New student fee to be debated at council tomorrow

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Students can participate in a debate on whether or not a referendum should take place over a proposed new student fee. The debate takes place tomorrow night at council.

The fee would go to the Student Refugee Program, part of the student club World University Students Canada. University Students’ Council bylaw two states there will be a mandatory debate at council to determine if this issue might go to referendum, said USC chief returning officer Matt Fisher.

“Regular students won’t have a vote [to determine if there will be a referendum], but students are welcome to come and voice their opinions,” Fisher said.

USC President Fab Dolan will put forward the motion to hold a vote for a potential referendum, but only because the bylaw dictates the president must move the motion if a certain number of signatures are collected on a petition " a number the Student Refugee Program achieved.

“I will be putting forward the motion, but then, because of the particulars, I will be speaking against it,” Dolan said.

“There are significant financial and legal liabilities with the particular proposal. That doesn’t mean I don’t like charitable causes, but I have to keep the corporation away from something that could lead to a lawsuit or another particular liability.”

While non-councillors can’t vote on the referendum, students’ voices are important, Dolan said.

“Because council is making a decision on it, [it wants] to make sure all information is available to them,” he said. “The members of WUSC are a very strong resource in that respect. Just because I have to take a position on this issue doesn’t mean I don’t want a fair process for this motion.”

Dolan said students can speak while council is in session because a member of the Board of Directors will defer her speaking rights so students will be allowed to voice their opinions.

If the motion passes, students will be able to vote in a referendum that will appear on the 2007 student council election ballot.

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