WLUSP fee increase passes with majority

During the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union elections last Thursday, voters were asked three referendum questions along with their choices for elected positions.

Besides two standard questions involving the presentation of the union’s financial statements and the appointed auditor, students were asked if they supported an increase in the fee levied by student publications.

The text on the ballot read, “I am in favour of a $0.75 per half-credit increase (up to 4 credits per semester) in the Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publications fee, effective September 1st, 2010.”

Though the official results have not been finalized by the students’ union, the unofficial totals show the referendum passing with 1,096 voting “yes” and 878 voting “no”.

Party chair of the student publications referendum campaign and Blueprint Magazine editor-in-chief Erin Epp spoke about some of the reasons behind the fee increase.

“Over the last few years we’ve had increased costs and decreased revenues.

“We’ve had increases in rent and advertising has been down on a national level as well as on campus.”

Epp added that as WLUSP continues to expand, more funding was needed.

“Our acquisition of Radio Laurier has a lot of costs associated with it,” she said. “We had all these factors that contributed to a hard financial year for publications.”

The results of the referendum were not surprising to Epp, who noted, “I expected the outcome because referendums generally do pass at the school and I think it is a worthwhile cause.

“Everyone has consumed student publications media in some way, shape or form and I think people do appreciate it and want it to continue.”

Though the motion for the fee increase did pass, the margin was not substantial; it only passed with a margin of 218 votes.

Epp commented that the values do not necessarily represent the opinions of all students because of the low turnout of student elections.

“I would say that it’s not necessarily accurate or representative of the entire student population because only 20 per cent votes and it’s a certain 20 per cent that votes.”

Though she doesn’t feel the numbers reflect the entire university community, at the end all that mattered to Epp was that “it did still pass.”