The McGill Tribune presents its endorsements for the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU)’s Fall 2020 Referendum.
Ambassador Fee Renewal: Yes
The proposed renewal of the $2.00 opt-outable fee would continue to fund students’ participation in academic and extracurricular conferences, competitions, and other events until 2025. Although most activities covered by the fee are currently suspended or online due to the pandemic, renewing the fee will allow campus organizations to engage in them when in-person activities are possible again. Considering that demand for the Ambassador Fund in 2019 greatly exceeded the amount available, student groups evidently need the money to attend external events. These activities are incredibly valuable, as they enrich students’ experiences and give them the opportunity to represent McGill at functions beyond those offered on campus. Moreover, some of these events are financially inaccessible for many students, and the fee is instrumental in ensuring that all students who want to attend them can. The Tribune’s answer to this first question is a definite “yes.”
Daycare Fee Increase: Yes
The SSMU daycare, which was founded in 1999, provides childcare for 38 children aged 18 months to five years old of both graduate and undergraduate students at McGill. The proposed increase of the non-opt-outable fee from $2.72 to $3.00 is necessary for the maintenance and expansion of the daycare, which has been operating at a near deficit for the past several years. The daycare provides an integral service for student parents and offers important experience for students pursuing work in childcare. Because the daycare is currently unable to meet demand, the Tribune endorses a “yes” vote to ensure that the facility is able to best serve the student body.
Musician’s Collective Fee Renewal: Yes
The renewal of the $0.10 opt-outable fee from 2021-2025 for the McGill Musician’s Collective would allow the club to maintain operations at its current capacity. Founded in 2010, the Collective serves as a hub for the McGill music community and provides services that include teaching and performance opportunities, rehearsal spaces, affordable music lessons, and a supply of instruments available to all students. The club’s services make music accessible to students of all musical backgrounds, from total beginners to more experienced players. The Collective also fosters a sense of community and a unique outlet for creative expression during the isolation many are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tribune endorses the renewal of the $0.10 opt-outable fee, as the Musician’s Collective is a valuable service for many students.
Interest in student transport initiative: Yes
McGill Student Transport (MUSTBUS) is a student-run cooperative that seeks to provide students with a safe and affordable way to travel by bus from Montreal to major cities like Toronto, Boston, and New York City. MUSTBUS ran a pilot route to and from New York in February 2020, with each trip selling out. Priced at around $30 each way, the buses departed from Service Point on Friday and returned on Sunday, with no substantial delays reported. Once it is safe to travel again, MUSTBUS aims to expand its service to other cities and continue to make student travel more accessible. Although the cooperative plans to propose a small opt-outable fee next semester to keep the service affordable, there is no fee increase associated with this question. Therefore, the Tribune endorses a “yes” vote to support the continued development of this project.