Referendum: Programming Levy

“Do you support a $32.00 flat fee, to be charged to all undergraduate students, to support the Brock University Students’ Union Programing Levy,as per the Memorandum of Understanding?”

NO:

Explain why you are representing the side you are on for the referendum (250 words)?

There have been referendums at Brock before, asking students to volunteer to raise their own fees. Those referendums pass with between 51% and 55% of the vote, even when no one decides to stand up and say “No.” I chose to represent the #BrockSaysNo campaign because someone has to. There has to be a voice for students who are tired of BUSU helping themselves to our money. There has to be a voice for those who will be most affected by this increase in fees – who, by the way, cannot speak for themselves in this referendum – the students set to start here next year, and in the years to come.

 Why should students vote for the side you represent and not the other? (250 words)

Would you vote to give a business a half-million dollars in funding when they have no business plan? Would you invest a half-million dollars in any business without seeing a budget of how it will be spent? Certainly not, yet that’s what a “yes” vote is. The Programming Fee will see BUSU take between $500,000 and $600,000 per year from undergraduate students, but they have no budget for how it will be spent – only a vague list of undefined items such as “acts”, “capital purchases”, “equipment rental”, and “staff and related expenses”. That last item is of particular concern, considering that the only oversight offered in this proposal are assurances that BUSU (the same people who are asking for the money) will approve a budget at some point in the future. If any student believes that this is a good use of their money, then they are entitled to vote “yes”. We, however, would beg to differ. #BrockSaysNo to irresponsible, unaccountable government.

How will this referendum question impact current and future students? (250 words)

The cost of education, rising student debt, and a job market that is becoming increasingly competitive are the three dominant concerns of most students. This referendum will directly impact the cost of education for every current and future student at Brock. If it is allowed to pass, it will see an already crushing debt load for the majority of students that much heavier. For poor students, the impact will be even greater. $32.00 per year doesn’t sound like a lot of money – certainly not to the BUSU executive who made $130,000 between them last year – but for the poorest of us, it can be the difference between eating three meals per day, or only two for an entire week. #BrockSaysNo to BUSU increasing the cost of our education, and #BrockSaysNo to BUSU taking food out of the mouths of our poorest students.

Why should students definitively vote for your side and not an abstention? (250 words)

Recently, referenda on fee impositions at Brock have passed by the barest of majorities. Voter turnout in the last election hit a record high of 27%. Any competent electioneer would take these factors into account – and it isn’t unreasonable to believe that BUSU took them into account as well. The organizers of this referendum are depending on the fact that 70-80% of students will not vote. #BrockSaysNo wants to send a strong message to BUSU that we will not accept higher fees. We need more than 2500 votes to send that message. We need EVERY vote to send that message. #BrockSaysNo to higher fees, but every student who abstains, says “yes”.

What will this referendum side do for Brock as a whole?  (250 words)

BUSU has asked the students to give them another half-million dollars per year in fees – without having a budget outlining how the money will be spent. #BrockSaysNo believes that this is unacceptable, and we demand better from BUSU. If they want to take our money, they need to at least give us a budget, and make sure there is oversight beyond their promise to look after things. No self-respecting democracy would accept that from their government – and neither do we. By telling BUSU “No”, we demand better.

What is the single most important point of your platform for the referendum? (This doesn’t mean only give one sentence for an answer. This question is aimed at seeing you prioritize your own platform, so choose one point from it to elaborate on). (250 words)

#BrockSaysNo is about affordability and accountability. Students are already paying more than we can afford in tuition and fees. We are already facing debt loads that will take years to repay – if we can find work when we graduate. We don’t need to see those costs rise any further, and when we have to pay, we want to make sure there is value for our money. #BrockSaysNo believes that BUSU has forgotten that basic principle – they aren’t spending their money – they’re spending ours.

Why should students vote in a referendum at all? Why is their vote for your platform a beneficial decision for their future at Brock?(250 words)

Like I already said, #BrockSaysNo wants to send a strong message to BUSU that we will not accept higher fees, and that we will not accept unaccountable expenditure of our money. 2500 people voting “no” out of an 18,000 strong student body is not a strong message. A failure to make a choice is, itself a choice – and the numbers show that if you choose not to decide in this context, then you have chosen yes. #BrockSaysNo to voter apathy because every non-vote is a “yes” vote.

Optional: Include any imparting words or campaign slogan (150 words)

#BrockSaysNo to higher fees

#BrockSaysNo to voter apathy

 #BrockSaysNo to the BUSU Programming Fee

YES

Explain why you are representing the side you are on for the referendum (250 words)?

Being the Vice President of Student Services, responsible for the planning and execution of BUSU’s programming (i.e. O-Week, Frost Week, Homecoming, Wellness Week, Charity Initiatives and Special Events), it is in my purview and best interest to represent the Yes side to the Programming Levy. It is the mission and vision of the Students’ Union to enhance the benefits of attending Brock University by providing a variety of programs, opportunities and services by continuously improving on the scope and delivery of our services, by initiating the implementation of the BUSU’s core values both internally and through our external activities; and to also promote student involvement in their respective communities.

I am representing this side because I first handily have experienced how the way in which we fund our programming is not the best practice. 93% of our budget is reliant on sales through either the Access Gold program or Sponsorships. Budgeting is extremely difficult and does not allow the person in my position to carry out their creative platform points they were elected by the student body to carry out.

Why should students vote for the side you represent and not the other? (250 words)

Students should vote YES for the Programming Levy for a number of reasons. This is the first time in 4 years BUSU is introducing a new levy because it is extremely needed. However this is not a new idea; generations of event planners at BUSU have shared the same insight. Students should vote YES because this will create new and more avenues for students to get engaged, involved and entertained by their Brock community.

If this passes, it would eliminate all the problems we face now:
-Budgeting would be secure, to ensure the quality of programming students expect year after year
-We wouldn’t miss out on opportunities we currently cannot take up (i.e. Like getting Bill Nye!)
-Ticket prices for students would be significantly less. Most of our events we have to charge students a lot of money in order to break even. Students would pay $32 now and save a LOT later
-This would create more student jobs
-This would free up funds for things like advocacy and student services we need on campus

-We can have a more diverse array of programming we currently do not have and target groups on campus that we currently do not market to.

How will this referendum question impact current and future students? (250 words)

This referendum question will directly impact the programming and services current and future students see next year from BUSU. Studies show that students who are more involved in their campus have better grades, larger support networks, report having improved mental health and find it easier to get a job because employers value that they are engaged and involved individuals.

How will this directly affect students? For a flat fee of $32, students will receive free entry in ALL events during O-Week and post O-Week ticket prices will be half the price students pay now. This referendum allows for a more diverse and frequent array of programming that students WANT. Programming affects the majority of students on campus – whether you’re the student interested in concerts & comedy nights or the puppy room & Dirty Bingo. Students want alternative programming. Programming is the planning, executing and promotion of activities, events and campaigns that promote student engagement and interest. NOT just things like rah-rah concerts and parties. We want to do a more variety of programming for students that are BIGGER and BETTER. Like bring in exotic animals, psychics, magicians, NFL players and keynote speakers. And not to mention, allowing funds to become available in order to create services that students need – like mental health, safety and academic services!

Why should students definitively vote for your side and not an abstention? (250 words)

Students – it’s your money and you should have a say in how it is being spent. It’s your legacy, your student experience and Brock is your institution. This will affect you in some capacity. We are proposing this because it is in our mission and vision to provide you will the best student experience

For full elections and referendum info check out

http://www.busu.net/representation/elections-and-referendums/.

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