November 9 Update: the Daily has discussed the questions initially excluded from the ballot. The online article has been updated to reflect that. The voting period has now been extended to Monday, November 15, at 5pm.
November 8 Update: Due to an error in the voting ballot, Elections SSMU has postponed voting until Tuesday, November 9, at 9:00 am.
The McGill Daily editorial board has compiled their endorsements for the following referendum questions.
The questions and motions in this referendum are:
- Do you agree to the increase of the opt-outable Referral Services Fee of $3.97 per semester by a further $0.40 per semester (excluding summer), payable by SSMU Members starting in Winter 2022 and ending in Fall 2026 (inclusive), at which point it will be brought back to the Membership for renewal, with the understanding that a majority ‘no’ vote will result in the continuation of the fee at its current rate, impacting EDRSC’s ability to provide full support in alignment with its mandate?
- Do you agree to the increase of the opt-outable Referral Services Fee of $3.97 per semester by $0.55 per semester (excluding summer), payable by SSMU Members starting in Winter 2022 and ending in Fall 2026 (inclusive), at which point it will be brought back to the Membership for renewal? A majority ‘no’ vote will result in the continuation of the fee at its current rate, preventing the compensation of Nightline executives for their work.
- Do you agree to the increase of the opt-outable SSMU Safety network [sic] Fee of $3.97 per semester to $4.32 per semester (excluding summer), payable by SSMU Members starting in Winter 2022 and ending in Fall 2026 (inclusive), at which point it will be brought back to the Membership for renewal, with the understanding that a majority ‘no’ vote will result in the continuation of the fee at its current rate, resulting in the discontinuation of the First Aid courses done by MSERT?
- To improve student engagement and mobility; enrich student life; provide professional training and employment opportunities for students; promote public transit usage and education; expand options for student activity; respond to the climate emergency by drastically cutting travel-related carbon footprints of the student body; empower mobility for students with limited financial capacity; improve job/school/home connections.
- Do you support CKUT continuing as a recognized student activity supported by student fees with the understanding that a majority “no” vote will result in the termination of student fees to CKUT?
- Do you support QPIRG continuing as a recognized student activity supported by a fee of $5.00 per term for undergraduate students, which is opt-outable, with the understanding that a “no” vote will result in the termination of all undergraduate fee-levy funding to QPIRG?
- Do you agree to the creation of the non-opt-outable $1.09 SSMU Queer Equity Support Fee, per Fall and Winter semester, for all full and part-time SSMU members, to start in Winter 2022 and to be charged until Winter 2027 (inclusive), with the understanding that a majority ‘no’ vote would result in the non-existence of the fund?
- Do you agree to the amendment to the Constitution of the Students’ Society of McGill University as outlined in Appendix A?
- Do you agree that the McGill Student Union Democratization Initiative Policy be adopted as policy of the SSMU?
The McGill Daily editorial board endorses a “yes” vote to increase the Referral Services Fee by a further $0.40 per semester.
Given that the university has not had medical services dedicated to students with eating disorders since 2017, it is crucial that the student-run Eating Disorder Resource and Support Centre (EDRSC) is sufficiently funded. The Winter 2020 increase of the Referral Service Fee was calculated under the premise that EDRSC staff work 28 weeks a year – in fact, they work almost year-round. This fee increase would allow these employees to be properly compensated and enable the EDRSC to continue expanding its services.
The McGill Daily editorial board endorses a “yes” vote to increase McGill Students’ Nightline funding by $0.55 per semester via the Referral Services Fee.
McGill Students’ Nightline provides a confidential and non-judgemental listening service, providing the community with support in all kinds of situations. Not only would the increased fee allow more opportunities for expansion, it would also compensate executives for their many hours of labour. Considering that the Nightline is a much more accessible resource than many other support services at McGill, the organization should remain accessible now and into the future; aligning with anti-oppression principles of compensating people for their labour is critical to doing so.
Note: Coordinating Editor Pandora Wotton recused herself from discussion of this question as she has a personal relationship with the executive director of MSERT.
The Daily endorses a “yes” vote for increasing MSERT’s service fee from $3.97 per semester to $4.32 per semester .
