EDITORIALS  SSMU Fall 2018 Referendum Endorsements

Creation of an Anti-Violence Fee Levy – YES
The McGill Daily editorial board endorses a “yes” vote for the creation of an Anti-Violence Fee Levy (AVFL). The AVFL will be an opt-outable charge of $0.45 per undergraduate student per semester. The fee will be used to fund the Gender and Sexual Violence Policy (GSVP). The GSVP is an important step towards a survivor-centric approach to sexual violence, and will provide prevention training on campus. The AVFL is imperative to fund the GSVP, as SSMU’s current budget cannot otherwise sustain its implementation.

Arab Student Network Fee – NO
The McGill Daily editorial board endorses a “no” vote for the Arab Student Network (ASN)’s $0.50 fee levy. The fee levy serves them to host events, provide price discounts to students, subsidize internships, and install a SSMU mini-course. ASN is an “official SSMU Service representative of secular and non-political interpretation of unified Arab culture, [that seeks to provide] the appropriate Resources, Support, Referral, Awareness and Education inspired by the enriched heritage of the Arab world, for the enjoyment and benefit of the entire student body, as a whole.” The apolitical and secular fundamentals of ASN have been a cover for the association to promote a whitewashed, “palatable” Arab culture. In a recent interview with The McGill Daily, ASN President Atassi was asked about the controversy around the ASN’s Nas Daily event. Atassi said he “contacted SPHR [McGill Students in Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights] telling them [he has] been informed that police are coming to the event.” Individually contacting student activists who oppose the event to inform them of police presence is, at the very least, intimidatory. SPHR activists at McGill face particularly strong pressure and intimidation tactics from students, the administration, and external actors like Canary Mission to censor their political stances. It is unacceptable that a student association would intimidate students with police presence, especially considering that these students as pro-Palestine activists already face increased policing. In the same interview with The McGill Daily, Atassi stated that he considered “Free Palestine” to be a “slur.” Even though this association is named “Arab Student Network” and claims to benefit “all students,” it intimidates and alienates Palestinian students, pro-Palestine students of colour, and allies on campus. ASN needs to show accountability for its actions by making amends to SPHR and Palestinian students for alienating them. We invite students to vote “no” to make sure ASN knows that it cannot build upon anti-Palestinian fundamentals without consequences, and for it to engage in a process to truly include students whose culture they claim to promote.

Plate Club Fee – YES
The McGill Daily editorial board endorses a “yes” vote for the renewal of the Plate Club’s $0.14 opt-outable fee levy per semester. The Plate Club provides free dishware rentals to individuals and groups at McGill such as Midnight Kitchen. According to the Club, their capacity for initiatives beyond lending dishware has been limited due to lack of funds. This fee levy would allow Plate Club to better provide the service they already offer and further reduce McGill’s carbon footprint.

Charity Fee (Renewal) – YES
The McGill Daily editorial board endorses a “yes” vote for the renewal of the Charity Fee. The opt-outable fee of $0.52 per semester contributes to the SSMU Community Engagement fund, which is accessible to all SSMU members who have not opted out. The Community Engagement Fund is a source of financial assistance for clubs on campus undertaking community engagement projects, and any SSMU club is able to apply for access to this funding for their projects.

Environment Fee (Renewal) – YES
The McGill Daily editorial board endorses a “yes” vote to renew the $1.25 environment fee per semester. The fee goes to the SSMU Environment Fund (The Green Fund), and provides assistance to student-led sustainability initiatives at McGill, but also for the SSMU Environment Committee “to run a variety of free workshops, events, panel discussions, and more for the McGill community.” In the past, it has been used to support the Flat Bike Collective, the Plate Club, and Midnight Kitchen. The Green Fund is also used by the SSMU Environment Committee to offer free workshops and events, which have included Zero Waste workshop and panel discussions about sustainable living.

Renaming of McGill’s Men’s Varsity Teams – YES
The McGill Daily editorial board endorses a “yes” vote to rename McGill’s Men’s Varsity Teams. A full explanation is available here. Change the name!

SACOMSS Discretionary – YES
The McGill Daily editorial board endorses a “yes” vote to restore SACOMSS’ Discretionary Funding. The motion would allow the Sexual Assault Centre of the McGill Students’ Society (SACOMSS) to use some of their funds more freely in order to “sponsor individuals, groups and events outside of [their] organization that are aligned with [their] anti-oppressive, survivor-focused mandate and undertaking work that [they] are currently unable to do.” SACOMSS is a critical volunteer-run student service for the McGill community “committed to supporting survivors of sexual assault and their allies through direct support, advocacy, and outreach.

You can vote at this address: ssmu.simplyvoting.com