A special Concordia Student Union (CSU) council meeting was convened last Thursday so members could vote on whether the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy could submit a fee levy question for the March 28 elections. Only 12 council members were present for the vote.
The 2110 Centre is asking students to vote for a 2-cent levy increase per credit, up from 27 to 29 cents, to be able to keep up the services they provide campus-wide. Previously only fine arts, arts and science, and independent student faculties have paid the levy while the two other faculties, John Molson School of Business (JMSB) and Engineering and Computer Science Associations (ECSA) faculties, have never paid for it.
The issue turned to representatives from the JMSB who don’t want students in their faculty to be misled into voting for a fee levy because of vague wording on the ballot question. They felt that students in their faculty might not have been aware they hadn’t been previously paying the levy, and might vote for it because it only appeared to be an increase of two cents. An amendment to the question was tabled and voted upon.
The original question was amended by a unanimous vote from the 12 council members present.
Representatives from the 2110 Centre said they have been running on the same operating budget since 1999 and that it seemed reasonable to ask students every 10 years to vote on whether they still want to support the organization. With more people coming in all the time, their ability to provide the same services are stretched and they don’t want to worry about how to keep running the program because of a lack of funds. They also don’t have the space they need to accommodate the 1,600 to 2,200 people they see per year.
“[The 2110 Centre] is unique because it’s one of the only one of its kind that offers services for Anglophones,” said Niliema Karkhanis, administrative and programming co-ordinator for the centre.
Aleem Mohummed, a councillor representing JMSB, said that he didn’t like seeing another tax on JMSB students because they “pay the highest fees in all of Concordia.”
“In no way am I saying that the [2110 Centre] service isn’t valuable, but I’ve never heard of your organization ever and I’m pretty sure that a lot of my students don’t know what you provide,” Mohummed said.
“Students always have the option to opt out and get their $3.49 back, which is what they’d be paying per semester,” Karkhanis concluded.
The CSU elections will take place March 28, and in addition to the 2110 Centre’s question, Cinema Politica will also be asking for students to support a fee levy raise for their organization.
The original question, with amendments in italics, reads:
“Do you agree to raise the fee levy from 27 cents per credit to 29 cents per credit for fine arts, arts and science and independent students, and from $0 to 29 cents for JMSB and engineering and computer science students, annually adjusted to the Consumer Price Index of Montreal, calculated by the CSU; to support The 2110: Concordia Centre for Gender Advocacy which hasn’t seen an increase since 1999, and offers needed peer support, counseling, legal/medical referrals, advocacy and educational programming to all Concordia students, furthermore the fee would be effective for the 2006 Fall term (2006/2) and collected in accordance with the university tuition billing and refund policy?”