Understanding the BSSVSC referendum
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 12:10
Due to fact that the only sanctioned debate for the Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Center was cancelled due to the ‘no’ side being unable to attend, an alternative was put together that allowed both sides the opportunity to make their case to students.
Prior to this issue of The Brock Press, both official ‘yes’ and ‘no’ sides for the referendum were contacted and asked to provide a statement outlining their reasons as to why students should support their respective side at the ballot box.
While the ‘yes’ team provided their statement, the ‘no’ side was unable to comment citing a difficult schedule.
For this reason, an objective non-bias explanation of the referendum as well as the consequences of voting both yes and no will, for the sake of balance, substitute for the absence of a statement from the ‘no’ campaign.
A referendum is a yes or no question that is voted on by the entire student body. According to the BUSU Constitution, a referendum (along with a motion passed during an Annual General Meeting,) is the highest governing authority of BUSU. A referendum can be brought to election through either a student petition signed by 2 per-cent or more of the student body or can be legislated by BUSAC.
During the voting days of Oct. 23 – 26, all undergraduate students will receive an email through their Brock mail account containing a link to a secure online ballot. The ballot will present a referendum question that reads as follows:
“Do you support a $2.75 per credit fee to fund Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Centre, Inc., to be on and off-campus, as per the Memorandum of Understanding?”
Any new student ancillary fee must be approved by a referendum before being implemented. This is why the Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Center is currently going through a referendum.
After reading this question, one of the most common questions from a student who might not be a political science major or familiar with election jargon is “what exactly is a Memorandum of Understanding?”
The Memorandum of Understanding is essentially a contract that outlines the exact terms that are being voted on. In the context of a referendum, it is this document that is actually being voted on.
Here is an example to put it in perspective. If a student were to vote ‘yes’ to the Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Center referendum, they would not be supporting just the ‘idea’ of the organization, but the specific model of the organization as laid out in the Memorandum of Understanding.
On the other hand, a ‘no’ vote is not simply opposition to the funding of a generic sexual assault center known as the Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Center, it is opposition to the specific terms laid out in the Memorandum of Understanding by which such an organization would be governed by.
It is important to keep this distinction in mind when making your decision.
So what exactly would a ‘yes’ outcome mean and a ‘no’ outcome mean?
If the Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Center referendum were to pass, it would mean that all undergraduate students would be charged $2.75 per credit to fund the organization (as defined by the Memorandum of Understanding.)
If the Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Center referendum were to fail, it would mean that no undergraduate students will be charged $2.75 per credit to go towards the organization’s funding. This does not necessarily mean that the Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Center would automatically disappear. It could continue to exist and could pursue other sources of funding outside of a student levy if the leaders of the organization wish.
For more information on the Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Center referendum, the BUSU website provides students with non-bias informative resources at busu.net/representation/elections-and-referendums/bssvsc-referendum/. For more information on this referendum or any other election, contact BUSU Chief Returning Officer Jimmy Norman at email@example.com