Volume 93, Issue 19

Thursday, September 30, 1999



Waterloo set to join Travel Cuts lawsuit

Referendum motion denied

Third party to mediate negotiation

CSIS gets go-ahead from above

Tourism study to track homecoming cash

Vanier Cup scores rent break


Caught on Campus

Referendum motion denied

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

A motion raised at last night's University Students' Council meeting which would have increased student input on raises to Board member salaries through a referendum, was struck down by an overwhelming majority.

Social science councillor Ray Novak's motion, which called for a student referendum on any increase to the president and vice-presidents' salaries above the Consumer Price Index, a statistic which measures the cost of living from one year to another, was attacked vehemently.

Novak supported his motion by stating the issue would undoubtedly increase voter turn-out since it called for greater student involvement. "This resolution fights the stigma that the USC is just a corporate bubble up here on the third floor, making decisions with little regard to what students think," he said.

Most of the responses from senators and councillors during the meeting clearly illustrated they were against instituting a change to the standing policy.

Business councillor Rory Capern, said when a pay raise motion was tabled two years ago, there was no debate amongst councillors. "Every time we come to a contentious issue we don't have to go to a referendum," he added.

On Novak's claim the referendum would be cost-free, Perry Monaco, VP-campus issues for the USC, said according to USC by-laws any student referendum would require "yes" and "no" campaigns to inform the voter of the issue. Monaco added this cost would far exceed the cost of any proposed salary increase.

Monaco said a second problem with the motion was the need to have 20 per cent student participation for a referendum to be considered binding – something which could not be guaranteed.

In support of Novak, Mike Werenich, a King's College councillor, raised the issue of accountability which he felt was lost in the decision. "When the 1,700 King's college students come to me and say 'Mike you voted wrong,' it's on my conscience. This would have given the students the direct say on issues they deserve to have a say on."

"This sends a firm message to the students, from their council, to open their wallets and shut their mouths," Novak said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999