The Referendums

  • Students Withhold Funds From The Void and CJLO, Reward Queer Concordia

Three groups appealed to the student body for more funding during last week’s Concordia Student Union elections, but only one got what it was hoping for.

Queer Concordia garnered itself a $0.02 per credit fee levy, while radio station CJLO and The Void, Concordia’s bilingual arts and literary magazine, were both voted down.

“Obviously, we are incredibly disappointed,” said Katie Seline, CJLO’s station manager. “It’s heartbreaking, [but] at the same time, it’s a vote and we respect it.”

Concordia’s radio station was requesting a $0.09 per credit increase in funding—a total of $2.70 a year per student, given a full 15 credit course load—to explore, among other things, the possibility of switching to an FM signal. Currently, the station can be difficult to receive in certain parts of Montreal because of its low-power AM transmitter.

The defeat was unexpected, as both Action and Your Concordia lent vocal support to the fee levy. CJLO hoped that it would pass without issue, but over 56 per cent of students voted ‘No’ on the ballot.

The margins of the two other levy questions were even narrower. The Void’s request for a two cent levy lost with just over 51 per cent voting ‘No,’ and Queer Concordia won its question by a mere 58 votes.

Michael Chaulk, a representative for The Void, was saddened by the results, but remains optimistic.

“[The new] issue has received more submissions than we’ve ever received,” said Chaulk. “We think we’ve increased our presence in the school and that will help […] in the amount of support we get from students.”

Chaulk and Seline both speculated that the record turnout might have actually hurt their campaigns,
suggesting the normally apolitical students might not have been informed about what their money would be put towards.

Both The Void and CJLO say they will have to seek out different ways to fund their projects for next year.

“We’ll start to look for cheaper options so we can get out there,” said Seline. “We’ll have to become more reliant on advertising, which we wanted to avoid.”

Queer Concordia, like The Void, was seeking a $0.02 per credit increase. Joey Donnelly, a member of the collective, was pleased and relieved after winning.

“It was a struggle to get on the ballot,” said Donnelly. “It was hard to get to the starting point, but
once we got there, we were able to build up enough momentum and support.”

The additional funding will most likely go to extend the ‘Safer Sex’ program to increase its accessibility around campus, according to Donnelly. Other than that, the group will consult its members before deciding on how exactly to use the money.

Donnelly also said Queer Concordia wants to become a service that everyone, not just queer students, can use.

This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 29, published April 5, 2011.

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