This increase in the SSMU Safety Network Fee would allow MSERT to continue to provide standard and emergency first aid courses for free to all SSMU members, ensuring a safer campus wherein community members are equipped to protect one another. Despite the fact that first aid training is required for many jobs, first aid courses are often expensive and inaccessible for McGill students – therefore, it is essential they remain free of charge. Furthermore, MSERT adopts and promotes harm reduction practices. There have been allegations of the university eliminating harm reduction programming over the past several years – thus the continuation of free MSERT student-run training is crucial.
Note: Because the Daily’s Fall 2020 Commentary Editor had a fundamental role in organizing the MUSTBUS initiative, editors who were on the board at that time recused themselves from discussion of this question. These editors are: James Cohn, Social Media Editor; Nicole Huang, Managing Editor; Abigail Popple, News Editor; and Pandora Wotton, Coordinating Editor.
The Daily endorses a “yes with reservations” vote for the creation of the opt-outable $2 fee towards MUSTBUS.
MUSTBUS is a student-run bus service that would connect the McGill campus to neighbouring cities, such as New York, Boston, and Toronto. This service could be a valuable asset to students, allowing for universally affordable bus rides that are more cost-effective and less carbon-intensive than driving or flying. The motion reasons that the bus service will boost the mental health of students, as it allows them to visit home more often. This, however, would only be true for students who live in cities accessible via the bus route. Additionally, the motion voices a commitment to being a non-hierarchical, anti-oppressive organization that would offer a “safe(r) space for all travellers, particularly women, queer-identifying people, and people of colour.” While these principles align with those of the Daily, MUSTBUS does not outline any particular action items that would ensure an anti-oppressive structure and safe(r) space compared to regular public transit. Regardless, MUSTBUS would provide students with uniquely accessible travel opportunities and experiences.
The Daily endorses a “yes” vote for CKUT’s continued existence.
A “no” vote would significantly reduce CKUT’s operating budget and make its existence impossible. The radio station is a fundamental part of life at McGill, providing many services for students, like employment, internships, journalism, research, and audio engineering, among many others. Vote “yes” to continue CKUT’s 24/7 programming and broadcasting and their training for students interested in journalism careers.
The Daily endorses a “yes” vote for the renewal of the opt-outable QPIRG fee at $5.00 per term.
The Daily shares QPIRG’s anti-oppressive values; through its working groups and research initiatives, QPIRG provides crucial support to marginalized communities at McGill. As the motion notes, a “no” majority would make it impossible for QPIRG to provide student services and pursue its research mission.
The Daily endorses a “yes” vote to the creation of a non-opt-outable $1.09 per semester SSMU Queer Equity Support Fee.
Because of systemic homophobia and transphobia in postsecondary educational institutions, queer students often encounter barriers to completing their education or receiving support for their research initiatives. Establishing a bursary intended for queer students could go toward reducing these barriers. Extensive consultations have been completed with the Gender and Sexuality Committee to ensure that the creation of this bursary would help meet the specific needs of queer students at McGill.
The Daily endorses a “yes” vote to the creation of an amendment to the constitution to add a seat to the Legislative Council to represent students located at the Outaouais.
Students at the Faculty of Medicine’s satellite campus in the Outaouais currently have no direct representation on SSMU’s Legislative Council. Because of the significant differences between Ouatouais and Montreal medicine students outlined in the “Background and Rationale” of the motion, Ouatouais students would not have sufficient representation in SSMU affairs without the creation of a new position on the Legislative Council. Additionally, there are no foreseeable negative consequences to the creation of a Campus Outaouais representative.
The Daily editorial board endorses a “no” vote to this proposed non-hierarchical structure, making the McGill Student Union Democratization Initiative campaign an Affiliated Political Campaign of SSMU.
While the principles behind the policy are commendable, the policy is not concrete enough for us to confidently endorse it. It is unclear how the SSMU Executives and Campaign Staff would be held accountable to the proposed changes. Furthermore, certain parameters, such as the proposed limitations on the power of Coordinators and their decision-making, remain undefined. While the Daily supports efforts to democratize SSMU, the motion is not comprehensive enough to fully endorse.
The Polling Period of the Fall 2021 Referendum is taking place from November 8 at 8:00 am to November 12 at 5:00 pm. To view the referendum questions and cast your ballot, visit ssmu.simplyvoting.com. Questions regarding the referendum can be directed to SSMU’s Chief Electoral Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.