With the BUSU referendums around the corner, it is important to learn exactly what you’re voting for. One of the two referendums students will vote in revolves around the funding of the local radio station, the Brock University Student Radio (CFBU).
If a majority of student voters vote in favour of the referendum, come spring 2019, there will be a $1.75 per credit fee put in place for full-time and part-time undergraduate students to assist in the funding of Brock Radio. If this levy is created, there will be no option for students to opt out of it.
There was previously a fee of $1.50 per credit that went towards the support of Brock Radio. In October 2013, students voted in a referendum to have it removed, with 53.8 per cent of the voting in favour. The possibility of a new levy came up again in March 2018, asking students if they supported the creation of a $1.75 fee to support Brock Radio. In the Mar. 2018 vote, 54.4 per cent of students said they did not want a $1.75 fee put in place. The question was meant to be posted again in the annual Oct. 2018 elections but Brock Radio did not complete their petition in time to run.
According to the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the potential Brock Radio levy, Brock Radio must provide the BUSU Board of Directors with a copy of their budget by July 31 each year. All of the money collected from the fee will be spent according to this budget, with remnants kept as retained earnings for Brock Radio.
Brock Radio program director Deborah Cartmer stated that earnings from the fee will be put towards the continued support of Brock students alongside “improved service and access through equipment upgrades, hiring of student staff, a website revamp to accommodate podcasting and archives, and increased collaborations, events, and promotion”.
The Memorandum of Understanding also states that, if the levy passes, Brock Radio will hire an external auditor for their annual financial audit, a copy of which will be provided to BUSU and be made available online. It will also be seen that a BUSU executive will sit on the Brock Radio Board of Directors as a non-voting member, and if the BUSU Board of Directors ever determines that Brock Radio is in violation of the terms of the Levy’s Memorandum of Understanding, they may withhold the levy transfer until the issue has been rectified.
Currently, Brock Radio operates off campus but seeks to be community-based.
“CFBU provides a platform for student voices and helps promote student issues, concerns, and achievements to Brock and the wider community,” said Cartmer. “Students should vote yes in the referendum so that Brock will continue to have independent student media that supports student engagement and experiential learning.”
There is no one running a ‘no’ campaign against this referendum.
The radio station broadcasts a variety of spoken word and music programming and intends to provide unbiased news and information to Brock students.
“Our broadcasts include interviews focused on student-led research, clubs, and events and we help promote student musicians, artists, and athletes,” said Cartmer. “CFBU has collaborated with departments at Brock to provide experiential learning opportunities and has provided employment to students from various faculties.”
Students may volunteer for Brock Radio or even apply to have their own show on the station.
“Students have created, produced, and hosted shows directly related to their degrees — sport management, English, pop culture and sociology, to name a few,” said Cartmer “Their experience with CFBU has helped them improve public speaking skills, increase self-confidence and develop practical skills through hands-on individualized training.”
As part of their mission statement, Brock Radio also hopes to provide a voice for the Brock community at large, including under-represented and marginalized groups.
Voting for the Brock Radio levy referendum will be taking place from Feb. 12 to 14, alongside the others. Ballots will be found in student e-mail accounts during this period.