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Winter 2018 Referendum Endorsements

Editorial/Opinion by

Motion Regarding the ECOLE Project Fee Levy Renewal: “Yes”

The Educational Community Living Project (ECOLE) is an independent student group that provides living and work space at 3559 University Street. Every year, resident facilitators adopt eco-friendly living habits such as sharing vegan meals, composting, and minimizing their heat and energy use. Student facilitators also take on Applied Student Research and advocacy projects during their time living at ECOLE, often tackling social justice and environmental topics. Additionally, the house serves as a space for clubs and student groups to use for meetings, workshops, talks, and film screenings related to environmental and social sustainability. This motion would renew the opt-outable ECOLE Project fee of $2.00 per student per semester, which would allow ECOLE to continue to conduct research projects, advocate for sustainable urban living, and provide valuable meeting space for student groups. These services are all essential for a healthy campus community, especially in light of the recent University Centre building closure.

 

Motion Regarding the Black Students’ Network Fee: “Yes”

The Black Students’ Network (BSN) is a Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) student service with a dual mandate to “sensitize the McGill community to issues concerning Black peoples,” and to create a safer, more accessible campus for black students that supports their health, well-being, and academic success. This question consists of two parts: The first asks students to renew the opt-outable Black Students’ Network fee, and the second asks students to approve a semesterly fee increase from $0.40 to $1.00 for full-time students, and from $0.20 to $0.50 for part-time students. The motion states that the BSN’s current fee is no longer sufficient to sustain its diverse range of programming, including hosting educational and social events, and providing mentorship and support for Black students on campus. Further, the BSN is now the primary financial contributor to Black History Month programming at McGill. The BSN is a crucial intersectional education and support resource for all members of the McGill community, but especially for black students. The BSN’s existence on campus is essential to continuing to work toward representation and equity for black students at McGill.

 

Motion to Amend the SSMU Campus Life Fee: “Yes”

Motion to Amend the SSMU Clubs Fee: “Yes”

Motion to Amend the University Centre Building Fee: “Yes”

The motions to amend the SSMU Campus Life Fee, the SSMU Clubs Fee, and the University Building Centre Fee all respond to logistical issues posed by the closing of the University Centre for renovations starting on March 17.

The SSMU Campus Life Fee supports student projects, events, conferences, publications, productions, and athletic teams at McGill. This question asks students to agree to amending the SSMU Campus Life Fee so that it can be used to help interim clubs and services secure activity spaces during the building closure. There is a surplus in the SSMU Campus Life Fund due to a lack of applications in past years, and McGill clubs and services are in dire need of designated spaces for meetings, events, and offices.

The SSMU Clubs Fee funds McGill clubs. This question seeks to amend the Clubs Fund to cover the costs of securing spaces for Full Status Clubs in good standing while the University Centre remains closed to students.

Finally, the University Centre Building Fee contributes to a designated fund to pay the rent and utilities of the University Centre Building. This question aims to amend this fund to cover “the costs of reserving alternative spaces” due to the building closure. The amendment will ensure that clubs are able to operate effectively outside of the University Centre building.

These questions outline inevitable and necessary financial steps to ensure that the McGill clubs and services, and independent student groups, are able to operate effectively in light of the building closure.

 

Policy on Implementation of a Fall Reading Break: “Yes”

This referendum question asks students whether they agree to adopt the Policy on Implementation of a Fall Reading Break as a formal SSMU policy. Sixty-one per cent of Canadian universities have at least four study days in the Fall semester, and a 2015 survey of over 5,000 McGill students found that 71.5 per cent of respondents were in favour of a Fall Reading Break. The Policy specifies a three-pronged approach to realizing a Fall Reading Week: It mandates the Vice-President (VP) University Affairs to lobby the University administration, the VP External to petition the provincial government, and SSMU to encourage the McGill Senate to implement a break. While implementing a Fall reading week could require starting the Fall semester earlier in August or potentially holding final exams on weekends, an October 2014 study conducted at Brock University shows that an additional fall break would reduce stress for students—especially first-years. The benefits of implementing a Fall Reading Break outweigh the logistical costs and, given that McGill students are broadly in favour of a Fall Reading Week, SSMU should advocate to make it a reality.

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