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SSMU and PGSS students vote to increase QPIRG fee

Students voted to approve an increase in Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG)-McGill’s opt-outable fee, raising it from $3.75 to $5.00 per semester. The fee passed by 62.9 per cent, and is set to be implemented starting in Fall 2015. The Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) and the Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) saw 13.7 per cent and 18.8 per cent voter turnouts, respectively, among constituents.

QPIRG is an organization mandated to increase awareness of social justice issues through research, advocacy, and events—including Rad Frosh and Social Justice Days. QPIRG has chapters in other Quebec universities, as well as similar research groups in universities around North America.

According to Robin Reid-Fraser, a member of the QPIRG Board of Directors, allocation of the additional funding will be evaluated over the next few months, but will also include many short-term initiatives.

“We’ve been talking about, in the short term, [putting] more funding towards our working groups, who haven’t had a funding increase in years; our programming; our applied student research platform, Community University Research Exchange (CURE); creating more staff positions; and our resource library,” she said. “In the long term, we’re planning on improving the accessibility of the [QPIRG offices].”

Fraser stated that the fee increase garnered support on campus during its limited campaign period.

”Because our campaign period ended up starting just a few days before Reading Week, we were a little worried about being able to reach as many people as we wanted to in such a short time,” Reid-Fraser said. “Fortunately, we had lots of people helping with the campaign, and it felt like we were really able to spread the word [….] It was also greatly appreciated how receptive students were, despite the fact that midterms were going on for a lot of people as well.”

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