National Union of Students (NUS) Canada - History of Student Unionism - 1972

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!'I ';' : ,,,'.'.,n' ' ., -, : ' '.',' , !,, .... .... ;:,', 1 ;1 .1' ;,.:!; he S(::' ,'or' ',' L:-:.:',: '( HISTORY 'OF ST.U13ENT UNIONISM i.: '' ; .'.:': :: ; i,. j .d,''',: 1':, ! .ã . , t ; \. ãã ..;.l.' r,' Overview' , Iildee'd,' one dla tUrbihgly cona tarit patterltj,13 faU ofmembers'·interest arid a'ctua1'membe'rship. ' At
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  !'I ';' : ,,,'.'.,n' ' ., -, : ' '.',' , !,, J ~ ' ; .... . .. ;:,', 1 ;1 .1' ;,.:!; he S(::' ,'or' ',' L:-:.:',: ' , 2 ~ : ~ ; : ' ; j '( HISTORY'OF ST.U13ENT UNIONISM i.: '' ~ ; .' .:': :: ; i,. j .d,''',: 1':, ! .ã ~ , , t; \.ãã ~ ..;.l.' r,' Overview', Iildee'd,' one dlatUrbihgly cona tarit patterltj,13 t h E l f i ~ ~ . a n d faU ofmembers'·interest arid a'ctua1'membe'rship. 'At t h r e ~ ' t i i n e ' s i n , the past 49 years most· student governments have watched Se:riousprbb 1ems develop in' the' ria tiona1organ! zatipn. .Ea'ch,.tirrie 'the. , r § f J , G ~ } . o r f . of many. was to withdraw un'td.T' the :organi zati0n' il1)proVed.Or: tt)·. ·.c'on-, cLude that any nationalorganization was nat worth t.he effort: <Each ~ ' ...ã..ã.ãã..ãã.. ' r.. time somemembers chose toanalyze the pr9b1ems and a : p p l y ' . ~ a d c j t , F - i 6 p W ; ( ãã..ã ;r. resources to the, soLubdon, TWice this succee de d> u n i t y w a s r e ~ t b r l , : l ' a . and with anew enthusiasm the o r g a n i Z a t i o ! 1 . P r b s p e ' J ; ' ~ · d . : I n , ; L ' ~ ' 6 . s ' i ~ 9 , . : . ; 0 , ; : \ · · . ,., l' ',- , ,,:, ',1'; .'. ' , .....'. AlthoughCanadian students had a national organization frOm, 1926. their organization has proven unable; so rar, to achievethe strength and stability shown b . ~ other nat.iona] sttldent ã .Qrgapizapons. manyofthemybunger; 'Certainprob1ems and, trend.shaye been .. e ' y ~ d e p t over the past;49 years ... ' These':lnclude'diff'i'culty of'admiri:L'str'iit:ton. regional ri valr1es. f'llictliat1ng membeiship :and a:-basic'enthusii=isnf . f'or- . co- opera tion .' .' .: .... .' .ã .. .' Theve'ry 'size of Cahada hinders thecommunicahons anci : i q t e ~  institutional relations that are necessary to build'the stroni?;.seris·e of'commonaction thatmany'l66k for in a natiopalQtganizatlon .'It' of ten. seems that· theonly two'al ternatives'arera'-'h'igh1y ·cen,tral:j.zed, , .'. ....'' ..... ', ., .' .' . .v :' .... ..... ',. 'i (' J: :','..'. '. -- '.:, .'-', ',.-. , operation whichis remote· from' its members ;or on'e which is so degentralizedtha t e f . f ~ C i e r i t a d m i n i s t r a t i o n .and'decis:l,'on';'lllaking.:is i m i ? o s s i b l ~ . r .. ' ..