Nothing says the start of a school year more like the talk of referenda.
And, to that end, nothing says counter-democracy more than when a referendum is conducted during the summer or so close to the beginning of the school year that no student could be expected to participate fully.
Over the summer, the Joint Student Centre Executive Committee (JSEC) at
There isn't a ton of information written about the referendum in an official capacity. Other than a facebook group that wasn't created by the Nipissing Students'
The group NipissingYOU, a counter voice to the Nipissing Students' Union, has more information at their website, including the NUSU link to the PDF, and a link to the Campus Free Press, a student paper at
And, just to ensure it doesn’t look completely crazy, there will be an open forum on Friday Sept. 5. For everyone keeping track, that is during the voting period. Groups wanting to register a ‘no’ or ‘yes’ side campaign had to do so by today.
Perhaps most undemocratic about this referendum is contained within the question. Rather than a simple yes or no vote, the JSEC has crafted four options: three yes options and one no option. And, to further influence students to vote yes, the question has a list of possible improvements that can be made to a student centre by an increased student centre levy.
Students at Nipissing should be outraged.
And, according to yesterday’s Bay Today, they are. In fact, students are now appealing to the university president (and former Ryerson Vice-President, Academic) Denis Mock to stop the proposed referendum.
However, organising in the summer to pull the wool over the eyes of members is just about the lowest tactic a students’ union can take. Sure, the nature of student politics is to develop policy that may not be agreed upon by everyone. But in a member-driven organisation, the students are the highest decision making body (or, at least, they should be). Students need to be equipped and trusted to make the right decision. Boards need to equip and trust students to make the right decision. Otherwise, board and executive members are just fooling themselves.
A proper referendum should be highly publicized, offer enough time for students to register in different camps and learn about the issues, contain no leading information in the question and be a simple yes or no question.
Hopefully students at Nipissing will win their chance for a fair referendum.