Petition to Memorial University's Board of Regents to disregard undemocratic U-Pass vote
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Regardless if you are for or against MUN’s U-Pass proposal, the process of implementation is unfair and anti-democratic.
The biggest concern with the U-Pass is the way that it is being implemented. This proposal is being pushed by the administration, municipalities, and Metrobus, not by students. Students are not organizing or outright asking for this. There is no grassroots group of students who are pushing for a U-Pass. Few students came out to the consultation sessions and the U-PASS Information session. If Metrobus wants this pass to be implemented, they should have to convince students but instead they are using the tactic of low-key organizing hoping that enough students who use metro bus will vote for the fee to be implemented. The university has put glossy coloured posters up around campus in favour of a U-PASS trying to convince students to vote for the U-PASS and complete their survey, over 1000 students took part in this and the majority were bus users, most of whom stated they were in favour. Where is the opportunity for presenting the opposite side of the argument? This gives the Yes side an unfair advantage in the vote. It is important for students to hear both sides of the issue, but instead mostly only information on the Yes side is available for consumption.
Honestly, the best option was to vote no in this vote out of principle of it not being conducted in a fair manner. A good option would be to have a third party conduct the vote that is agreed on by all stakeholders. Making funding available for both sides to be available for student consumption is a must. Students and others are indeed allowed to do whatever they want in this vote but expecting students to pay out of pocket for advertising materials in support of their views against the U-Pass when the university is funding the one side is not reasonable.
The university has stated that this vote is just to gauge student opinion on the U-Pass. How can the administration expect students to take part in a “vote” and take it seriously if it is merely a poll?
"the full results of the vote, the number of students participating, and the response will be reported to the Board in full and the decision of the board will be significantly informed by these results" says the university in a statement to media.
Initially the university wasn’t going to release the vote results publicly until after the Board of Regents has made their decision at their March 14th board meeting but has since backtracked on this.
This vote process lacks transparency. Why are the same people holding the referendum, counting the ballots, determining the validity of it, and then deciding what to do?
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