Commentary | The big picture on voting ‘YES’ to QPIRG

One student explains why your excuses won’t cut it

QPIRG is asking for your help to be democratically approved to exist for 5 more years. Here are some reasons I will vote ‘YES’:

1.  I don’t always agree, but that’s not the point

I don’t always agree with what QPIRG says and does, but it puts my own opinions into perspective. For students at McGill, it’s absolutely invaluable to understand what differently minded students are thinking and engage in discussion with them. What is university but a place for people to debate ideas? How else would we learn and grow as thinkers? University is a time to discover what you really believe in. How would we do that without exposure to ideas we disagree with?  What would The Tribune and The Daily write about? Let’s make sure there is something for everybody on campus.

Additionally, I find it incredibly ironic that many of QPIRG’s opponents are strong supporters of ‘free speech’ on McGill campus. It seems to me that they should be promoting a wider range of opinions, not stifling them.

2. Opting out is no reason to vote ‘no’

I am not involved in the vast majority of clubs at McGill and I do disagree with a small number of them. But I would never actively try to end their existence or deprive them of funding.

Similarly, voting ‘yes’ to QPIRG existing does not mean you support the organization, or even that you will not opt-out. If you want to opt-out every semester thereafter, you should. It’s your right. But don’t take away this activity so many students have devoted their entire University (and post-University) lives to in order to save yourself the walk to the opt-out table in the SSMU lobby. Vote ‘yes’ for your classmates, then opt-out for yourself.

3.  “I hate X about QPIRG” is simply not good enough                             Do something about it. Think it should be managed better? Run to be on their Board. Don’t like their events? Join a working group. QPIRG is only as good as the people driving the organization. If you want to see something different from QPIRG, get involved.

4.  We can’t ask the University to support Student Life if we don’t

It’s true. If we opt-out as we have been (around 12 per cent), and try to defeat student-run initiatives like QPIRG, what signal does this send to McGill? With money as scarce as it is here, the University funds everything based on its “priorities” (i.e. academic research). Meanwhile, it has slowly transferred all funding into its “priorities” and pulled out all funding in areas that don’t count on their scorecard. In this way, McGill can still compete with top-notch schools in areas it feels are important, while leaving it up to students to pay for student life. If the students have no interest in funding their own initiatives, why would McGill? How can we ask McGill to help with student-run food services, the Quidditch Cup, or any other student initiative that requires McGill’s support, financial or otherwise, if we don’t even support each other? Let’s show them we care about maintaining and supporting a diverse and vibrant campus.

This referendum question is much larger than $3.75 per semester. It’s about our beliefs about student life at McGill. Go vote, and vote to keep our campus groups diverse, vibrant, and thriving.

Brianna Delagran is a U3 History student. You can reach her at brianna.delagran@mail.mcgill.ca.


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