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CASA Letter of Concern - Feb 14 2013

CASA Letter of Concern - Feb 14 2013

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Published by Dalhousie Gazette

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Published by: Dalhousie Gazette on Mar 09, 2013
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12/18/2013

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February 14, 2013Dear Dalhousie Student Union Councillors,We are writing to express our concern with the decision made by the Executive of theDalhousie Student Union (DSU) to recommend downgrading the DSU
s membership in theCanadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA).Over the past decade CASA has leveraged a remarkable amount of federal funding andpositive policy changes for students in Canada. Through the diligent work of student leaders, on and off campus, the Dalhousie Student Union has consistently been a strongvoice at the CASA table and has contributed proactively to the success of the organization.Since 2011, CASA has secured $167 million for students in Canada through its lobbyingefforts. Over those three years
CASA’s cumulati
ve budget was just under $2 million. Thisdemonstrates a remarkable return on investment for students from coast-to-coast. Thissuccess stems directly from the advocacy efforts of CASA and has been acknowledged byfederal decision-makers on numerous occasions. Over the past decade CASA has met withdozens of cabinet ministers, hundreds of MPs and Senators, and every official national partyleader in Canada, including Prime Ministers.CASA is a leader in the national discussion of post-secondary education policy. The work CASA does is not possible without its informed and engaged national membership.As full members of CASA the DSU has shaped the role students play in federal policydecisions. Representatives of the DSU have filled the position of National Chair of CASA onnumerous occasions, served as chairs of CASA committees, and shaped the policies andpriorities of the organization. As associate members of CASA the DSU will lose its votingposition in the organization and its ability to hold a position on the board of CASA orcommittee chairpersonship. This is a step backwards for the DSU, and more importantly,Dalhousie students.We can't help but wonder why those bringing forward this motion would prefer to walk away from CASA instead of trying to fix it. CASA was built on the understanding that students are stronger together than apart. The needs of students will change over time, andthe democratic nature of CASA means that if members like the DSU put in the effort, so toowill CASA change. Like any democratic organization, nobody is going to be happy with all of the decisions all of the time. Walking away from CASA is calling it quits on democracy.With Concern,
 
Chris Saulnier
Dalhousie Student Union President 2010-2012Chair, Canadian Alliance of Student Associations 2011-2012
 Shannon Zimmerman
Dalhousie Student Union President 2009-2010
 

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