Vote no, that’s the simple message Andrew Sahaydak and the recently launched No Fee Alliance (NFA) is putting forward to students for the upcoming referendum on establishing a student funded refugee program which would give one person with refugee status between the ages of 20-25 a fully paid university experience.
Sahaydak, who is also the President of the campus Conservatives, is the spokesperson for a rapidly growing group of students that are unhappy with the rising cost of university and how much the university and students’ union are charging students.
“I think it is a vital part of democracy that we can oppose measures like these, especially at the university level. It helps prepare us as next generation of voters,” he said. “This referendum will set a great amount of precedence for the students’ union and will affect all of us.”
The NFA says it will spread information on the referendum by laying out the facts and having conversations with students about the personal cost they will incur from the proposed policy. Posters will be put up this week to layout some key facts that are missing from the conversation.
Sahaydak says it is going to be a huge sum of money and students are already cash strapped.
“Nearly $60,000 plus will be collected from this program, should it pass,” Sahaydak said. “What is to stop the union from collecting this kind of sum from us in the future? I know many students who have worked extremely hard to come to this school from all over the world and fought every step of the way only to be engulfed by fees. This referendum needs to be put into perspective. We cannot always have one-sided debate and policy in this students’ union, it needs to reflect all of us.”
The proposed increase is 85 cents per credit and will add to students’ current student union fees, which amount to just over $400 a year for full-time students. Currently within TRUSU there are no rules around referendum campaigns, yes and no sides are open to spending an unlimited amount of money, however advertising is limited under the restrictive TRU poster policy.
According to TRUSU bylaws the quorum required for a referendum of the Union shall be “20 percent of the membership or 50 members, whichever is more.”
The last referendum held at the student union was the International Health and Dental Plan which failed due to a lack of voters coming out to the polls to reach quorum and only passed after a second referendum was held in which quorum was barely reached.
The referendum will be held in November from the 21-23 with voting taking place in the student union building.