With the CSU’s student centre campaign well underway, and without any opposition campaigning against the proposed fee-levy increase, the forthcoming November referendum should offer a clear response as to whether Concordia students want, and are willing to pay for, a student centre.
At the CSU council meeting in October, VP external and projects Adrien Severyns noted that the strong “vote no” campaign against other questions on the spring ballot may have affected the outcome of the referendum question. No such influence will be present this time around since there is nothing else on the ballot and, to Severyns’ knowledge, no one is running a counter-campaign. The CSU’s chief electoral officer Oliver Cohen could not be reached to confirm this by print time.
At that same October council meeting, the proposed wording of the referendum question came under heavy scrutiny for not being clear on the subject of how much students will be paying. It was also pointed out that students are already paying a $2.00 fee-levy for the same project. A motion was passed at council to send the wording back to Cohen in order for him to consider the councillors’ concerns and make any necessary alterations. Severyns took that one step further.
“For me personally, to be more sure and to actually address the issues that council had, I actually went further in the process and asked for legal advice on the question and asked a professional lawyer what he thought of it,” he said.
The lawyer’s wording changes were then run by Cohen who gave them the okay.
With the referendum deadline approaching, CSU president Heather Lucas issued a presidential decree on Oct. 27, essentially approving that the proposed by-law on the union building fund be put to referendum. CSU councillors will only vote to approve the decree at tomorrow’s council meeting.
The referendum question, barring any more modifications, will read as follows:
“Do you approve and ratify By-law 2010-2, adopted by the President, on October 27, 2010 pursuant section 7.1.2 of the General By-Laws of the CSU to give effect to a resolution of the Council of Representatives adopted on October 13, 2010 to increase the Union Building Fund component (currently at $2.00 per credit) of the Concordia Student Union membership fees each Fall, Winter and Summer semester incrementally by 50 cents per credit over five semesters, beginning in the Winter 2010 semester and ending in the Summer 2012, whereas the fees will be collected in accordance with university tuition and refund policy.”
On the ballot it will also state that the levy needs to be increased to “proceed with site selection by January 2011 and the beginning of construction on a timely basis,” and it will list a few examples of what students could expect from the centre.
According to Severyns, the CSU will be running a very “grassroots” campaign in favour of the student centre, utilizing the usual methods of postering and social media. He expects that they will not even reach the $375 spending limit specified in the by-laws.
The CSU’s campaign also has a blog which includes videos Severyns says were made before they even took office, which seems to confirm his claim that the problem of lack of student space really don’t change year by year.
He said the reasons for pushing the student centre were reinforced by the fact that multiple CSU clubs were recently moved out of their offices, and that many students were turned away from the over-capacity Romeo Dallaire lecture.
“There’s a growing demand, growing expectations from the student bodies to have better quality events and more spaces and I think the student centre actually englobes everything, in terms of addressing these issues, under one central roof.”
Voting will be held on Nov. 23, 24 and 25 on both campuses.