The Arts & Sciences Students’ Union (ASSU) will be holding a Referendum on Wednesday, November 2nd and Thursday, November 3rd to increase the ASSU fee by $3 per term. The last ASSU Fee Referendum was six years ago in the fall of 2010. Since then, with the additional money from that referendum, they were able to increase funding to Course Unions, provide more programming for students, as well as create and increase the funds, bursaries, scholarships and awards they provide. Almost all of the funding for events run by the Classics Students’ Union (CLASSU) is derived from the ASSU fee.
ASSU traditionally operates on a five-year plan, of which they are in year six. With the growth of their programming and the increase in the number of Course Unions they support, they are now operating on a budget that far exceeds their income. ASSU still continues to operate on one of the lowest student levies on campus, $9.50 per term, but to continue the services they provide, and to expand the services and events we at CLASSU can provide, they are asking students to support a fee increase. As well, there will be a second referendum question asking for their student levy to rise with inflation, a practice that most student groups on campus (including UTSU, APUS, GSU, etc.) already have in place.
You may be asking why you should pay an additional $3.00 per term when you already pay so much money to the university, but the additional money will go a long way to serving yourself and other students in a much more immediate way. If you are reading this statement, then chances are that you already benefit from your ASSU fees whether it’s the free lunch at the Assembly of the Plebs conference, a hard copy of our lovely journal, Plebeian, one of CLASSU’s infamous cakes, or access to various resources the CLASSU offers, then this increase will improve your opportunities and those of your peers, just in the Department of Classics.
ASSU funds the other course unions that offer programming as well in addition to their own. ASSU awards bursaries and scholarships that enable your peers to travel and have new experiences that they can bring back to you and potentially open up new paths for you, or you yourself might be a recipient of one such award. ASSU advocates on our collective behalf—they have successfully lobbied the administration for services and policies that directly affect their students – such as, the option of CR-NCR courses, the ability to drop courses until the last day of classes without academic penalty, the policy about Repeating Passed Courses, the implementation of the Wait List, the 24hr Robarts Study Space, the Interest Relief on Outstanding Fees (until November), the Revised A&S Appeals Process, ensuring that students had other options beside Turnitin to prove their lack of plagiarism, and the review a number of syllabi to guarantee that key components—such as accessibility statements—become mandatory. They were also a large contributor to getting the Fall Reading Week passed last year, which will reward students with a week off during fall term effective next year.
All of these initiatives between CLASSU and ASSU have encouraged more participation in course unions in general, and since 2010, eleven new course unions have been created. ASSU has operated in a deficit the past couple of years trying to keep up, but now needs to either cut its programming our increase its revenues.
If you have ever come to a CLASSU event, or have enjoyed our Facebook posts, we hope that you will show your support for both CLASSU and ASSU by VOTING YES to increase the ASSU fee by $3 per term on November 2nd and 3rd.