\> ,: ,;,. '. , , .:' _. , ';. sln'ce Htneml'd1 950's regional d i f t e r e n b e E ! ' a n d ~ i v a l r : ! ' & ~ ' h e \ 1 . r ~ been a noticeable source of f'ri ct fori. St'udents ·h.avesom'e'tirriesbe'en unwilling to recognize a,nd allow. forregionalclifJeJ:'e;ncEls Ln 'tactics andatti tudes/'even When' there: waaa,g;r:eeplent o \ ' l , p ' q . l i c ~ ; a n 8 , g Q ? - l s . , Differences oVer policy have be'erirobs cured. byth'e'preQcGL\pa,ti'dn with regiona·lism.' '111,'addii t i b r i ~ h e ' r e h , i s b e e n t h e ':sentiment '·'that',a. naticm- ',,' ',: '.' ...-'. .- .', : ', .. ,;< .,.,: .ã...... :..,:.. ' i :.,. ..(: , al organizatiohmuErt'di!rectly represerita l a r g e m ~ , j o r i t y O':C,P'9,st- secondarty students 0r·else·have'llo credib;l.1i ty . This sentiment ... goes: beyon'd' the' p r a : h t i c a F i p r o b ~ e m s of low. : r : e y e n u e ~ h a t .. a , c ' c o m p ~ n . ~ ..a smaller memberShip.'. The·insistence .upona cons'tantly1a:r:,ge. member ship ledto virtualPaniicwhen.,in;anyone l ' ¢ ~ f ~ ' ~ ¢ ' V e r a l m e r r i b E t t ~ ; :left the natioha'1' organization' .: regardless of' .the,ir .reaspns fo;rp,c5:ing; so. . .... , . : , ~ : , ... ;. ,. '., ', f' ,.'This i paper.':l:8 abrie f reviewof studerWorgan:i iJt:iciri in . ., Canada; It contains an oire rview of'certain trendS and patterns (that have' emerged. 'then. t r a c e s t h e h i s t o r y o f t n e ~ suc ces af, V ~ ' . o r g e m i z a ' t i o n s and. ends by leading into ,.the NUS/UNE . orit!inti;ttion'paper: .'1'i1;!(perspec tiveof' thepaper,;isalrrios t e;ccl usi vely;na tional > as' Oppose c:l..t6 ' prov1.ncial.because the majorsource of'material was. theCUS· ..ã'.' archives. andb.ecause·'untiltne 1960' spravinCial organizationS' we:r.e.unknown. i ,,' ,.' .ã ;' ... ã ~ . , ' -,: :,,<:.,:.,, ; , .-'- ,: y',' I I I I III I IIIII  2 ,ffort cametl)o late, and it faced the new element of ~ ~ g e ofthe difficulties. No cure. for fluctuating ,'been sugge s tie d, and if it continuesCanada's national : ~ a t i o n mayi;tlways be vel?,tiyelYWeal<; in comparison to : t ; ~ \ : : : , ; ,i gtl/ftity ,of;J:latiol1al .s t U d E ! n t d o r g Z : l J 1 i ~ a t . 1 0 , n s d l i a s been ·,Jgfncq;;operation within the post.,.sedondary education m g ~ , j ; ' . i ~ ~ C c e l i ) s ful . of these;;e ffOlJt'fL,le,d,to, the 'creation.' , ~ ~ ~ i ~ y , . ; (P.' ~ e s s, a. co-opera q.'ve .. ::,0 . fi s. t .. 1;ldent.,me)'l'spapea:-s· ;'on ~ h e i n 1 t i a t i v e o f s t.udentjgover-nmerrts :andfunded OY'i, , 1 ' ~ E t l l i i i t l t , o r g a n i z a t i o i l for seyer,al' years;. C O ~ . o r d : l ! n a . . : . . · . ; ~ § ~ I ' i t ~ g ~ r i d c ~ 8 ~ ~ : ~ i n ~ ~ i ~ o ~ g o ; ~ ~ ~ ~ d i ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ i P . ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ f i f : S ~ r ! = G € ! ~ ; ; . ~ 6 # ~ a n d often essential support from the national student o r g ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ J ! i P B i ' i r , A similar effort was sponsorship, in the late 1950's a n : d ' # ~ ~ ~ r r p i ; ~ g p ' ! ' i 3 ; or eleven national seminars ona variety of1f>slles' w ~ 1 , c f : ' ., eI5Pf;l,growing lm.portal1ce . inpos t - s e c Q ~ , ~ a ~ ~ , . : d ~ ~ ~ t ~ ~ , r l , ' N ~ B ' l ; ' ~ ~ f g n : A f C ~ n ~ d : L a n ' Un1 ve'r,sit s ~ ~ ~ e ~ t ~ ,,(N¥PUS,); ' , ; ; · J , ~ ; ~ f : j l · ; : t · r ' r ,;;., ,:, i ' - ~ . , ' · . : ~ : .