BUSAC approves referendum question
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 10:09
On Sept. 18, BUSAC met for the first time since the summer, and it was not without controversy. One of the biggest items on the agenda was the approval of the referendum question for the student petition put forward by the Brock Sexual Violence Support Center. A referendum to fund an organization dedicated to assisting those who are victims of sexual assault.
A representative of the group leading the petition made a brief presentation outlining what such an organization would do, as well as specifying their suggested wording of the question to appear on the ballot. The question being “Do you support a $2.75 per credit fee to fund the Brock Sexual Violence Support Center, as per the Memorandum of Understanding?”
While the Brock University Students’ Administrative Council (BUSAC) does not have the authority to alter the content of the Memorandum of Understanding for a referendum brought forward by petition, it does have the responsibility to approve the wording of the question itself. It is this responsibility that led councillors to a lengthy deliberation last Tuesday night.
The previously mentioned wording that was initially proposed by the referendum team was ultimately shot down by BUSAC by an 11-13-2 vote. The decision was the product of a discussion largely characterized by the expressed grievance of many councillors that the original wording did not provide sufficient clarity. The argument being that students would not be able to make a fully informed decision if the question failed to include what was viewed as two very relevant details; first, the fact that the organization would most likely include an off campus office located in downtown St. Catharines, and the second being that the organization is separately incorporated and thus not a part of the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU).
To accommodate these concerns, the wording of the question was amended to read as follows: “Do you support a $2.75 per credit fee to fund Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Center, Inc., to be primarily off-campus, as per the Memorandum of Understanding?”
Those opposing the amendment and supporting the original motion argued that instead of making the question clearer to students, these changes may make the question misleading. They pointed to the fact that the organization would also include an on-campus component, and felt as though it would be a disservice to students to omit one piece of information while including its respective counter-part.
It was for this reason that the question was amended for a second time, this time reading: “Do you support a $2.75 per credit fee to fund Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Center, Inc., to be on and off campus, as per the Memorandum of Understanding?”
With this revision, the question was finally accepted by council, passing by a vote of 23-0-1.
The new question was then returned to the leaders of the referendum, who could either accept the changes that BUSAC made, or, if the wording was not to their liking, ask BUSAC to formulate a new question.
As of Sept. 19, the referendum team has accepted the question as amended by BUSAC.
The question regarding funding Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Center will be on the ballot in the coming by-elections which takes place Oct. 23 - 25.
For more information regarding the Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Center referendum as well as information on what BUSAC seats will be up for election please contact BUSU Chief Returning Officer Jimmy Norman at firstname.lastname@example.org