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Science undergraduate fees passed in ‘redo’ referendum


Updated February 3.

The Science Undergraduate Society (SUS) passed two fee increases in a ‘redo’ referendum after a procedural mishap invalidated the results of a referendum that took place at the end of last semester. The most recent referendum was able to meet quorum, with an 11.6 per cent turnout.

An increase to the Science undergraduate base fee passed with 352 voting “yes,” 179 voting “no,” and 20 abstentions. It will raise the base fee to $12.50 for full-time Science undergraduate students, $6.25 for part-time Science undergraduate students, $6.25 for full-time Arts and Science students, and $3.13 for part-time Arts and Science students.

“The base fee increase will allow the next generation of science departmental councils to expand their portfolios and undertake larger projects/events,” SUS President Shannon Herrick told The Daily in an email. She said it may also be used for new undertakings by the SUS executive, such as a possible laptop-lending program that could begin as early as this semester.

The introduction of a Student Space Improvement Fee passed with 356 voting “yes,” 161 voting “no,” and 34 abstentions. The motion will add a fee of $7 and $3.50 for full-time and part-time Science undergraduate students respectively, and will add a fee for part-time and full-time Arts and Science students of $3.50 and $1.75 respectively.

Herrick explained that this fee will be used for renovations for spaces used by students, such as the Burnside basement, “making the limited space into a more effective, comfortable, and useful study space for students,” she wrote.

The results of last semester’s referendum on the same questions were found to be invalid because the questions were submitted to SUS constituents as part of the Fall 2014 referendum, but only subjected to the standards of online ratification, which normally takes place after a General Assembly (GA) and has lower quorum requirements than a referendum.

The turnout for the vote last semester was 6 per cent, which is sufficient for quorum in an online ratification process, but not for a referendum, where at least 10 per cent is required. The online ratification was not required since the Fall 2014 SUS GA did not meet quorum, and the referendum questions were sent directly to the General Council.

However, it was only after the SUS executives had put in an official claim for the fee that the executive realized the procedural mistake.