On Dec. 6-7, the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) is asking students to vote in a referendum on its proposed new Student Union Building.
The referendum asks for $80 annually per student, tied to inflation. CUSA has thrown itself fully behind marketing this new building to students, particularly emphasizing the fact that no students will pay for the building until it is completed.
However, there seems to be a lack of consideration given to the realities of what building this new space entails. It will subject students to years of construction, and asks current students to increase the tuition of future students who have no say.
CUSA also has little information in its campaign on the fact that future students will continue to pay into this levy once the building is paid for, which can only be cancelled by a counter-referendum. It is not clear where this money will go in 30 years—a time where any institutional memory of this referendum would fade.
The Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) has also raised concerns about the building, and stated on their website that they feel the referendum “shouldn’t be rushed.”
The disagreement between CUSA and the GSA could create further tension in the future, similar to the Unicentre levy lawsuit between the two associations that created several years of drama.
Many details must be solidified in order to make this referendum question truly effective. Until then, these questions and issues should be answered and addressed.