UTSU's office. CAROLYN LEVETT/THE VARSITY

The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) is one of the 10 signatories of an open letter to the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) criticizing the federation’s structure and what they call a lack of transparency.

In addition to the UTSU, the signatories include the Carleton University Students’ Association, the Cape Breton University Students’ Association, the Ryerson Students’ Union, the Laurentian University Students’ General Association, the University of Regina Students’ Union, the Kwantlen Student Association, the Lakehead Students’ Union, the University of British Columbia Students’ Union Okanogan, and the OCAD Students’ Union.

The concerns that the letter highlights include the availability of the meeting minutes, bylaws, policies, and financial information; the “overly burdensome” defederation process, the power of the CFS staff, the “closed, exclusive nature of general meetings;” and the “lack of space for dissent and for constructive criticism.”

The 10 student associations plan to pass reform motions at the CFS Annual General Meeting in November. “Our motivation for these reforms comes from a desire to strengthen student organizations in Canada to be truly representative and to further reflect the will of our members,” reads a portion of the letter.

Despite the criticisms, the 10 member locals say that they remain committed to the CFS’s principles and support “the existence of a progressive student movement that advances the interests of all students.”

The UTSU had been a member of the CFS since 2003 and is listed under Local 98. Student activist unaffiliated with the UTSU executive have launched a petition campaign called You Decide UofT in an attempt to have a referendum on continued membership with the CFS.

This story is developing, more to come.

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