"According to Wheeler, another result of the 2008 referendum was communication from the administration emphasizing they would only consider a referendum decision to change the opt-out system if it was included in a student-approved existence question. This would ensure that students provide a clear mandate for the organization to exist under a new opt-out system.
“There are very specific legal requirements to the question,” said Wheeler. “Students need to mandate that our fee is renewed in a certain way… Its administration is also part of the same question according to McGill’s interpretation, and so the question has to be combined.”
The students’ 64-page case file – which includes evidence gathered from emails, Facebook activity, SSMU Council minutes, and campus publications – accuses the QPIRG ‘Yes’ committee of numerous infractions. The case claims that campaign rules were enforced irregularly, and challenges numerous decisions of Elections SSMU Chief Electoral Officer Rebecca Tacoma.
After requesting access to the SSMU membership list in late September, Newburgh used his access to check the membership status of the signatories to the petition for the QPIRG referendum question. A list of 12 students who are deemed to be non-SSMU members is included in the case file.
The opt-out promoters appear to be a large conservative group. From M,sM's link:
Adam Wheeler, co-chair of the QPIRG ‘yes’ committee, said that online opt-outs in recent years have had such a severe impact on the organization that they felt compelled to include it in the fee renewal question.
That's tough, but I can't help thinking their basic problem is that too few students find their service worth paying for and so are choosing not to give them any money. It might have been better to make the nature of the funding mechanism a separate question from the existence one. As proposed, the question requires students who do not wish to fund these groups to trek across campus every semester to wherever their offices are located to explain in person why they don't wish to contribute, and it's probable that most students won't bother, due to a mix of embarrassment and the fact that the amount saved ($11-12 per annum) may simply be not be worth the time cost of the personal opt-out visits to individual students.
On the other hand, when students are given the convenience of an electronic administrative choice (the Minerva system), the vast majority of them state that they do not find these services worth paying for. I would support the rights of these grousp to exist, but not their right to automatic funding. Essentially their funding strategy is based on making it more difficult for students to express their financial choice. I'm unclear why they think the students should have to appear in person to opt out from funding a particular campus group if they don't feel like doing so.
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