A Call to Vote No on Per-Faculty Fee-Levy Referendums

I am sympathetic to students who may have found themselves discovering a host of fees for initiatives that they have not had the fortune of learning about beforehand.

However, this does not mean that the work that these groups are doing is not worth supporting. It is ironic that one complaint about fee-levy groups is the lack of outreach, yet if this question passes groups will have to consider limiting access to and/or flat out excluding certain students from partaking in their services and activities.

The upcoming referendum question on per-faculty fee levies is not the way to address concerns about fee levies. Many students find the work that these groups do is invaluable to the Concordia experience.

Many people come to this university because of the wide range of opportunities and experiences that fee levies provide, and I urge students to recognize how this contributes to the strength and vibrancy of Concordia’s campus.

The opportunity to volunteer and work at the Concordia Greenhouse is the reason I chose to remain at Concordia when I transferred from Studio Arts to Environmental Science. Since my arrival to the university in 2007, my student experience has been tremendously enriched with experiential learning, in such fields as horticulture and urban agriculture, collective management, and popular education.

I have also been able to host hundreds of volunteers from all faculties, have provided internship opportunities, and have learned to hold workshops to share what I had learned. This is all thanks to the Greenhouse.

But last year, due to lack of funding, the Greenhouse was on the verge of closing down. Thankfully, we were fortunate enough to obtain funding through a fee levy, making it possible for us to not only continue offering amazing and unique opportunities to Concordia students, but to consistently plan and develop towards an even more exciting future. This would not be possible without the security that fee-levy funding provides.

It is this consideration for the future that is absent from the vision of those who would divide fee levies per faculty. Consequently, I would urge students to vote down this referendum question so that we may have the opportunity to thoughtfully work together in addressing the concerns that you may have about fee-levy groups.

And this is the vision that we propose: working together to forge a thriving student community full of diverse and thrilling growth opportunities.

Stefanie Dimitrovas