The Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) has voted to end its memberships with federal and provincial lobbying groups, the Canadian Association of Student Alliances (CASA) and Students Nova Scotia (SNS), following this semester.
The move will free up approximately $140,000, which could be repurposed for internal advocacy—although nothing is set in stone.
CASA, which cost the union $20,662 at its associate member rate, lost by a vote of 17 councillors in favour of leaving and 15 against. There were four abstentions.
Once the votes were recorded, VP internal Ramz Aziz and VP student life Danny Shanahan requested to change their votes. Aziz claims he was confused about which question he was voting on and was allowed to change his vote from against to in favour of the motion. Shanahan, who also says he did not understand the motion, rescinded his request to change his vote from abstaining to supporting the question.
Students NS, which cost the union $92,377, lost its largest member when 16 councillors voted to exit the organization. Fifteen were against, and five abstained from voting. Several student board members with SNS spoke before council prior to the vote. They explained the potential for Dal within SNS and how, in their opinion, their work was misrepresented in the DSU-sponsored advocacy review report presented at council late last year. Despite SNS’ efforts, the union bowed out.
For further background, read our live-tweets from the Feb. 26 council meeting. A selection of them have been collected below.