Students Still Aren’t Interested In The Student Centre

Perhaps you’ve noticed the catchy new poster campaign proliferating in the hallways asking what you want your student centre to look like. The posters offer suggestions to entice your imagination: a lounge, a kitchen, a study space, maybe even a massage parlour…

Of course, the massive proposed fee levy that would come along with the space didn’t make the ad copy, as students would be charged an extra $0.50 per credit for their first four semesters, and $2.50 more per credit from their fifth semester onwards.

This would all be on top of the $2.00 a credit students are already paying. If you have your calculator out, it should read $4.50 a credit.

The student centre should have been left a ghost of referendum question’s past. Seventy-two per cent of students that voted last March said “no” to the fee levy increase—and 93 per cent of students didn’t bother to vote. What’s changed?

Since 2003, the student centre has banked a cool $6.7 million of student money that sits stagnantly in a trust fund somewhere, waiting for the day when the CSU decide to put the whole pot towards a $10 million down payment on a building we haven’t expressed interest in for the last seven years.

By now, our student government needs to take the hint and use that money somewhere more effective: a $43 million dollar project with a 25-year mortgage is something we clearly have no desire to be accountable for. And, quite frankly, none of us are actually going to be around to use the place.

The current CSU executive believes the reason the student body voted no to the student centre last year is because there were a lot of “NO” campaigns going around at the time—No to the Canadian Federation of Students, and … umm… yes to Le Frigo Vert? And yes to Cinema Politica?

We don’t believe that the failing of this initiative can be attributed to massive voter illiteracy. If this is the case, well, we have a bigger problem to address.

There are a lot of other campaign promises that we elected the CSU to see through.

For instance, we are currently primed to be the first university in Quebec to be water bottle free when the 10-year PepsiCo contract expires. The CSU could certainly be spending their energies negotiating with beverage companies to ensure that this socially responsible objective becomes a reality.

Also, it’s common knowledge by now that the CSU and CFS are in a lengthy court battle for over $1 million and the administration is after a couple million more while they attempt to hike our tuition. Why not deal with one issue at a time, with a focus on effectively fighting for students on both of these fronts?

These are tangible things that we actually want from our student government—so don’t overextend yourselves. We already have student space, but need help to reclaim what we have lost.

There are bigger fish to fry, CSU. Don’t be distracted—and distract us—from more attainable goals.

A new student centre isn’t one of them.

—Clay Hemmerich & Laura Beeston,
Opinions Editor & Managing Editor

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 10, published October 19, 2010.