AMS Council Votes to Change CASA Membership

In an apparent unanimous decision, AMS Council voted tonight to change its membership in CASA from full member to associate member. (View the AMS’s press release here.)

The AMS is one of the five founding members of CASA, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, a student federal lobby organization that is predicated on four main principles: 1) member driven policy setting 2) exclusive focus on post-secondary issues 3) fair membership regulations 4) exclusive focus on matters under federal jurisdiction.

The issues that the AMS has with CASA were expressed in a recent letter sent to the organization’s national director. The letter as well as CASA’s response can be found here:

AMS Letter to CASA (Aug 13 08)
CASA Response Letter to AMS (Sep 22 08)

Among the issues discussed in the letter as well as in an ensuing AMS working group are: staff setting the political agenda, respect for all delegates, troublesome bias in information documents, cost of membership vs. benefits received, the prioritization of federal lobbying over provincial lobbying, the decision by CASA to not run campaigns, and the AMS’s opposition to CASA’s new constitution.

The change in membership effectively means that the AMS will pay half of the regular membership fees, not receive a vote, but still be invited as a delegate to conferences. The move was designed to send a clear message to CASA that the AMS is serious about the concerns it has voiced with the student lobby organization, which have been largely ignored thus far.

Dropping to associate member allows the AMS to proceed with dropping out of CASA entirely next year, going back to full member status, or remain at associate member status.


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