Fall 2020 SSMU Referendum

The McGill Daily Editorial Board’s Endorsements

The Fall 2020 SSMU Referendum is currently live, with polling open until Friday, November 13 at 5:00p.m. EST. The McGill Daily editorial board has compiled their endorsements for the following referendum questions.

The questions in this referendum are:

  • SSMU Ambassador Fee
  • SSMU Daycare Fee
  • Musician’s Collective Fee
  • Student Bus Co-op Question

Note: Since the Daily’s Commentary Editor, Alexis Zhou, is the campaign chair for the Student Bus Co-op Question, the editorial board has chosen to abstain from making an endorsement regarding this question. However, we will be providing information on the question so that students can form their own opinions. 

SSMU Ambassador Fee

The editorial board endorses a “yes” vote for the renewal of the opt-outable SSMU Ambassador Fee at $2.00 per term. 

The Ambassador Fee provides funding for student groups to represent McGill at competitions and conferences. Per VP Finance Gifford Marpole, the fee serves a vast array of student organizations, and is the “essential source of funding for student groups attending external events and conferences.” The fee remains crucial despite many events moving online, as many continue to charge for attendance. Without a renewal, a significant portion of McGill student organizations will no longer be able to fund their participation in key events throughout the year.

SSMU Daycare Fee

The editorial board endorses a “yes” vote for the renewal of the SSMU Daycare Fee.

The SSMU Daycare and Nursery has been in operation since 1999, and has been funded in part by student fees since 1999. The fee, which was last increased in 2014, supplements government funding in order to bring childcare for children aged 4 months to 5 years to undergraduate students, graduate students, and other members of the McGill community. Childcare is an essential part of support systems for parents, and the presence of funded childcare removes accessibility barriers that prevent student parents from being able to engage with all facets of campus life. Without the renewal and increase, the Daycare will be unable to continue to provide services and operate at its current capacity, which may result in reduced enrollment and a smaller staff.

Musician’s Collective Fee

The editorial board endorses a “yes” vote for the renewal of the opt-outable Musician’s Collective Fee at $0.10 per student per semester.

The Musician’s Collective is a volunteer-run service of the SSMU that provides musical equipment to students, creates opportunities for student musicians to meet each other, and hosts events such as open mics, jam sessions, and workshops. According to the organization’s VP Communications, Beryl Arnould, “The fee enables the Musician’s Collective to run […] events and to provide the best service possible for the McGill community. […] The money also enables us to have a variety of instruments at the disposal of students in our jam room.” Without this funding, this organization that provides opportunities to student musicians and removes financial barriers would not be able to function at its full capacity.

Student Bus Co-op Question

According to their website, McGill Student Transport (MUST) is a student-run intercity bus service. The organization is planning to run bus trips to major cities such as Boston, Toronto, and New York from McGill’s downtown campus beginning in 2021, dependent on public health measures.

Their referendum question reads as follows: Contingent on public health officials deeming it safe to restore travel, would you be in favour of creating a student-run transportation service to connect McGill campus to Downtown Toronto, Manhattan and Boston by bus service on weekends and holidays?

To view the referendum questions and cast your ballot, visit https://ssmu.simplyvoting.com/. Any questions regarding the referendum can be directed to SSMU’s Chief Electoral Officer, Pooja Patel, at elections@ssmu.ca.