are waiting for the USC and the lawyers to approve a request to retain and engage counsel along side of them.

"We haven't joined officially, but there will be a financial contribution to the lawsuit," Cheng said. She added there is definitely no say in terms of the amount of money and aid the federation will contribute. "In terms of Waterloo's position with the AOSC, we do join as co-plaintiff, but we still don't have all the information."

Michael Conlon, national chairperson for the CFS, said he did not think Waterloo's participation in the lawsuit would affect his organization's defence. "It is giving more money to Western to waste," he said.

USC President SzeJack Tan, however, disagreed. "The ownership of Travel Cuts was only transferred to a select number university councils and we're purporting it didn't happen right."

This lawsuit is a last resort, as the CFS has refused to answer questions about equitable ownership of Travel Cuts, Tan said. "Our goal is to make sure Travel Cuts goes back to a sustainable, practical and fair model of ownership."

Tan added the longer it takes the CFS to answer the USC's questions, the more money they will waste. "As responsible student leaders, we demand accountability," he said.

Joel Harden, Ontario chair for the CFS said Waterloo's involvement in the lawsuit will only prolong the case and squander more money. "This lawsuit is an unbelievable waste of time," he said. "We run our organization very efficiently."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999