In the age online banking, eCommerce and Quest, does it make sense to force students to walk all over campus to collect refundable ancillary fees? Why shouldn’t students be given the power to opt out of these fees when they pay their tuition?
The Progressive Conservative Organisation on campus has been circulating a petition to call a referendum on this question. By Federation of Students bylaws, they need 5% of the voting members of the corporation to sign this petition, which has been approximated to be 1800 signatures to force the question. The wording would have to be approved by the FedS President, Brenda Koprowski.
As the question on the PC petition stands, the fees that would be in question for engineering students are: Waterloo Public Interest Research Group (WPIRG), CKMS, Imprint, Sanford Fleming Foundation, Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund (WEEF), and the Engineering Society. The Federation of Students’ fee is not included as it is a non-refundable ancillary fee.
This issue was on the agenda for the FedS Students’ Council meeting for January 12th. The intent was to look into Students’ Council’s options for exercising their right to call a referendum on the same topic. If Students’ Council called the referendum, they could regain control over the content of the question.
A circle of concerned individuals and representatives from many of the affected parties lined the wall around the table of councillors at the Sunday meeting. The president and WEEF director of Engineering Society B were among those who attended. The off-stream engineering society was represented by their VP Education.
The crowd at the meeting was somewhat relieved when the motion was withdrawn from the agenda due to a technicality. The motion was withdrawn because it was mis- takenly attributed to Aaron Lee-Wudrick, a non-voting member of council. Robert’s Rules of Order do not allow non-voting members to make motions. Alex Cassar, the councillor representing Lee-Wudrick intended to present of motion of Lee-Wudrick’s behalf.
To not disappoint the crowd who came to talk about the issue, the topic was moved to “items for discussion.” This resulted in an approximately five hour long discussion on the merits of the motion, the lack of results from a committee formed to look at the question of referenda on external organizations and the expansion of the mandate of this committee.
Lee-Wudrick was allowed by council to speak during the debate. He told the room that if the motion hadn’t pulled by Students’ council for the technicality explained above, he would have pulled the motion in recognition of the need to notify and consult with the groups implicated.
By the next Student’s Council meeting, the committee, which includes representatives from WPIRG, CKMS, Imprint, was instructed to have a preliminary report pre- pared. This will be included in the pack- age of information that councillors receive prior to the meeting and therefore will be available on the FedS website (feds.uwaterloo.ca).
A representative from CKMS warned that this is an extremely short timeline, and then quoted the Rolling Stones “You can’t always get what you want, but you’ll get what you need,” basically warning that the report will not be thorough.
To have your say on this issue, you can attend one of the open committee meetings during the next month. You can also contact your engineering student councillors. Between the two streams of students, engineering holds a total of 6 seats on Students’ Council.
The engineering student councillors are Lawrence Lam (firstname.lastname@example.org), Jay Liu (email@example.com), Geoff Rawle (firstname.lastname@example.org), Piragash Velummylum (email@example.com) Jasmin Mulaomanovic (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Shezana Manji (email@example.com).