The Runner's KSA referendum cheat-sheet
Opinions / February 20, 2013
We break down the good and the bad about: MultiPass, PIRG, and The Runner.
By The Runner
MultiPass: Renewing the U-Pass program for $45 monthly in the first year
With four campuses across Metro Vancouver and some of the most expensive university parking fees in B.C., many Kwantlen students rely on public transit to get to class on time. The MultiPass combines the U-Pass, which gives students unlimited access to TransLink services, inter-campus shuttles and the car2go program.
For some reason, the Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) thought they could sweeten the deal by including “fitness services” under the MultiPass umbrella. For an extra $5 a month, students have full access to any Steve Nash Fitness World location, while an extra $20 a month lets students use any Richmond or South Surrey Sports Clubs. A gym membership arguably has nothing to do with transit, but students concerned with the effects of an all-Mexicali diet might be interested.
Despite improvements to the MultiPass program this fall, such as including a late-night shuttle to the Richmond campus, students still find their options wanting. The shuttles don’t run often enough to be really convenient. Also inconvenient: bus services. While TransLink’s inefficiency can’t be pinned on the KSA, it doesn’t change the fact that some students are spending hours in transit to attend an hour and a half class. Some students not benefitting from the U-Pass have the opportunity to opt out, but because of university contracts only one per cent of students are able to.
In a common theme for the MultiPass, membership at Steve Nash Fitness World would be great if it was something students could easily use. Instead, there are limited locations convenient to students, especially those on Surrey campus.
The KSA has its heart in the right place, but the MultiPass doesn’t offer enough to merit the extra fees. While students who can’t afford to pay for services that they don’t benefit from can apply for a hardships bursary, the rest of us are left running for the bus stop after class, hoping we don’t miss the 301.
Creating a PIRG for $0.80 per credit (with the ability to opt out)
Student-led Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) exist on campuses across North America and act as research facilities, community resource centres and advocacy groups. A Kwantlen-based PIRG would allow students the venue to get active in their communities and create real social change.
A component of many PIRGs are grants, which fund research, publications, presentations and more. These grants allow students to gain experience not often afforded to undergrads. PIRGs generally have autonomy from student unions, which also means that participants won’t have to jump through political hoops when trying to garner support of the KSA for social or environmental causes. By creating a PIRG on campus, Kwantlen might also add a bit of validity to their newly-acquired university title. It can’t hurt to be able to offer students the chance to perform and apply research in real world situations as well as the opportunity to publish their results.
Change don’t come for free. Proposed funding comes from a fee of $0.80 per credit, which students would pay in a lump sum with their tuition fees every semester. This wouldn’t be a fixed rate, either – it would be adjusted annually for inflation. Students would be free to opt out, though, if they were adamantly against funding something that could be beneficial to students and the campus. Which, given the Kwantlen student body’s general apathy towards anything Kwantlen-related might actually be detrimental to the proposed PIRG. Without student members, the PIRG will fade away to a bad punchline whenever anything requiring student involvement is proposed.
Verdict: Vote YES
A PIRG could be an amazing force on campus, but it’s going to need student support. We encourage the council to pursue its formation, and we also encourage students to show an interest, too.
Increasing The Runner fee to $0.89 per credit (with the ability to opt out)
If you’re reading this, you probably know that The Runner is the source for all your Kwantlen news. We’re student owned and student staffed – anyone can write for us, which includes you!
Remember two years ago when Runner coverage exposed the KSA’s mismanagement of funds and led to the impeachment of half the council? We’re still riding on that, and probably will for at least another three semesters. That story proved we’re basically the university equivalent of the New York Times, if the Times had a heavy focus on student government and local musicians.
Can a student-run paper be TOO good?
Verdict: Vote YES
A+, great job, 10/10, would recommend to a friend. Also, we would appreciate more money.