The McGill Daily editorial board has compiled their endorsements for the following referendum questions.
The questions in this referendum are:
- Creation of the Indigenous Equity Fund and Fee
- Creation of SSMU Student Academic Support Services and Fee Levy
- Increase and Nature of SSMU Equity Fee
- Club Fund Fee Increase
- Discretionary Funding for DriveSafe
Creation of the Indigenous Equity Fund and Fee
The McGill Daily editorial board endorses a “yes” vote to the Indigenous Equity Fund and the non-opt-outable $1.00 fee per semester.
The fund in question serves a multitude of purposes, including supporting Indigenous students in need of financial aid for living expenses, providing autonomous funding for Indigenous student groups on campus, providing funding for the costs associated with Indigenous student mobilization, and hiring an Indigenous Affairs Campaigns Coordinator and an Indigenous Equity Researcher.
Creation of SSMU Student Academic Support Services and Fee Levy
The McGill Daily editorial board endorses a “yes” vote to create SSMU Student Academic Support Services (SASS) and the accompanying opt-outable $0.93 fee.
According to SSMU President Bryan Buraga, SASS “would be an integrated office for the expansion of Open Educational Resources, SSMU Tutoring, and SSMU MiniCourses, as well as the creation of fairly compensated notetaker positions and examination prep courses at a more affordable price than for-profit companies such as Prep101.” SASS will make academic help more accessible, especially for first-year students who often do not have the financial means, networks, or resources to access tutoring services. The fee levy would “go towards paying for the salaries of notetakers, as well as a full-time coordinator to manage all administrative aspects of SASS.
Increase and Nature of SSMU Equity Fee
The McGill Daily editorial board endorses a “yes” vote to increase the opt-outable SSMU Equity Fee from $0.50 to $1.00.
The SSMU Equity Committee is a group of students who “promote equity education and tackle equity issues on campus.” According to SSMU Equity Committee Member Caroline Pease, the SSMU Equity Fee “would enable greater equity mobilization and coordination across campus, while allowing the SSMU Equity Committee to better support equity-related student groups.”
Club Fund Fee Increase
The McGill Daily editorial board endorses a “no” vote to increase the opt-outable Club Fund Fee from $2.75 to $7.75 per semester.
The Club Fund Fee increase will go towards building an online interface for clubs (a “Clubs Portal”), the estimated cost of which would be “to the tune of $20,000 [a year] plus tax,” as well as a more comprehensive insurance general liability plan. Because the funds of the drastically increased fee are not going directly towards funding clubs, the Daily is endorsing a “no” vote.
Discretionary Funding for DriveSafe
The McGill Daily editorial board endorses a “yes” vote to allocate five per cent of SSMU DriveSafe’s annual budget to be used as discretionary funding for environmental stewardship and carbon offsets.
DriveSafe is committed to being an accessible service for McGill students and staff and plans to be carbon-neutral by 2030. DriveSafe’s constitution requires that the service “monitor[s] the environmental impact of all its events and operations” and “attempt[s] to utilize the services and resources available at SSMU to maximize capacities for equitable decision-making and environmental stewardship.”
To vote in the referendum, visit simply voting’s website, beginning at 9a.m. on Tuesday, November 12.
Any questions may also be directed to Elections McGill via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students should also note that the nomination period for both council-initiated and student-initiated questions in the Winter 2020 referendum will be from January 6, 2020 at 9:00 AM to March 12, 2020 at 10:00 p.m.
Student-initiated questions must collect 500 signatures to appear on the ballot. Student-initiated questions can not alter the composition of SSMU staff or any financial matters related to SSMU.