Scarborough students at U of T will be asked to pay more money to the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU.)
The SCSU wants to raise its student fees automatically, to match the inflation rate.
A question will appear on the referendum portion of the fall by-election asking if students support the fee increase.
Currently, full-time Scarborough students pay $20 to their college Students’ Union. If the referendum passes, the fees would increase for the beginning of the summer term, in May.
That means each student would be paying 40 cents more per year.
“It’s basically to secure our position as an organization,” said Dan Bandurka, president of SCSU.
“As SCSU wants to move forward and students want more and more, we need to secure our position and everything we do into the future.”
But other student leaders are sceptical the referendum question will pass – especially when a referendum seeking a SCSU fee increase failed last spring.
“I think it’s not at a selling point right now,” said Parminder Singh, Scarborough director for the Students’ Administrative Council (SAC).
“Last year, it failed ridiculously,” Singh added, noting that SCSU had been busy with planning Orientation Week and did not have enough time to promote the measure properly.
“Their summer schedule was very hectic,” he said.
Singh says that although he would be happy to see the measure pass, he thinks that students are overloaded with fee increases, especially with the levy to build a student centre at U of T’s eastern campus.
“I don’t think it is this year. On top of tuition and ancillary fees, now they have this.”
But SCSU president Bandurka said last year’s referendum was actually a success: “Last year’s referendum was fairly reassuring… We didn’t have time to run a proper campaign. We had one banner and we got 36 per cent of the students in favour,” he said.
Bandurka said the additional money will help SCSU achieve several goals this year, such as starting a food bank and producing a Scarborough version of the Anti-Calendar, a guide to courses based on student course evaluations.
“We pay well over $100,000 to SAC every year, and we only get back about a third,” Bandurka said. “Something has to change on this campus.”
Bandurka added that SCSU wants to become a full member of the Canadian Federation of Students, a national student organization that lobbies for tuition cuts and is best-known for its annual February 6 protests and its opposition to several free-trade agreements under consideration by the Canadian government.