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Courtesy CHRW

A USC motion to hold a referendum next year on whether or not CHRW's student fee should be discontinued failed with 80 per cent of councillors voting against it.

The final vote tallied 17 per cent voting in favour of the motion and three per cent abstaining.

Council could not agree on any amendments or alternative to the referendum. Consequently, the current CHRW funding model will continue as is. 

The meeting was attended by more than 60 additional audience members who showed their solidarity with CHRW.

Council, however, struggled to meet quorum of 26 councillors before the CHRW presentation by station manager Grant Stein and other volunteers began. The speaker of council was forced to start the presentation without quorum.

 

During CHRW's presentation, one volunteer spoke about the experiential learning offered by the campus radio station.

"The motion draws the attention to the station's listenership while we focus on volunteer experience," she said. 

Another volunteer, Ashley Papadamou, said she hopes to work in the media industry some day and CHRW was a platform helping her achieve that goal.

"It gives you the opportunity to network with current industry professionals ... you're building your communication skills," she said. 

Members of cultural clubs on campus also spoke at the meeting, expressing their gratitude for the platform that CHRW provided them to exhibit diversity at Western.

After the presentation, councillors got a chance to question CHRW representatives. 

Social science councillor Alana Kiteley asked for the number of undergraduate volunteers involved with CHRW. The response was approximately 170 students out of a total of 300.  

Law councillor Derrick Dodgson said that the affordability of education was an ongoing concern and while student fees may not be as much as tuition, they are still significant. 

"I think that 170 students isn't all that disproportionate from dozens of other clubs and all of these clubs are really important to the students that are in them," he said, "but that doesn't mean that they get a mandatory student fee that everyone pays."

Many councillors expressed their desire for the campus radio station to explore other funding because the number of undergraduate students' who receive value from CHRW isn't equal to the number of students who pay for it collectively. Other councillors agreed, but said a referendum was premature. 

"[This] referendum is incredibly negligent," said Brescia president Caitie Cheeseman. "AllyWestern may not have the highest attendance but that doesn't mean it's not valuable."

Before the motion was called to question, Kiteley proposed an alternative motion to the referendum. 

The proposed amendment stated, "CHRW [will] have the opportunity to bring an alternative funding model to council in the fall of 2016. If council is satisfied with the alternative funding model, council may, at that time, cancel the referendum."

Science councillor Courtney Hardy spoke in favour of the amendment motion and said concerns regarding CHRW listenership come up every year but no change is observed. The amended motion would encourage CHRW to look for other funding models. 

"I want to see something actually happen," she said.

The amendment failed as it did not get the two-third majority in council required for it to pass. 

Finally, after more than two hours of debate attempts to hold any CHRW related referendums in the future failed.

With files from Katie Lear and Amy O'Kruk.

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Hamza was editor-in-chief for Volume 110 of the Gazette. Previously, he was the breaking news editor for Volume 109, news editor for Volume 108 and staff writer for Volume 107. Contact Hamza at htariq270@gmail.com.

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