Failed U-Pass Referendum leads to student-body uproar – 2017/18 BUSU executive team announced

The Brock University Students’ Union election for the 2017/18 year may have received more attention following the polls closing than during the actual voting period.

The U-Pass referendum, which would have increased the transit fee for students from $202 to $240 failed to pass as 51 per cent of students who voted decided to reject the increase. The failed referendum created uproar on social media with many students voicing their displeasure.

Some students expressed that they didn’t understand or didn’t know about the referendum vote and another handful of students expressed that they were disappointed in their peers who failed to educate themselves.

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The student body was sent six emails via their BrockU account over the course of three days, there was two weeks of campaigning on campus and on social media, three debates were held and live streamed by BrockTV, and there was two weeks of coverage in The Brock Press.

This referendum will hold no impact for the current academic year, but changes will have to be made moving forward as the 2017/18 year approaches.

BUSU posted the following statement on their Facebook page:

“BUSU is currently operating the U-Pass in a deficit of approximately $426,000. BUSU does have some retained earnings, but as of the end of the 2017-18 year, BUSU will be unable to afford the service levels and route offerings, timings and reach that it currently has.

Busu currently funds 17 direct routes to Brock University in St. Catharines/Thorold alone that had over 3,000,000 rides in 2015-16. We also have service agreements with Welland, Pelham, Fort Erie, Niagara Falls and the Niagara Regional Transit system. BUSU will need to begin a budget exercise that results in the elimination of this deficit. BUSU will still be providing the U-Pass, however service levels/areas and timings will have to be altered and some routes/services areas will have to be eliminated.”

Some students have suggested having a second referendum vote, but it is unclear if BUSU will consider that as an option.

Only 32.3 per cent of the student body voted in this year’s election, but that number is a new record at Brock – which beats last year’s record-breaking number of 28.6 per cent. Could a second vote lead to a more informed student body? Possibly, but BUSU is currently looking at all their options before making any decision.

The second referendum in the election was the Student Justice Centre Referendum – which would have seen an increase of $0.46 cents per credit to the World University  Services of Canada fee and $1.11 per credit to the SJC fee. A majority of students also rejected this referendum, as 52.34 per cent voted no.

In the lone BUSAC vote, which was to elect the Goodman Business rep for 2017/18, Valentina Castano was voted in at 59.36 per cent. Drashti Darji was the other candidate, receiving 40.64 per cent of the votes.

Tarun Kataria was the lone person running for the 1-year Board of Director position, and 86.33 per cent of students voted in favour.

The BUSU executive elections went as followed:

President

  • Faisal Hejazi – 65.55 per cent (elected)
  • Peter Henen – 23.85 per cent
  • Mel Gencer – 10.59 per cent

Vice-President, Finance and Administration

  • Aidan Hibma – 35.95 per cent (elected)
  • Amalia Banava – 31.28 per cent
  • David Stark – 20.88 per cent
  • Jordan Albanese – 9.34 per cent
  • Brandon Schofield – 2.55 per cent

Vice-President, External Affairs

  • Nadia Bathish – 38.1 per cent (elected)
  • Olivier Kayitaba – 30.96 per cent
  • Istafa Sufi – 30.94 per cent

Vice-President, Student Services

  • Maddy Wassink – 47.26 per cent (elected)
  • Nathan Chick – 32.32 per cent
  • Ngozichukwu Ozoemena – 20.42 per cent

For more up to date coverage relating to the U-Pass and transit situation continue to check brockpress.com for updates.

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