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HomeNewsDalhousieCASA and SNS—what to do with these expensive acronyms

CASA and SNS—what to do with these expensive acronyms

CASA

The Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) has spent approximately $113,000 this year on federal and provincial lobbying.

That number was higher last year, when Dal spent $44,000 in membership fees to the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA). They’ve since lowered their membership (and the associated costs), but could be leaving the alliance all together this spring.

A report was presented to council on Dec. 4 by the Advocacy Review Committee, which was formed after the DSU downgraded its CASA membership. The report addressed the DSU’s advocacy efforts, from executive restructuring to provincial and federal lobbying groups. One councillor described the report as having “way too much going on here for us to have a conversation” during the meeting.

While it didn’t outright call for an exodus, the report did include a road map and timeline for leaving CASA.

Josh Cooke, DSU VP finance and operations, was less than impressed. He referred to a similar report published by the University of Manitoba when they reviewed their advocacy expenses, which he described as an approximately 60-page “full advocacy review that looks at everything CASA’s done,” adding that “we need something like this rather than a 15-page report… rather than something that to me came across more like an opinion paper.”

Withdrawing from CASA would leave Students Nova Scotia (SNS) as the DSU’s only lobby group. SNS, founded in 2003 as the Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations, will cost the union over $90,000 this year. One argument in SNS’s defence is that university funding is under provincial mandate, so it needs more attention.

This report is one of the first (if ever) times the union has considered leaving SNS. Not everyone was happy to see this suggestion included, given the referendum two years ago in which students voted to increase funding to SNS. One councillor said that Dal would “decimate the institution” by leaving SNS.

The DSU must decide which organizations, if either, they want to leave before putting the question to the student body. The latest this decision can be made is in February.

Claire Wählen
Claire Wählen
Claire was News Editor of the Gazette for Volume 146. You can follow her on Twitter at @Claire_Wahlen.
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