All Posts Tagged With: "Ontario Public Interest Research Group"
What students are talking about today (April 2nd)
1. The star of the MTV reality show Buckwild has died. Shane Gandee and two men, also dead, were last seen leaving a local bar in the rural town of Sissonville, West Virginia. They told bar patrons they were going to drive their truck off-road, a sport known as “muddin’” among the country-loving college-aged kids followed by MTVs cameras. The gossip site TMZ reports that carbon monoxide poisoning is being explored as a possible cause of death and that Gandee’s truck’s exhaust pipe may have been blocked by mud.
2. Twenty people, including some students, were displaced by a fire that destroyed two townhouses and damaged a third near York University on Monday, reports CBC News. York administration offered those affected by the fire temporary shelter.
What students are talking about today (January 28th)
1. McGill University’s new president has already cost at least $178,690 and he or she hasn’t even been named. Headhunting firm Odgers Berndtson billed that much for four months of work in 2012, reports McGill Daily. Of that amount, $71,000 was for advertisements. The information came from an Access to Information request, the type of request McGill has recently tried to limit.
2. Carleton University’s Love of Liberty Society, a group that supports “free markets and free speech,” has launched a campaign encouraging students to opt out of a $6.84 levy that goes to the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) chapter on campus. Love of Liberty says students shouldn’t be funding such a politically-charged group. Students can opt out, but they only have a week to do so each year and Love of Liberty claims OPIRG makes it difficult. Yafa Jarrar, programming coordinator for OPIRG, told The Charlatan that the group is “non-partisan,” and that it does support students who wish to opt out. OPIRG has funded recent events like “On Turtle Island: Dialogue Between Black and First Nations Womyn” and Students Against Israeli Apartheid.
If we wanted these groups, we’d fund them voluntarily.
Liam Ledgerwood’s piece for The Arthur at Trent University generated more than a couple letters to the editor. After reading his argument below, check out one of those responses, written by two student politicians who support the fees. What do you think? Tell us in the comments section, on Twitter @maconcampus or on Facebook.
When I was an eager and green first year at Trent University, I remember my father telling me a story about one of his university friends back in the 80s. Like Trent, York University offered any student group “free” money to help finance its activities. Well, my father’s friend started a group, received a few hundred dollars, went and bought “prizes” (read: stuff he wanted) and held a “fundraiser” auction that went unadvertised. When no one showed up, guess who kept the prizes?
I laughed at the time, but I recently read the list of levies that each student at Trent pays to support various organizations, clubs, charities and special interest groups on campus. Every single one of us pays more than $180 per year to support more than 30 groups that most of us have a) no participation in b) receive no benefit from or c) have never even heard of.
Each year, $18.79 is charged to us to pay for Trent Radio (does anyone know the frequency?), $18.87 for Trent Annual (despite my never even seeing a Trent Yearbook through three years here), $12.50 for the politically ideological Ontario Public Interest Research Group, and the list goes on. Sure, some of these levies are “refundable,” but the total of all available refunds is only $51, and we have to go to groups individually to get our own money back. There’s no “opt out” button.
Campus conservatives celebrate
The Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) will no longer get $4.36 from each Queen’s student after 62 per cent of voters in last week’s referendum supported eliminating the fee.
OPIRG and its individual branches have been controversial on Canadian campuses for promoting what critics say are left-wing political causes that don’t reflect the wider community’s beliefs.
The Public Interest Research Groups at more than one Canadian university have been criticized for supporting Israeli Apartheid Week, an annual event that encourages sanctions against Israel.
Stuart Clark, who organized the anti-OPIRG campaign, made a similar argument that student’s fees shouldn’t go to political causes. After winning, he posted this on the Ontario Progressive Conservative Campus Association’s Facebook wall: “We took down OPIRG. I think celebrations are in order!”