- ':,~ ' .. ~ .. ;,J,' :re r ~ n . C t , .; .ã. ~ I ¢ . ; ~ s . ~ ; i : J ~ e . , r : . ~ . i go.ve. rriment; . 10 fir. s. t .... j.Pi.ne .. d.,1;;.o . get Per. formally\ ~ ~ ; 2 1 t ~ , ~ ~ , :8:,MontJ!eal...conferenqe .whipp.founded; NFCUS'. ';,;yea:t;i? ,most: student.. gove rnment s.A1l,dj qineo,.!,,! i , ~ ~ , . J ,J:.,l; ... )...., I . '.-ã- --- ,.' . , ..,, r jL,; , ~ ! \ : ' ,, '. !' , ~ ' ',,' .r .. N . , t l l , l t ~ ~ ' f ~ ~ ; q ~ , ~ e , n . l ; l had be en. i n s p i r E ! ~ : l ) : > y , : t h ~ , a r i t . \ ! . s h N a t i o n a l V-gj,,9,l1' .. ·.ã .. Yo.' 8 \ W. ' .1 . ~ : ~ s . ;; ,8,n.<;1· the. srclnal. act . i. viti . e .. s ... ,:tnC);llo,ed. ::; PO. ns.oz-shf.p .. d ~ l : ? 1 f i ~ · , 'J ; t e , , ~ ~ a , M ) · q : ~ R a t i n ? ' a n d E u r o p e a n t r a y e l a l o n g , : l , d n e s , ~ e v e l o p . , e. ~ ~ ] ) .. ,.,¥it '· ... N.,.,lf, s.3'· ..ã. n· . , : , ~ ãã CN.K ã. .I ã.. ' L - ~ . ,n.. 9 . < t h , . e ~ . , Ilr. ~.' ori ty . '.' g. af.nf.ng n.at:L o. na.l:.s.t. JJ ã den . t. : d ~ s counes., h ! i d : : ; ' % b e ~ l ' . ' ~ r R ' ~ ' : ' ; i ; ' , a , n a n d sporting goods i\1<'!ustries .'·'l!luchof. t!'l'e, e a : r : l Y i ~ n : \ i R : ; } ; l I ~ , , ~ ; ~ ! ! 1 i ' 1 , ~ ~ , ~ ~ r . e r a t e d by an inter regipnal's1:;udent,i exchange sch61aJ!.s'il:lp,!?Vogranune. NFCUS convincedthe universities to,part:ic\!., pateartdaJ;thpugh only afew scholarships were available each year ~ ; ~ ~ J - f 7 F g ! f l i i : ~ t n l i ) E 1 1 ' P l b ~ t i ' v ~ ~ } ' f , e c j , a s a symbo L of t h e l 1 , ~ , w LCo '0Perat1on and W M , ~ ~ ~ ~ l i f i ~ @ i l i t l P t , v q , € f n l 1 , d 1 a n st.uderrta....' .. ' <' ' ~ ,fH :, .....ã.. <;0 j : j ~ ~ ~ ~ f ~ r . : ~ ' ~ ~ ~ t 1 6 ~ ~ ) 1 o.f NFCUS was. cut o f f : ~ , ~ y , ' , t ~ t P ~ ~ r e s s i ~ ~ ' . c, ~ W f . , ' , e n , i ~ : H : J ; l 1 \ E L R i i J d t ~ ? I j : l t ;p.ll an }l ial d,ifficulty.t:or, m o s t ( s ~ U d ! = n t gove rrr- . ' l l r ~ 1 f : t ' s , ; . 1 l : P I j . ~ ~ ) ; p ; , t ' ; t : t p W ~ r response ,as to . r ! = q ~ g e ,the,r: NF.CUS. ,levyand .... h d I ~ ~ n . ; 1 l f f ; ? - ~ I b a ; : g } 1 Q P . ~ e , F r l ' ) q e S b:l,annually r1l,ther tpan:l'l:nn,,8,llY,,;,Some c o n t 1 ' r I ~ : ' 1 ' : t V j .. 1 ' I , ~ ) 3 :Piro;(Trde.dbyha. vingthe same ,persQ,n , l ; l ; . e , : ~ w e . .asNat'i. o. na l, S :}1.I'tlil,J: :'l',I. ,,,.1... f .. '1929t1939 H th 1ãd i ~ t ~ ~ ~ ~ i ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ , : ~ ~ ~ ; t P l o S 10 ~ s i n ~ x p e ~ r : ~ 6 , ~ : ' ~ ~ o , ~ ~ 9 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ e o r'. , , 9 f , f j . ' 9 ~ T ; ' n W 9 - ; r H ; i E . f \ ~ , l . f f i ; i,n;t;l'l.e :J,ate1920' s Y Q n , t i n b \ ~ < i b t ;Little, else was s t a : : t ; ' e ' e . & ' ~ , ~ ! 