a, Editorial, Opinion

Editorial: Winter 2015 referendum endorsements

Question regarding the creation of the ECOLE Project Fee – Yes

ECOLE is a sustainability-centred living, learning, and community space. This upcoming referendum question involves the institution of a $2.00 per semester opt-outable fee that will go towards the the Education Community Living Environment (ECOLE) Project. The Tribune endorses a “Yes” vote for the proposed fee, which would allow the group to continue to provide student space, alternative education support, sustainability programming, and applied research on sustainability at McGill. ECOLE already provides accessible space booking and valuable research opportunities to undergraduat and graduate students who are interested in sustainability. Material and social sustainability are important initiatives that matter to many McGill students, and the Tribune supports the implementation of this fee to support ECOLE. As the only student-run space currently on campus dedicated to mobilizing McGill students and residents of Montreal around sustainability issues. Nevertheless, as ECOLE has only been in operation for one year, and remains relatively unknown as an organization, further outreach is necessary in order to engage more of the student body with its mission.

Question regarding the renewal of the SSMU Access Bursary Fund – Yes

The promotion of accessible education is always encouraged, especially in light of recent tuition increases that could exacerbate socioeconomic inequalities. The Tribune therefore endorses a “Yes” vote to renew the SSMU Access Bursary Fund. The fee for the SSMU Bursary fund is $8.50 for full-time students, and $4.25 for part-time students, per semester, a fee that is opt-outable on Minerva. The Tribune supports the spirit of the bursary fund, which promotes a pan-university approach to combatting budgetary constraints. In addition, the university and its alumni, as represented by the McGill Fund Council, have committed themselves to matching the Access Bursary Fund contributions dollar-for-dollar. The funds from students and the university that are made available through the Access Bursary Fund, constitute a substantial contribution towards promoting the affordability and accessibility of McGill moving forward.

Question regarding the addition of an MSE Representative on the SSMU Legislative Council – Yes

The Tribune endorses a “Yes” vote for the referendum question regarding the addition of a McGill School of Environment (MSE) Representative on the SSMU Legislative Council. Students of the MSE are currently represented by councillors from the Faculty of Arts & Science, Arts, or Science, but claim that their particular needs and interests are not directly aligned with the individual faculties, and thus require their own seat on Council. The current division of the School of Environment constituency under the representation of various representatives from these three faculties has weakened their voice, according to a statement made by Benjamin Ger, a member of the McGill Environment Student Society (MESS), at a SSMU Council meeting in February. While issues of over-representation and over-crowding in the Legislative Council will need to be addressed, the creation of a new seat is necessary if a large portion of students feel underrepresented. The Tribune recognizes the importance of effective student representation within governing bodies, and stands in support with the addition of a seat for the MSE.

Question regarding the referral services fee renewal – Yes

Since 2006, the referral services fee has funded Queer McGill with $1.00, Nightline with $0.40, and the Union for Gender Empowerment with $0.35, for a fee total of $1.75 per student per semester. As this fee is renewed every five years, this referendum question, if passed, would renew the fee until 2020. The Tribune endorses a "Yes" vote for this renewal, because all three services provide invaluable resources to students on campus. Nightline is widely promoted to first years and still used by upper years as an anonymous phone service run by students, and offers support whenever a student is in need and chooses to call in. Queer McGill is an essential organization and resource within the greater McGill community, frequently hosting workshops and series that are widely attended by LGBTQ people and allies alike.  And finally, the UGE sells a variety of safe sex and menstrual products through its Co-op while also offering a library that is open to the public. All three organizations are important and valued services, and renewing the fee would allow for their continued operations on campus.






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