Be Informed about the CSA Referendum

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Written by Drew Garvie

Editor's Note: This piece comes from the CSA directly, it does not reflect the opinion of The Cannon, its staff or its contributors, necessarily. Drew Garvie is the current Communications and Corporate Affairs Commissioner for the CSA.


The CSA is your undergraduate student union. In order to fulfill our mandate to the best of our ability and increase our capacity for advocacy, programming, and services, we are requesting a $2.50 increase to the CSA membership fee.

From March 6 through Friday March 8, all undergraduates on campus will be able to vote in the CSA elections.  Students will be voting for their next Executive Commissioners (full-time representatives of students) and Board of Director representatives.  Through this election you have the chance to determine the direction and mandate for your student union for the next year.  The ballot will also have links to the candidate profiles/platforms so you can read up easily before casting your ballot through your U of G email.

On the same ballot there will also be a referendum question.  The CSA is currently running a “Vote Yes to Better Your Student Union” campaign.

As the student body has grown considerably over the last 10-15 years, the CSA has grown with it.  We now find ourselves with 40+ student staff hired each year.  Unfortunately our Human Resources structure has not kept up with overall growth.  The Executive Committee still supervises all the CSA staff and this is taking up a larger proportion of time, taking away from the ability to do outreach, promotion, events, campaigns and advocacy.

The current CSA fee is $15.50 per full-time student per semester and $4.85 per course, per semester for part-time students. All undergraduate students pay the CSA fee as at the same time as their tuition fees. This referendum passing would mean that the CSA fee would be set at $18.00 for full-time students and $5.63 per course, for part-time students.

The CSA feels that a modest increase in its membership fee (still below most student unions and many student organizations on campus) will allow us to better pass on savings to students.  This is done through increased advocacy, for example against tuition fee increases, which currently rise $200-$300 a year for most students.  Your CSA also offers a variety of cost-saving services to all undergraduate students, for example the free student “survival guide” day planner, the cheapest printing on campus, the cheapest ATM on campus in the Bullring, Ink refill services and more.

Through the increased revenue the CSA hopes to fund a new full-time human resources staff member in order to relieve the Executive Commissioners of duties involving staff supervision and internal administrative responsibilities. This will allow the Executive to focus more on student issues such as accessibility, sustainability and inclusivity on our campus and in our community. As a result there will be more campaigns, more outreach, and more social and educational events. The additional operating dollars will also increase resources and HR support to our services like the Bike Centre, SHAC, FoodBank, SafeWalk and the Bullring.

The CSA is also in the process of creating new student positions: an “Environmental Sustainability Coordinator” and an “Outreach and Promotion Coordinator.” These new positions will provide employment for students, strengthen our connection with students, and make the CSA a leader on campus with a commitment to sustainability and advocacy on environmental issues.

This March 6, 7 and 8, vote yes to better your student union! 

Visit the referendum website for details: http://www.csaonline.ca/referendum/

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