UTMSU released the unofficial results of the referendum they held on a levy increase to expand the Student Centre.
According to Chief Returning Officer Babatumi Sodade, 2,258 full-time students, approximately 18% of the student population, voted in the referendum from January 29 to January 31.
Of these, 1,368 students (approximately 60% of the total votes cast) voted yes, 881 students (approximately 40% of the total votes cast) voted no, and nine ballots were spoiled.
According to UTMSU policy, only 5% of the student population, or about 600 of the 12,000 students at UTM, need to vote in order for a referendum to be valid.
The results still have to be presented to UTMSU’s Elections and Referenda Committee for final ratification.
The Student Centre expansion is a cash-in-hand project to be funded dollar-for-dollay by the university. Since student commitment to support the project was needed before going forward, a referendum was required.
Now that the referendum has passed, students can expect a fee increase starting next fall. Their yearly fees to UTMSU will see a temporary increase of $54 per fall/winter year for the first three years, as well as a permanent increase of $21 per fall/winter year (including the first three years). This yields a total fee of $100 per year for the first three years and $46 afterwards.
The project is expected to cost $4 million, which is to be split equally between the student union and the university.
Edit: UTMSU neglected to use the correct voter list, instead using one that allowed St. George students to vote, the results were judged invalid and thrown out. For more information on the 2014 Student Centre Expansion Referendum go to http://archive.themedium.ca/news/fees-facebook-blamed-for-no-votes