The Fed Up Referendum

In March of 2014, students voted to approve an additional ancillary fee of $2.80 per credit in order to fund Fed Up: The Affordable Food Project. However, as of Sept. 30, BUSAC voted unanimously to send Fed Up to referendum. If students vote “yes”, the fee will be removed, and funding to Fed Up will stop. If students vote “no”, the fee will continue to be collected and Fed Up will continue receiving student funds.

Below are the unedited responses of the “Yes” and “No” campaign representatives. For more information, check our coverage of the BUSAC meeting on Sept. 30 on Brockpress.com and watch the meeting online at Livestream.com/BrockTVlive.

The views and opinions represented in the following two platforms do not represent the views or opinions of The Brock Press or its editorial team.*

“Do you support the removal of the $2.80 per credit fee to fund Fed Up – The Affordable
Food Project, a separately incorporated non-profit entity, effective May 2016?”

“Yes”

Why are you running this campaign?

I’ve been tasked with running the “yes” campaign to defund Fed Up the Affordable Food Project by the Brock University Students’ Administrative Council.

It’s my duty and privilege to educate students on how their money is being spent. Running this campaign is just another layer of trying to represent students to the best of my ability, and I believe it’s my job as President of the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) to convey this message to students.

I really want to encourage students to watch the recorded video of the Sept. 30 BUSAC meeting (livestream.com/brocktvlive) and read the coverage to get themselves informed. Also, if students want to get informed, they should keep a lookout in the halls during the campaign weeks.

Why should students vote “yes” to this referendum?

Students should vote “yes” based on the facts that are laid out. In terms of timelines and events, Fed Up has shown a consistent lack of transparency, a lack of willingness to take advantage of opportunities to allow them to be successful and a lack of organizational structure.

Over the last year-and-a-half, Fed Up has been given many opportunities to work with Brock University and BUSU. Not only have they not delivered on the promises set out in their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), they haven’t set themselves up to be able to be successful.

Students should vote “yes” because a promise was made by Fed Up that they would provide access to cheap, healthy food on campus, and that promise has not been kept. As I’ve already said, they’ve been presented with many opportunities to work with both BUSU and Brock, but these opportunities were either ignored or met with negative responses. They’ve ostracized themselves as a third-party organization.

What will happen if this referendum does not go through and Fed Up remains funded?

If this referendum passes, Fed Up will be defunded – the organization is still free to exist and to pursue its initiatives, it simply will no longer be student-funded.

In accordance with the MOU, if Fed Up is defunded, the fee won’t be charged to students after this Fall/ Winter period. BUSU will therefore control the funds that have been collected, and it will be spent in the spirit of the original MOU (Fed Up’s prerogatives) or will be used to cover liability or legal issues associated with the organization of Fed Up. BUSU’s spending of these funds would be controlled by BUSAC.

-Kyle Rose

“No”

Why are you running this campaign?

Food is important to students. Access to nutritious and affordable food is a crucial part of staying happy, healthy, and able to focus on doing well while studying at Brock. A healthy meal should not be so expensive. Students should not have to choose not to eat because they can’t afford to.

At its core, The Affordable Food Project is a mental health and anti-poverty initiative. So many students can’t afford to eat on campus and this makes their lives harder. The Brock Campus is home to thousands of students, who spend more time there than anywhere else. Brock is home for students, and it shouldn’t be difficult to find something to eat there.

I volunteer with The Affordable Food Project because I care and want to make a difference. Mental health is extremely important and not being able to eat well makes everything harder. Food can make a difficult day easier, it can de-stress you and give you the energy you need. Good food can make you smile.

Our vision for food on campus is healthy and delicious food everywhere. We want to see a numerous food based initiatives built for the specific reason to help students be happy and healthy. Pay-what-you-can fruit stands where you can grab a quick snack for a quarter, grocery delivery with a focus on helping students coping with mobility barriers, more vegetarian/vegan options, breakfast programs held in classes before early morning lectures, these are all initiatives that should happen.

There shouldn’t be a monopoly on food distribution. There shouldn’t be a billion dollar corporation profiting while students aren’t able to eat well.

The wonderful student staff who were working on the project were unfortunately let go early October because our Fall installment of funding was withheld by the BUSU Executive. By withholding funding they effectively undermined our ability as an organization to grow and operate.

We want students to speak up and encourage both Brock and BUSU to put more energy into improving food on campus. The Affordable Food Project is extremely small compared to Brock and BUSU. Our entire budget is less than the salary of just a couple of their staff. Brock and BUSU need to be pressured to improve food. We can work as advocates for students, ambitiously building new food initiatives, creating new options, but to really improve food on campus in a big way, BUSU and Brock will need to take students concerns seriously.

Students deserve more affordable food. The Affordable Food Project has only had funding for less than a year and it should be given a real chance to fight for better food on campus.

See www.FeedBrock.org for more information.

Why should students vote “no” to this referendum?

This referendum process is not legitimate. This election is being administered through BUSU, while at the same time paid members of BUSU campaign against The Affordable Food Project. Instead of working with us the Brock Admin and BUSU Exec would rather us simply gone.

We can’t compete with the multi-million dollar resources of BUSU and Brock. The BUSU Exec withheld The Affordable Food Project’s Fall funding which forced us to layoff staff. Last year the Brock Admin and BUSU Exec tried to stop us from seeking funding and this year they want it removed. We’re passionate about feeding students and making a difference, but in the realm of student politics, we simply can’t compete.

Students should vote “no” to this referendum because they deserve more affordable food available on campus. Fed Up has been funded for less than a year. This organization, which students voted in favour of, should be given a real chance to fight for affordable food on campus.

There are a lot of ways that Brock and BUSU could improve food on campus, but without an independent student organization pressuring them to do so, it’s unlikely that it will happen. Keep the fight for affordable food on campus. Vote No.

What will happen if this referendum does not go through and Fed Up remains funded?

We will continue to fight for better more affordable and healthy food on campus. We’ll hire on a team of student staff and focus on building and expanding services that help students stay happy and healthy through food.

-Em Heppler

*These responses are from the representatives running the “Yes” and “No” campaigns of the referendum: Kyle Rose and Em Heppler.

Both representatives were given a word limit, but neither response has been edited or altered by The Brock Press.

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