A Western club is another step closer to securing funding from student fees after more than 3,000 students signed a petition supporting the group.
Western’s World University Service of Canada, which supports a refugee student a Canadian education, is attempting to make the necessary steps to include a referendum question in March. The referendum would ask if students want to pay $0.52 annually to support the program.
The petition, which gained more than the necessary 10 per cent of the student population, is the first step in a student-initiated referendum process.
“[We] ask that the [University Students’ Council] seriously consider that 3,024 students are supporting this referendum, many of which are also supporting the [Student Refugee Program],” Anna Martin, director of WUSC Western’s student refugee program, explained.
In November, the USC overturned its decision to include the referendum on the student fee funding in the February USC elections.
“We retracted the statement and then guaranteed them […] around $10,000. We guaranteed them the finances if they would withhold their referendum until next year,” said Marino Felice, president of the HBA Students’ Council.
However, because of a need of more financial support and desired expansion, WUSC decided to go ahead and attempt to bring their proposed levy question to referendum regardless of the USC’s offer.
The petition will now go to the Elections Committee, which will check the signatures for authenticity. If it passes, the proposal for the referendum will once again have to be put to the USC.
However, some of the USC members view this proposal as presenting the same issues as the one that was shot down earlier this month.
“They still have to have it voted on by council,” Felice said. “It’s pretty much that they’re bringing back the exact thing we shot down. Basically they’re just unhappy with our decision.”
Martin claimed further meetings with the USC were necessary, saying WUSC executives put a lot of work into the progress so far, including presentations and meetings with the USC.
WUSC also noted during a presentation that they might pursue a bid to become a USC service. As a service, the group would have much more access to USC resources than as a club, as well as a permanent funding guarantee.
However, Scott Kerr, vice-president campus issues for the USC, said WUSC becoming a service would present some issues.
“The money they’re asking for is significantly more than any current service. It would be relatively unprecedented,” Kerr said.
With files from Cheryl Stone