1 C I 1 I I t . l I O C ? ; l 1 ) ~ r t O be regarded, as a p u r y h ~ s , e d s e r v i c e ; ra.ther thanl'1{(lnee-tihtgroUnd for' Canadian students. . h' eT 1 t1 1 j , , ~ t . t , t r t ; f P ~ s oftJ:.1e organi Zi3.1<1onl:l . /3;L'9wdowni;tn.o, l.imited, r9J,e)t\1tfttt D t ? , ~ 1 H [ P b . ; ' i ; ~ o u s i'l;h enano the r- national: oJ:'gan:tzation:; j;he· ã , q < i ~ , ~ ~ i , 1 t n > l § L t J 1 p : e , n n ~ f l i ~ c ~ I l j M Y . (CSA),was created,.t11' PeQemper,193:7,· ., I t s ~ P . ~ p ' p ! , b J l 1 E l ,%jl-J ~ t i ? ; ' ; J l r ; ? Y f , d e ' a . f'o r'um whereup,:L;yert>j,tY ,stu<;lenj;s discus s ~ g j , ; l : F t J = r l ' J . f t p q 5 1 9 i ; J , : y : M , < ; l i l 1 ; a , ~ 1 o n a l i s ~ u e s , r e a 9 ~ ; t n g ( ' j . e c i s 1 o n s on a' ~ t . \ - t ~ ~ n t . , - ) : J P ~ j : L l t l t o f , \ t ; t r ' F p ' , : , ~ e \'I. as consd der-ab Le de1;late:,a,s to whlchorgan1 z,a.J:i +l?p, f l h 9 1 1 1 \ ~ , : r . E l P ' : q 7 1 ~ f e n ~ C a . n a d i a n s t udenus.,The. a.ss ue-was settled .: r J : l f , l ~ ' ~ r J j ; 8 f £ ~ ~ ';[:1'11.;1;; a'ps,rt;:i-.If. the f a ~ e of ac cus am.ons that i t . w a s a n t i ~ . war i ~ R : 9 ; : : E l P ~ B ; ~ ~ a ~ t ; l , p , ! l - t H s a n i P O lib c s, ; One re suIt' was. that NFGUS ;moved' to' fill the need fot' some exchange oof'- ideas at the national , ,I , [' ! , I ·] , , :1 ,I  History of Student Unionism ,. level. During World War II most NFCUS acti 'liit;,' ceased, and it was the task of 1944 and 1945 conferences to renew consciousness of the' Federation. A cross-co:untry tour.by the 1946··'47 Pre'sident greatly, helped the· re'bui'lding. He. botti 'convinced most student unions to r es umei.act.Lve membership arrdiLad.d the foundation'for NFCUS's first serious involvement with the international student movement ; For the most part the cr-gand.za.t.Lonwas content to continue in its,pre' 'war path,although there wasscme. agitation fo!r' reduction 'of the 'finan- ':cialbarriers to pos t.-ue condar-y education. ...A permanent of·fice in Ottawa wasestabUshed in 1951; an d this served toincreas'e the internal continuity,ofiNFCUS., However, them6re active role an d increasedpol±1l.iee.l involvement caused strains among ithevmemoe-r-a vthaf had not -p re.vd.ousLyexf.s tie.d , 'As the veterans graduated enrolment decreased, causing a decrease in NFCY-S income. It was impossible to meet all of -he demands upon the organ ization, and SOme ,:of the' members, beganto.joinand leavewith aj.arm ingregularity . Thedi vis ion was most 0 ften. between larger and smaller memners, although there were' alsodifferencesoverpolicy (eg.scholarships vs , loans as·the, form of' 'government assistance to students) ,Thelowpoint was 1956; whenNFCUS.leadersconsidered. dissolving the Federation because 'it no long;errepresented at least. halfof 'the university students. 