Commentary | The Daily’s referenda endorsements

EDITORIAL

Question re: Athletics Ancillary Fee – NO/ NO

1)  NO – While The Daily acknowledges the important role of athletics in campus life, and wants to support all student services that encourage a wide range of initiatives, we endorse a “no” position on an increase of the athletics fee by $7.25, to $127.75. Athletics fees are already very high, and the fee is non-opt-outable. Furthermore, the Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) has expressed grievances with the amount of money spent on athletics, and the ways in which this money is distributed. In Athletics, coaches are highly paid, yet many student athletes still pay out of pocket to be on sports teams, and students still have to pay for a yearly gym membership on top of their fees. In addition, McGill’s administration has more than doubled certain charges to Athletics, leaving Athletics to place the burden of the administration’s hike on students. Instead of raising ancillary fees for students to deal with budget issues, the Athletics department should be engaging students in re-prioritizing their budget.

2) NO – This question asks to index this fee to inflation every year until the 2016-2017 school year. Automatic indexation eliminates all consultation with students about their fees. Indexation increases the fee every year without student approval, which also justifies a no vote.

 

Question re: Creation of a McGill Writing Centre Ancillary Fee – YES

The Daily advises its readers to vote “yes” to the writing centre ancillary fee – but we do so with strong reservations. Though a $1.50 fee is nominal, it’s yet another example of our university administration requiring its students to pay additional fees for incredibly basic services. We pay tuition to be educated by McGill – and that education includes the ability to write effectively. That the University has sidestepped this responsibility is disappointing, and part of a troubling trend. Still, we say “yes”: we want to ensure that all students have access to the resources offered at the centre. We mustn’t allow our University’s lack of commitment to student services to get in the way.

 

Question re: Student Services Ancillary Fee – YES/ NO

1) YES – The Daily advises its readers to vote “yes” to the student services ancillary fee increase by $8.50, to a total of $141.50 – but again, we do so with strong reservations. The student services ancillary fee covers incredibly important offices and initiatives including, but not limited to: the First Peoples’ House, the Office for Students with Disabilities, Mental Health Services, MacDonald Student Services, and Student Health.

2) NO – By indexing the fee for the next four years without the consultation of current and incoming students, McGill is placing a financial burden on students and then denying students the autonomy to annually decide on the fee themselves.

 

Question re: Creation of the SSMU Equity Fund – YES

SSMU funds, like the Green Fund – which promotes projects around sustainability and environmental issues on campus – are a win-win. Students have the opportunity to propose ideas and receive funding to make them happen, gaining valuable experience while running innovative projects; meanwhile, the campus benefits from new initiatives. We endorse a “yes” for a SSMU Equity Fund – this $0.50 opt-outable fee will fuel a new generation of innovative, student-generated ideas that promote equity.

 

Question re: SACOMSS Fee Renewal – YES 

The Sexual Assault Centre of the McGill Students’ Society (SACOMSS), McGill’s resource centre for survivors of sexual assault, is an absolutely essential service. We strongly urge every student to vote “yes” to their $0.75 fee renewal, which is their main source of funding. SACOMSS services include advocacy, outreach, support groups, and crisis intervention; they extend far beyond McGill students and are open to the entire McGill and broader Montreal community. Their existence is particularly important, in light of the fact that nearby Concordia University does not have a sexual assault centre. SACOMSS is nothing short of a life saver for people all over the city. SACOMSS’ support for survivors of sexual assault and social justice initiatives are an integral part of the McGill and wider Montreal community.


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