With campaign week in full swing, we’d like to take a few moments to explain to you, dear Daily readers, what we’re asking you to vote on, and why we think you should vote Yes.
This year, as it has to do every few years, the Daily Publications Society (DPS) – that’s the umbrella organization that publishes The Daily and Le Délit – sat down with McGill to renegotiate our Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). This document is essential to our existence, as it covers The Daily’s right to rent space from McGill, the use of the McGill name, and McGill’s obligation to collect fees on our behalf.
For the first time ever, the McGill administration has made the MoA conditional upon undergraduates passing a referendum to continue supporting their newspapers with the current $5 per semester fee. Similar demands were made of campus radio station CKUT and the McGill chapter of the Quebec Public Interest Research Group last year, and will continue to be made every time these independent student groups have to sign a new MoA with McGill. To be perfectly clear, The Daily is not asking for any fee increase, only for your continued support of this newspaper. Should it lose this referendum, The Daily will cease to exist in its current form.
A No vote would mean a very real loss to student life at McGill. Since its inception in 1911, The Daily has been McGill’s newspaper of record, run entirely for and by students. Its earliest volumes document the ups and downs of McGill sports teams, and the impact of the First World War on McGill and Montreal. In the 1960s, the Daily reported on the wave of intense demonstrations against the Vietnam war, tuition fee increases, and everything in between. Today, it covers the issues that affect you as a McGill student, everything from profiles of up-and-coming student bands to the current postsecondary underfunding crisis in Quebec.
Besides simply reporting on the issues of the day, The Daily seeks to catalyze change in the McGill community and beyond. From the sexual assault centre’s fight for office space to the corporatization of food services on campus, it has never shied away from holding campus authorities to account, and from alternative burlesque to gentrification, it makes a point of covering issues other media ignore. Although this paper’s readers may not always agree with the stances it takes, we hope they recognize that a strong, independent student press is nonetheless crucial to ensuring a democratic campus culture.
Ultimately, The Daily is your paper. Twice a week, The Daily publishes every letter it receives from you, the members of the Daily Publications Society, giving students a space to speak out on and debate the issues of the day. As a student-run publication, it relies on you to contribute articles, artwork, and photos, as well as to oversee the financial and legal realities of publishing on its Board of Directors. It is you that has made The Daily the award-winning newspaper it has become, and you that can set its direction in the years to come. Please vote Yes to keep your paper alive.
Sarah Colgrove and Erika Meere serve on the Daily Publications Society Board of Directors and are members of this referendum’s Yes committee.