Referendum

Have your say in the ACCSA future!

During the 2021 ACCSA Election, students will be asked two referendum questions about their student fees:

Referendum Question 1:

“Do you agree to a one time 13% increase of ACCSA Fees (an average amount of $25-$30 per year, per full time student) to account for the lack of inflation increases since 2013, and to ensure the ACCSA can continue to provide quality services for students, like the U-Pass Program, Day Planner, Satellite Campus Programming, and more?”

Referendum Question 2:

“Do you agree to allow ACCSA Fees to increase by inflation every year (an average yearly increase of 1.61% over the last ten years, or roughly $2.50 to $3.00 per student, per year) to account for the yearly increases of costs and expenses?”

Background

The ACCSA, both its elected student representatives, and it’s hired professional staff, strive to provide high quality services, events, and initiatives for the students of Assiniboine Community College. The ACCSA hasn’t increased SA Fees since 2013, a period of over 8 years and 9 fiscal budgets. Typically, Student Associations across Canada will always increase their Student Association Fees every year, to account for inflation, or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), in order to maintain their services and opportunities for students.

Despite any such increase, our organization has prided ourselves to be able to do more with less over the last 8 years. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that without an adjustment to our SA Fees (which accounts for approximately 78% of our budgeted revenues), the ACCSA may be forced to reduce important services and events programming in order to sustain the impact of inflation. With a more reliable fiscal future, more options become available to the ACCSA, such as being able to provide new and enhanced services, as well as providing stronger representation across all ACC campuses.

The increase that would be required to catch up to the missed CPI increases between 2013 and 2021 amounts to a 13.93% increase, an average of 1.64% per year. Accordingly, the Students’ Association Council (SAC), approved the referendum questions for your consideration to be voted on in this election.

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.S.)

What is a Referendum?

A referendum is a vote held by the ACC Students’ Association to determine its membership’s position on a particular question or questions. The outcome of a referendum is binding, which means the ACCSA must take steps to comply with the outcome of the vote.

What are Referendums used for?

Referendum’s are used for initiatives that require approval from the entire student body before they can be implemented. For example, the last referendum at the ACCSA was to approve the creation of the ACCSA Health and Dental Plan.

What are Referendum questions?

There are two seperate questions being asked in this referendum:

Referendum Question 1:

“Do you agree to a one time 13% increase of ACCSA Fees (an average amount of $25-$30 per year, per full time student) to account for the lack of inflation increases since 2013, and to ensure the ACCSA can continue to provide quality services for students, like the U-Pass Program, Day Planner, Satellite Campus Programming, and more?”

Referendum Question 2:

“Do you agree to allow ACCSA Fees to increase by inflation every year (an average yearly increase of 1.61% over the last ten years, or roughly $2.50 to $3.00 per student, per year) to account for the yearly increases of costs and expenses?”

How much more money would a 13% increase cost me?

SA Fees are included in student tuition when they come to ACC. For an average student in a full-time program, this increase would amount to roughly $25.00-$30.00 a year, or $2.50 a month. This is the equivalent of a coffee a month.

Is this fee just for Brandon students?

No, this fee applies to all ACCSA students, so all students are encouraged to vote on these questions.

Why are there two separate questions?

Because both questions bring different consequences with them, and the ACCSA wants to provide students with the option to vote on them independently. The first question is asking to approve a one-time increase to the Student Association Fee rates for all students by 13%. The second question is asking to increase the Students’ Association Fees once a year every year afterwards to account for inflation moving forward.

If students overall vote ‘Yes’ on both questions, the impact on the SA Fees will be an immediate increase as per question 1, as well as a small increase every subsequent year to account for inflation.

Why does the ACCSA want to increase fees?

The ACCSA hasn’t increased any of their fees since 2013, meaning that over the last 8 years, we have been forced to try to do more with less, as the costs of doing business increase every year. A financial review has determined that without an increase to our SA Fees, we may be required to reduce services that students rely on at the College in the future.

Virtually all Student Organizations across Canada’s provide for a modest increase to their SA Fees every year to account for inflation and increased operating costs. This referendum will align the ACCSA with the standard operating practices.

If students vote ‘Yes’ on both questions, the impact on the SA Fees will be an immediate increase as per question 1, as well as a small increase every subsequent year to account for inflation.

Will any services be cut if the Referendum doesn’t pass?

While the ACCSA would strive to find alternate means of funding our existing services (either through event ticket sales, advertisement revenues, or sponsorships), the rejection of this Referendum would invariably result in a mandatory reduction of services, including but not limited to reduced office hours, Clubs financing cuts, cancellation of an intramurals program, the U-Pass, events programming, and more. The ACCSA will explore all avenues to mitigate the impact any reduction would have on students, but it becomes harder every year we do not consider an increase to combat the increasing costs.

Will the ACCSA create new services if this Referendum passes?

There is no active plans to rollout new services as a result of this Referendum, but we would be able to explore expanding our existing services, and possibly looking at new and innovative ways to connect with students. For example, with more revenues coming in, the ACCSA can possibly hire a number of students as part-time staff, providing students with jobs that can fit in between their classes, and provide services to many more students than we can reach right now.

I’m graduating this year, why should I vote?

This Referendum could have a very big impact on how the ACCSA operates for years to come, and it’s essential that the students of today are given a chance to decide on the future of ACCSA. Even if you are graduating, your experience as a student at ACC is very important to us, and your vote on this issue can potentially benefit students at ACC for years to come.

Can I campaign on behalf of a Referendum Question?

Yes! If you feel strongly about this referendum (either in the affirmative or negative), you can contact the Election Chair at maym2@assiniboine.net about resources available to you to start a campaign on behalf of the referendum.

I have more questions. Who can I talk to about this Referendum?

You can reach out to any of our current Council Members, including our President, Brieth Young-Taylor at ACCSAcouncil@assiniboine.net. You can also reach Matthew May, the Executive Director of the ACCSA at maym2@assiniboine.net or at 204 725 8700 ext. 7213 for more information.