As a past president of the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU), I would like to correct some misinformation that was posted in the article “UMSU removed CFS promotional materials from day timers” printed September 11, 2013. The contracts for the day-timers had a deadline in March of each year when I was president to allow enough time to coordinate all of the content production, printing, and distribution. This included various write-ups, information sections, and ad space that is sold starting as early as November of the previous year.
The claim that UMSU could have saved thousands of dollars is misleading. In previous years, as I assume was the case this year, UMSU sells ad space to cover their entire cost of printing the day-timers (with a portion also being covered by the CFS). UMSU is able to secure these ad sales because many of the businesses that purchase the space recognize that, in addition to advertising to 20,000 students throughout the year, the books are high-quality, and sustainably and ethically made. By working together nationally through the CFS handbook service, UMSU also saves significant amounts of staff resources on day-timer design.
The students’ union also has internal policies that mandate that items purchased by UMSU must be ethically produced; one executive can’t simply ignore the organization’s own policies that have been democratically developed over time.
Regardless of the current UMSU executive’s own personal beliefs or political ambitions, students at the University of Manitoba are represented both provincially and nationally by the CFS. Spending countless hours ripping out pages in 20,000 handbooks is a massive waste of time and resources. More importantly it prevents students from having access to information on the services and resources that they have a right to and have already paid for.
Jonny Sopotiuk, former UMSU president and former CFS Manitoba Chairperson