MSU cements its membership in provincial body


It's official. The McMaster Students Union (MSU) is now a full member of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA). At its regular meeting on Sunday, Jan. 23, the Student Representative Assembly (SRA) voted unanimously to change McMaster's member status in the OUSA from
associate to full membership.

Basil Alexander, MSU vice-president education, notes that of the 28
representatives in attendance, there were none in opposition and no

“I'm extremely pleased (by the vote). It will be good for the MSU to be a full member of a credible, member-driven organization.”

Arguments for full membership focused on the fact that education is a
provincial matter and OUSA has a history of concerning itself with
fundamental issues such as tuition, financial aid to students and
quality of post-secondary education. Alexander and the MSU board of
directors supported the full membership status.

OUSA is a provincial student lobbying organization comprised of a
coalition of elected university student councils from across the
province. Members include the universities of Western Ontario, Waterloo, and Windsor, Brock and Wilfrid Laurier universities, and the part-time undergraduate students at the University of Toronto. The organization currently represents the interests of 120,000 full- and part-time undergraduate students.

The SRA, the governing body of the MSU, decided at a previous meeting that it would not put the question of full membership to students in the form of a referendum. Alexander says that by having the SRA vote on the issue as the representatives of the student body, “it keeps both the MSU and the OUSA accountable.” He adds that since the issue did not involve increasing MSU student fees, there was no need to have a student vote.

The annual McMaster dues to OUSA will be approximately $23,000, or $1.95 per student. Alexander adds that the fees will be paid out of MSU's operating budget.

The MSU became an associate member of OUSA in 1998 after voting to leave the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), the country's largest student lobbying organization.

In contrast to the more activist approach of the CFS, OUSA is known for its research and government lobbying efforts, often behind the scenes, with key ministry of education and training personnel.