COMMENTARYplaceholder11-1

Commentary | Winter 2016 SSMU ancillary fee referendum endorsements

The Students’ Society of McGill University ancillary fee referendum, which concerns mandatory fees charged by the University in excess of tuition, takes place from March 28 to April 1.

WUSC Student Refugee Program fee increase – YES

The Daily endorses a “yes” vote to the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) fee increase referendum question. Collected since 1986, this fee has supported the WUSC Student Refugee Program, which provides funding for students living in refugee camps to study at McGill. The fee currently amounts to $0.50 and has never been adjusted for inflation, which means that only one student can be sponsored each year. Increasing the fee to $2.00 would allow WUSC to sponsor up to three students annually.

Renewal of the Access McGill ancillary fee – YES, WITH RESERVATIONS

The non-opt-outable Access McGill ancillary fee amounts to $2.00 per student per semester and supports services for students with disabilities. The services it funds, such as invigilation for accommodated exams and payment for the peer note-taking program, are extremely important; however, these services should be provided by the University without supplementary student payment, particularly given the fact that McGill receives a government grant for students with disabilities. Because a “no” vote would leave students with disabilities worse off at this time, The Daily endorses a “yes” vote on the renewal of this fee, but does so with reservations.

Renewal of the McGill Writing Centre fee – YES

The McGill Writing Centre ancillary fee supports the McGill Writing Centre, an essential resource for students that provides assistance on essays and other written communications and offers courses in academic and professional writing, specialized writing services, and a tutorial service. This non-opt-outable fee of $1.50 per student per semester currently supports one-on-one individualized tutoring and small-group workshops, among other services, and the development of new initiatives on-site and online. While The Daily would prefer to see these services provided by the University at no cost to students, The Daily endorses a “yes” vote on the renewal of this fee to ensure their continuation.

—The McGill Daily editorial board