Students approve arts society fee in close referendum

Both the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science held referendums last week in an attempt to secure mandatory funding from students for specialized student groups. Only one succeeded.

The Ryerson Arts Society's campaign poster located in Kerr Hall (Abby Chan/Ryersonian Staff)

The Ryerson Arts Society’s campaign poster located in Kerr Hall (Abby Chan/Ryersonian Staff)

Students in the Faculty of Arts voted yes – by a margin of only three votes – to cough up $30 per semester for the newly-formed Ryerson Arts Society (RAS).

Students in the Faculty of Science, however, saw the majority of votes oppose funding for the Ryerson Science Society (RSS).

Both societies have similar goals: student-run groups designed to unite the schools of faculties together with networking events, conventions and collaborative projects. Both referendums had a minimal turnout: 15 per cent of students cast a vote from the Faculty of Arts and only nine per cent of students went to the polls for the Faculty of Science.

The RAS was formed in September with permission from Ryerson’s Board of Governors, which also gave them the green light to hold the referendum.

“We are so excited to announce that the Ryerson Arts Society has passed its referendum to be funded $30 per semester,” said Marzia Riaz, third-year psychology student and chair of the RAS steering committee.

“This is the beginning of a journey for a greater and better Faculty of Arts.”

She said the funding will go toward workshops, conferences, project grants and maybe a year-end talent showcase. She also said the group intends to release quarterly budget statements to keep students informed of funding allocation.

Meanwhile, the RSS was formed in 2012, and already has a track record. It has helped organize conferences with the Ontario Science Students’ Association and held a first-week orientation. RSS president Ana Sofia Vargas Garza was at a loss to explain why the referendum was unsuccessful.

The campaign poster for Ryerson Science Society rejected by the faculty of science students. (Abby Chan/Ryersonian Staff)

The campaign poster for Ryerson Science Society rejected by the faculty of science students. (Abby Chan/Ryersonian Staff)

“We were very surprised. It was quite a shock,” she said.

She said the group ran a survey prior to the referendum and found that 98 per cent of respondents were supportive of funding the group.

“That’s how we came up with the levy. That’s how much students told us they were willing to pay.”

She said the RSS plans to hold another referendum next year.

 

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