It's not every election that the general student body can impose a levy on the Faculty of Management. Then again, if Management students had the business-savvy, they would just opt out.
For the Mar. 15-17 Students' Union General Election, all students will be asked to answer a referendum question on a proposed increase to the fees paid by Management students. The $25 per student per semester collected, if passed, will go towards an endowment fund for business students. Spring and summer students would pay $10 per semester.
"This has been in the works for a while," said VP Academic Heather Clitheroe, who was responsible for putting the question on the ballot. The Endowment Fund Committee approached Clitheroe in the summer, and later met with the Students' Legislative Council and the Students' Academic Assembly to iron out the proper question.
The referendum reads: "Do you support an opt-out fee for Management students as set out in the table below?" and goes on to detail the monies that would be collected for each semester.
"The money collected would go to student research and activities not covered by tuition," said Clitheroe. "The exact terms of reference would have to be drafted by the SU if the referendum passes."
Most students of the faculty see the proposed levy as a positive change. Fourth-year Management student Alyssa Quinn sees the University of Calgary finally catching up with other schools in Canada.
"We have one of the lowest endowment funds out there," said Quinn. "We don't even come close to Queen's [University]."
"It's a good idea, I'd vote for it," said final year Management/Psychology student Carl Deane. "I've been fortunate enough to pay my own way through school, but for those less fortunate, yeah, it's a good idea."
Because it is a referendum, the current SU is bound by the results, although the exact makeup of the Endowment Committee has to be approved by the SLC, according to Clitheroe.
"Supporting student initiatives is important, and is the responsibility of the faculty and the government," said Clitheroe, on why this referendum was brought forward. "Unfortunately, that's not always the case."
Because this proposal raises fees, the referendum must be posed to all students, not just the affected faculty.
"It's a levy question," said Clitheroe. "That has to go to everyone. A lot of students are in pre-management, and this will affect them, plus there is a precedent [this referendum] would set for other faculties."
A second referendum on the ballot asks students whether they would support an increase of $0.50 ($0.25 for part-time students) in the Student Academic Travel and Conference Fee. The fee has not increased in 10 years, while the student demand has, according to the Rationale.
For more information, visit www.ucalgary.ca/su/ref_pleb.html.