Looking at opposing sides is important when it comes to politics, and that’s exactly what students should be doing right now because the BUSAC elections are happening Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week.
Apart from students having to vote for Board of Directors, both one and two year term positions, there are three important referendums taking place and students should most definitely consider both yes and no sides of each referendum to obtain a better understanding regarding how they should proceed with voting.
As explained last week in an article titled ‘Yes, no, maybe so? Everything you need to know about the three referendum questions for the upcoming BUSAC elections’, the Clubs Levy Fee referendum is essentially asking for a $1.95 increase per credit, per student for a total of $4.00 per credit to be paid by every Brock student.
“For less than two dollars students can provide better funding for clubs, create more jobs within that department, allow for more clubs to be created and provide more clubs space,” said Jad Nasser, current BUSU Vice President of Student Services (VPSS). “The last time there was a clubs referendum, this cost was set for the monetary needs of only 50 clubs. We now have over 110 clubs on campus, so obviously they’re going to need more money to be able to thrive.”
But some students are against the increase in club fees.
“I don’t participate in clubs because I have a far commute to Brock,” said a student that preferred to stay anonymous, “and I don’t understand why I’d have to pay four dollars per credit to support something I don’t even get to benefit from. Only students that take part in clubs should have to pay for this fee.”
To counter against that, Maddy Wassink, incoming VPSS said that “this isn’t just going to help people in clubs, it’s helping every Brock student. People always want to see more events on campus, and clubs need more money to make that happen.”
More so, some students believe that the referendums can be quite confusing.
“The clubs levy campaigning around campus is misleading because it makes it seem like students will only be paying a toonie to increase funds for clubs,” said Eric Mariglia, a fourth year student. “In reality, students will actually be paying four dollars per credit, which is 20 dollars a year for most [full-time] students.”
As for the Federal Advocacy fee, which is a new fee asking for a mandatory $0.70 per credit, per student, Julia Wood, the BUSU Vice President of External Affairs, states that “voting yes to the Federal Advocacy fee will ensure that the needs of Brock students are heard by politicians and key decision-makers.”
“In a time where politics are arguably more important than ever and students voices need to be heard, this referendum makes sense,” said Grace Bourne, a fourth year student.
“Federal Advocacy efforts have helped to make Canadian youth and Post-Secondary Education a priority,” added Wood.
For both the clubs levy and federal advocacy fee referendums, there are no official ‘no’ sides.
“The problem is that BUSU only provides students with one side of the referendum, usually the side that they want to win” said Leandro Barreca, a student in the Faculty of Education. “It’s difficult to have an informed opinion when we are only given one side of the argument unless someone decides to step forward, which is hard when students don’t find out about referendums until right before voting actually takes place. It is definitely something that needs to be changed.”
Another referendum that is taking place is the proposed removal of the OPRIG fee.
“We feel that any attempts to remove potential opportunities from students is inherently negative,” said Stephanie Piovesann, who is campaigning against the removal. “OPRIG plays an essential role in increasing student advocacy and fostering social change. If students vote no for this referendum, there will be an opt-out period taking place next year which will be available to students who don’t feel comfortable with our commitment to social and environmental change.”
If you are looking for information regarding the ‘yes’ side of this referendum, you can contact Patrick Foster, BUSU President. He could not be reached at the time this article was written.
To learn more about the upcoming BUSAC Elections and Referendums, visit http://www.brockbusu.ca/government/elections/