The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) purchased 15 anti-CFS domain names in 2008 and 2013, The Varsity has learned.
A Reverse Whois search reveals that these domain names were registered to ‘email@example.com’ and Anna Dubinski, who served as National Treasurer of the CFS between 2014–2016.
The domain names purchased in 2008 expired last month, but the names from 2013 remain under the purview of the CFS. The registered names include ‘iamnotcfs.com,’ ‘no-cfs.com,’ and ‘votenocfs.info.’ The CFS confirmed that there are no current plans to repurchase the expired domains.
In both 2008 and 2013, anti-CFS sentiment was high across several Canadian university campuses. In 2008, the University of Cape Breton, Simon Fraser University, and Kwantlen Polytechnic University all attempted to depart from the CFS. In September 2013, a press release circulated, stating that 16 student associations were planning to leave the CFS.
When asked if the domain names were registered to prevent anti-CFS movements from using those web addresses to organize against the CFS, CFS National Chairperson Bilan Arte stated that she believes “students benefit from being members of the Canadian Federation of Students, but the CFS doesn’t prevent students from organizing against it.”
Arte noted that the tactic of purchasing multiple related domain names is “a common approach that organizations often take. Most of the time domains are renewed automatically. In any case in every referendum I can remember – both to join and leave – both sides have created a website.”
Dubinski confirmed that while her name was associated with the domains, she was not responsible for purchasing them.
“When I became treasurer my name was added as administrator to various accounts, previous records must reflect [that] change as previously purchased accounts were renewed,” she said. At the time the domains were purchased, Dubinski was not working for the CFS.