‘Student Space Initiative’ Vote A Step Back For Students

Last week, students voted in with 53.6% the “Student Space Initiative”, approving the collection every semester of $2 per full-time student and 75 cents per part-time student, with the goal of amassing $750,000 over five years to partially fund improvements for study space on campus. This measure is a major step backward for students and opens the door for the downloading of more fees from the administration to students.


Let us be clear. Improving the availability of space is an important issue for students on this campus and more should be done about this. But students already pay upwards of $5,000 per year to study at this university, on top of textbooks, food and rent among other rising costs. They shouldn’t foot the bill for such a basic upgrade, a clear responsibility of the university administration.


Our university administration can afford to pay its president nearly $500,000, and also give six figure salaries to dozens of other administrators, vice-administrators and other bureaucrats. There is simply no fair or logical basis to make students participate in this scheme, especially at the same time the university is also paying a similar amount to build a bronze statue.


There is more than meets the eye to this question than simply adding $2 to your semester fees. At stake here is the issue of public funding of our university. This question was like an experiment by the administration in downloading costs to students. It cleverly worked in conjunction with students close to the administration to draft and promote this proposal. With the success of the campaign, it will now feel more confident downloading more costs to students in the future, initiating a dangerous trend for students.


It is clear this isn’t only about $2 per semester if we take into account the other costs we have been made to pay for in the past. Take the athletic building fee ($41.52) or the energy retrofit fee ($7.27) for example. These dollars add up, and if this trend continues unchecked it will make poor students even poorer while the administration washes its hands of its basic responsibilities. We have seen the administration of this university double-cross students before on a similar question, when it took over the University Center, which had originally been paid for by students through their own initiative. We know they won’t pass an occasion to save a few bucks on our backs.


While we would like to point out the Ontarion’s article from last week was factually incorrect in saying the GSMC had taken a stand and founded the No campaign – the issue wasn’t even discussed among us until our first meeting after the vote results were announced – we would now like to send out a strong warning against any future attempts by the administration to download its costs on us, and encourage students to be more vigilant towards ploys of the administration and its allies in college governments.