Constantines arrested?

Entertainment p. 11

Argosy
Vol. 138 Iss. 19

March 19, 2009

Shaking our heads at wuss-bags since 1875

The

Isabel Gertler

Funding for 7 Mondays is one issue on this year’s SAC referendum; the others include creation of a green investment fund, changes to the tuition billing structure and the continuation of the yearbook.

Four questions you need to think about
Kelly O’Connor
Argosy Staff
Sharpen your pencils and inform those opinions - it’s referendum time. On March 26 and 27, Mount Allison students will be able to vote on four questions in the SAC-administered referendum, which include the creation of a green investment fund, changes in tuition billing structure, the continuation of the yearbook, and the collection of student fees for 7 Mondays. “It’s been kind of a loose tradition to have a referendum every three years,” explained Dan Wortman, VP Finance and Operations. “It forces you to take a closer look at it [the policies] and see if there’s anything that needs to be examined because we always want to act on behalf of the will of the students.” Referendums may be called at any time, however, if a major issue springs up. “It is usually a good idea when you have a very large subject [...] to have an individual referendum so that everyone is clear about the subject and that there is ample debate about it,” commented VP External Affairs Mark Brister. e issues being voted on this year arose from the feedback councillors received from students and individual presentations, which were then discussed in the SAC meeting and voted upon to determine which questions merited being put on the ticket. Affected groups were given 14 days to campaign from the date the questions were decided upon, with the SAC remaining impartial throughout the process. “We welcome parties from either side of the debate to campaign for or against the questions,” said Wortman. “We’re a neutral body. We want to make sure that we’re spending students’ money the way they want it to be spent.” e SAC also has a Facebook group to encourage debate about the issues and provide additional information on the referendum. Similar to an election, items must have a 50-per-cent-plus-one majority in order to pass, and for changes to the SAC constitution, it must reach two thirds of quorum. Students will have the option of voting yes or no to each issue, or spoiling their ballot. is referendum will also be held in conjunction with the spring election for senators in an effort to increase voter turnout. One group, however, was caught off guard by the process and did not realize they were being put on the chopping block. 7 Mondays felt they were “kept in the dark,” and did not receive official confirmation that their funding was being debated until the morning of the SAC meeting in which the referendum questions were decided. e SAC does not have the responsibility to inform people that they are discussing the idea of having a referendum, said Wortman. “[Groups] certainly are always welcome to come and explain what they do and how they do it,” he said. “But again it’s the councillors’ choice – they are the ones that are voting.” According to Brister, the SAC did not anticipate problems with the procedure of the referendum. However, he admits that the time allotted for campaigning “might not be enough.” “ at might necessitate a bylaw change,” said Brister. “If that is a concern, sure [...] we’ll definitely look into that.” Wortman has heard positive and negative comments about the referendum topics, but doesn’t see a problem in using this method to receive official feedback from students on the operation of the SAC. A referendum may be called for four reasons: the impeachment of an official, a change in SAC administered student fees, a change to the SAC’s constitution, or any other issue deemed necessary by council. A referendum may also be called on recommendation of the Executive Committee or through a motion by Council. “ e proposal is for a green investment fund coming from students,” explained Natalie Gerum, who co-presented the idea to the SAC with professor Brad Walters. “ e money is intended to be directed towards projects that reduce carbon emissions in very concrete ways.” e anticipated $20,000 which would be raised by adding this levy to student fees, would be used in partnership with the Sackville community to fund carbon emission reduction projects in town. “As far as we know nothing like this happening anywhere in Canada, so the potential for innovation is huge,” said Gerum. She explained that the money would not be used to improve university infrastructure, as there is already a budget for that. She also cited student concerns about the broad environmental objectives of the JUMP campaign, which left many wondering what specific projects the money would actually be allocated to. “ rough the President’s Speaker Series on Climate Change, we have been told time and time again that while behavioural change and education are fantastic and are definitely major objectives, those

Upcoming referendum looks at support of yearbook, tuition structure; fees for journal, carbon reduction
Would you be willing to contribute 10 dollars annually to enable energy efficiency projects for the reduction of carbon emissions in the Sackville area?
ultimately don’t decrease carbon emissions to the same extent that infrastructural change does.” e current idea is to use the anticipated $20,000 to retrofit heating and electrical systems in low-income houses in Sackville that would not be able to afford these carbon emissionreducing modifications otherwise. e town has also begun work on its own sustainability plan, and is “moving ahead regardless,” said Gerum. “To have an influx of capital from its student citizens, I think, creates a really neat dynamic for students to have a voice in the future look and the sustainability plan of Sackville.” If students vote Yes to the environmental fund, the money will be managed by the SAC in conjunction with local stakeholders such as Walters, town councillors, and other interested parties. e project may not necessarily be the one suggested by Gerum and the Carbon Strategy Working Group, and may change depending on the wishes of the committee distributing the funds. If the idea is voted down, the fund will not be created.

Story continues on p. 3

Independent Student Journal of Mount Allison University

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