Between March 29 and March 31, Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) members will be voting in the online referendum concerning a possible increase to the Athletics and Recreation ancillary fee.
Like all ancillary fees, the Athletics and Recreation fee is non-opt-outable. It ostensibly serves to run and maintain McGill’s Athletics facilities, yet the University routinely deducts hundreds of thousands of dollars in overheads from the Athletics budget, meaning that much of the money raised through this fee doesn’t actually go where it’s supposed to. Moreover, many of McGill’s sports facilities are not fully accessible, and the University has rejected student initiatives to improve accessibility in the past. McGill has also failed to release the results of both its 2015 working group on athletics accessibility, and its investigations into sexual violence and hazing within Athletics.
In addition to the administration’s poor record when it comes to responsible spending and improving facilities, The Daily takes issue with McGill’s unsustainable reliance on ancillary fees to fund services important to students. Furthermore, the very fact that SSMU had no choice but to put this fee increase to referendum, because of an agreement signed in 2010 which limits the Society’s financial autonomy, demonstrates a shameful level of administrative interference in student democracy.
For these reasons, the Daily endorses a “NO” vote on this question.