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Oliver Conroy

Controversial McGill referenda on QPIRG and CKUT pass

Tonight at 6:30 pm the results of a controversial set of referenda were announced at Gerts, the McGill campus bar. Referenda altering the funding mechanisms of CKUT (the McGill student radio station) and QPIRG (the Quebec Public Interest Research Group) passed by large margins.Physical and online voting on the referenda lasted from 4 – 10 November. Both student groups were petitioning for changes in their funding mechanisms, which are based on an “opt-out” model in which students are assessed fees by default but can selectively “opt out.” The resolutions which just passed would change the opt-out system from one in which students can opt out online, using McGill’s computer interface “Minerva,” to one in which students can only opt out if they physically go to the groups’ offices to ask for their money back.The referenda were opposed by those who argued that both groups lack financial accountability. The “opt-out” funding mechanism (as opposed to a voluntary “opt-in” system) in particular was a sticking point: QPIRG and CKUT complained that the online system had devastated their funding and that a new form of opt-out would ensure that only those with genuine grievances would choose to opt out.In the past, some campus groups, including Conservative McGill and the “QPIRG Opt-Out” campaign, had criticized QPIRG in particular for allegedly questionable use of student money. However, there was no official “no” campaign during this referenda.Both referenda passed by wide margins. CKUT received a 72.3% “yes” vote and QPIRG received a 65.6% “yes” vote.  Read More