Editorial, Opinion

Fall 2022 SSMU referendum endorsements

Renewal of Daily Publications Society Fee: Yes, with reservations

The Daily Publications Society (DPS) operates two independent, student-run newspapers that publish weekly: The McGill Daily and Le Délit. The proposed fee renewal would allow the DPS to continue funding their operations and collect a non-opt-outable fee of $6.00 per term from every Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) member. If this fee is not renewed with a majority “Yes” vote, then both the Daily and the Délit would cease to exist. A thriving free press on campus, especially with a French option for francophone students, is vital to provide a range of news and opinions to the student body. Both publications work to hold institutions such as McGill and  SSMU accountable for their actions. In addition, both publications offer an alternative to formal journalism training that is especially crucial at a university without a journalism program. However, The McGill Tribune cannot wholeheartedly endorse the DPS without acknowledging the areas where the Daily could improve its coverage and journalistic practices. The Daily could do more to fulfill its mandate of anti-oppressive journalism by platforming the voices of Black, Indigenous and racialized writers—this includes reflecting on particular articles that lack nuance and deprive subjects of agency. Further, running Amazon ads on the front page of its print issue is contradictory to such principles of anti-oppression. A greater breadth and volume of content would also benefit the Daily’s readership and help ensure that competition remains alive and well among student papers on campus. Overall, the Tribune votes “Yes” to the continued existence of the Daily and Le Délit with reservations that will hopefully spur a commitment to continuous improvement. 

Renewal of Sustainability Projects Fund Fee: Yes

The Sustainability Projects Fund (SPF) was originally founded in 2010 by the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU), Post-Graduate Students’ Society McGill University (PGSS), Macdonald Campus Students’ Society (MCSS), and McGill itself to promote a more sustainable campus through funding of community-member-led initiatives. All students currently pay $0.55 per credit—up to 15 credits—per semester through their tuition, and these funds are then redirected to the SPF. The SPF currently collects about $1 million a year and has been able to fund over 300 projects. It is governed by the SPF Governance Council, which has eight members total: Two from SSMU, one from PGSS, one from MCSS, two academic staff members, and two administrative staff members at McGill. The currently non-opt-outable fee is up for renewal during this term’s SSMU Referendum. A “No” vote would result in the abolition of the SPF as it is funded solely through student fees. This would mean that projects such as the Macdonald Campus Orchard, which aims to revive the campus orchards that are more than 30 years old, the Interactive Accessibility Map, an online interactive map that plans accessible routes for students across campus, and Bringing the Flat Back, an initiative to encourage more sustainable travel to campus, would be no more. The SPF has consistently supported sustainability initiatives on campus and for this reason, the Tribune votes “Yes” to the fee renewal. The continued efforts to make McGill a more environmentally-friendly campus must continue as the world faces an ever-worsening climate crisis.

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