'The respOnse to the fluctuating membership wasa more ambitiousNFCUS programme., stressing national unity and the need for an adequat-e national student aid.plan. NFCUSparticipatedin'the Canadian Educat.Lon Donf'e re'nces , andintere13t in 'the Fede.ration' in;.:.; creased withthegeneralg;rowthof concernabout education. The ' ,period from 1958 to 1962 was ·untroubled and. fairly productive; !'lFCUS directly represented up to 80% of the:'Universii:;y. students. Its 'members were pleased withthe work of ,the 'executive and staff .The public was receptiveto students' desire .for' better as sLs cance.,Canadian UnionofStudents/Unioncanadienne de'S'etudiants (CUS/UCE) New problems, arose j,n 1963 when NFCUS·' failed to .finda structure and politicalst ance that ,sati'sfied, all.members, ','Some wi,shed ,NFCUSto continue as large,ly a 'servi-ceorganization 'that' lobbied forstudentsbutdidnot become!-LnvoLved in thewider iss ue s or social ana Ly sa sã Others,' espe da.11Y the Quebecois, saw : students as members, of the working class who 'Should be paid fOr' !,etheir contrib'Utionand who should take part ',in .workingclass 13trug gles at home' and abroad.' All members agreed that thedifferences between· the Engl'ishand Frenchspeakf.ng nations 'of Canada should be .r-e cogna zed when NFCUSdealtwitheducational'issues 'and elected its officers, plus in amending its constitution. Another point of con- sensus was. changing the name! to Canadian Union 'of Students in recog nition .orNFCUS's elitistbaseal1dthe expected growth of non-university, 'post-secondary education. ,The break camewhen in executive elections the ae rvt.ce.: or'ientedEnglish 'speaking 'members prevailed over thepoli tlcized.members (mostly French . speaking, but LncLudf.ng acs';Egnificant 'English speaking gr-oup.) '} i 'i' -   That decision and the growing sense of independence i n Q u e ~ bee led quickly to the establishment in 1964 of l'Uniongenerale des etUdiants dUQuebec (.UGEQ).By 1966 both the French an d English GUS/UGE 'members.rr-om Quebec had j oine dUGEQ..Howeve'r,.'the f'ede r'a l, : government's failure 'to .be gdri making large grants to education meant that both 'organizations took ' the po Lfrt.LcaL path frdm'196.4. GUS/UGE conc.entratedalmost : exclusi ve:lyon education ,camp:aigning,for lower financial and social barri.ers to p o s t ~ s e c o n d a r y education,universal accesf3ibilityto education,and 9pen d e c i s i o n ~ m a k i n g within the edu..,cat.ic;mal· ins:titutions. Education was seen as part of the economic and social structure, a part which should be. conscioUsly .LnvoLved in changing that structure andwhich should realize that it reflects the larger s t ruc t ur-e ts values GUS/UCE-.initiated'and administered acomp r-ehans Lvs:Means, sur-vey .whi,ch provided much of the dat a rregar-d ing bar-r-Ler-svbo pos t-ss e condary 'education. GUS/UCEalso 'worked in associated i areas of dire,ct effect upon students: such as housing and travel ã. ':):n 1966 and, 1967 ,opposition :.within CUS/UdE: grew, as a result of the policy:regardingJ and fostering of .orr-c ampus debatie .. about, nationa,l and international issues which had no direct 'or obviouS', effect upon s t ude ntis,SimultaneouslyCUS/UCE emphasized mcr-e.vt.han: ever the need for,10.cal 'work around .t he issues .andpolicies with wh:ttlh it was Lnvo.L ved ã.'The regional ,conferences,ofCUS/UCEwere a ~ . < ¥ l i s h e d and the role of CUS/UCE staff was expanded to include field work (advising and assisting the member unions during one week visists) 'as ,wellas t he re at ab Lf.ehe dwor-k in research, commUnications , lobbying and, travel.' In most predominantly, Englishspeaking provincesthe : student· unions formed, independent associations to discuss provincial .is.sueso'r .tihe pnovf.nc La.L aspect .of issues and to decLde: policies. . Unlike CUS/UCE ,t-hese or-gana za tions nacno per capita,fee and staff. ,Therewas 'apprehension:that theY would appear- to some -as a sUbstitute forCUSAliCE, or as a'first levelof·external activity, rather than a means of co,-ordinating Lcc a L. work on the issuesand'policiesi.mportant to .Canadd an students. , 'In 1968 'GUS/UGE conb tnue d to,de:velop policy on,-education,' Canadian society and international affairs based upon a radical analysis. iIt .alsoendorsed confrontatiOn asa po:liticizing techni- que J,.including' confrontation between CUS/UCE land :i.ts members. The fieldworking .sys t em-waa vstneng thene d, but .poor'communfcat.Lonsvwf.uh student unions land individual students was still ,a problem. The mass media portrayed GUS/UCE as a violent .or-gant.aat ton ,.. and GUS/UCE leaders tJ:'ied to .convf.nce students of the value ofc'onfrontation andinvolvement i n n o n ~ s t u d e n t n issues ·rather, than 'sell,the, organization as a source ofservices, (whi,ch .Lt still was ),anda vehicle for the exchange of ideasamong st.uderrusv. The result. was that' 30 campus referenda on CtJS/UCE membership were held, with'T8 deciding against. By the s ummen 'of 1969 a rebuilding effort hadbegun, f o u n d ~ ed on rejectionof'.unrealistic rhetoric- and willingness to ac como-, date most student viewpoints, in. deCiding CUS/UCEpolicy. Before the change could have much effect the 1968 image .r-esul.bed in sever al more referenda .Loases, cutting, the membership to ','13 student unions with about 35, 000 members inall,CUS/UCEcea.sed operations ;~I ;11 ii', , il'l Ii, ~ 'd , I: ! I ,I ii , Ii . :t'! 'I ,i' I i II ' Ii . ! , :1 II ~ :1 :.1 I I 'iii n 'I', 1 I ,i I' I' I I i II' i Ij': , d-' I 'li ,I, il; 'I' 1 I' iI! 11.1 I l ~ History of Student Unionishm 4 ., . , . ~ . .-, \'
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