SFU Settles With CFS

Out-of-Court Agreement May Have Implications for CSU

Over the winter break, Simon Fraser University’s student union officially left the Canadian Federation of Students after a lengthy legal dispute.

“The agreement was motivated by a desire on the part of all parties to resolve all outstanding issues,” read the joint statement between the Simon Fraser Student Society and the CFS, issued Dec. 23. “As part of this resolution, the membership has ended.”

The SFSS settled their case with the CFS out of court and both parties agreed to make no further public statements regarding the matter.
The case reportedly cost the SFSS over $450,000 in legal fees.

In a 2008 referendum, 67 per cent of voters at the Burnaby, BC university opted to leave the CFS. The national student organization contested the referendum’s legitimacy, and a court date had been set for Feb. 12 of this year before the dispute was settled out of court.

The news comes as Concordia Student Union is also attempting to leave the CFS after a 2010 referendum that has yet to be recognized. On March 17, 2011, the CSU officially became the eighth student union in Canada to attempt to sue their way out of the organization.

Former CSU President Heather Lucas predicted at the time that the lawsuit could last at least two years and would cost the union a minimum of $220,000. Concordia’s Graduate Student Association filed a similar lawsuit at the same time as the CSU.

The CFS also claimed the union owed them $1,033,278.76 in unpaid fees, despite both the CSU and Concordia University finding no proof of outstanding dues.
For the CSU, the out-of-court decision is a good sign.

“Congratulations to [the SFSS]. They’re troopers. They’ve been at it for years,” said CSU President Lex Gill of the settlement. “It’s also reassuring that they managed to set the tone of what could be a really lengthy court process. […] Depending on what happened there, maybe we can go in that direction too.”

Gill explained the CSU is currently in the process of implied undertaking with the CFS, wherein requested documents are sent between the two parties. There is currently no court date set for the CSU.
“It’s a long process,” said Gill. “But things are on schedule and moving forward.”

—with files from David Dyck, The Peak.