Fall Referendum results announced

Following technical difficulties and week-long delay, some clubs expressed disappointment with outcome

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Official Fall Referendum results were released on Wednesday, determining the financial future of many clubs.

The voting turnout was 15.8 per cent, falling below the 20 per cent cutoff, resulting in the groups needing a 55 per cent vote in the affirmative instead of 50 per cent.

MUSE Magazine’s opt-outable fee of $0.50 was discontinued, with a 54 per cent vote in the affirmative — one per cent from the required voting threshold.

Andrea Nazarian, one of the two editors in chief, said the whole team is disappointed with the results.

“We need funding to produce our magazine because it obviously costs money to print and distribute … these were kind of crucial funds that we need to pass on to the future of MUSE,” Nazarian, ArtSci ’14, said.

The team was surprised by the results.

“This year MUSE is starting to get a little bit bigger [on campus] than we have been in previous years [and] people are more aware about the club and talking about the magazine a bit more,” she said.

Emma Hoffman, co-editor in chief, said that she feels last week’s technical difficulties, which resulted in 6,000 students not receiving their initial voting logins by email, heavily affected the voting results.

“It wasn’t fair with the whole debacle with sending out the emails,” Hoffman, ArtSci ’14 said. “I definitely think it affected the results.”

She said that students aren’t educated enough about the Referendum and how it can affect campus activities.

“It should be the AMS’s responsibility to educate students about [it],” she said.

The problem is that students are voting without knowing exactly what they are voting for, she said.

“Clubs can be some people’s lives,” she said. Ultraviolet Magazine was another publication with an unsuccessful Referendum result. The publication was looking to establish a $0.50 fee, subject to individual opt-out.

Rya Marrelli, one of the co-editors, said the team was disappointed that they lost by such a small margin.

“52 per cent said no and 48 per cent said yes. The exact same thing happened to us in the Winter Referendum last year and it’s unfortunate to see the same results,” Marrelli, ArtSci ’15, said.

She said that last week’s email issue was not the AMS’s fault. Despite this, she said it most likely hindered the vote.

“We really don’t know if it’s that people just don’t know about us, or if people voted no for all the publications,” she said.

Golden Words and Life Beat Newspaper were also voted down in the Referendum, making all four student-run publications on the list unsuccessful.

“Unfortunately we won’t be able to put out print magazines … because we are not at all funded by the University,” Marelli said.

The club will continue to run with fundraised money and will publish their magazine online.

Despite the lack of success of four clubs, TEDxQueensU had the highest affirmative vote at 73 per cent, resulting in the establishment of an opt-outable $0.75 fee.

The club holds yearly conferences with speakers to showcase Queen’s creativity, ingenuity and innovation. Last year’s speakers included Dean Tripp, a professor in the psychology department.

Aditya Varambally, the club’s director, said that the fee will help support the costs of the conference.

“We want to keep our delegate cost relatively low comparative to other conferences and still allow people to watch at home for no cost,” Varambally, ArtSci ’14, said.

Varambally said that the well-known brand TEDx’s association with the club could have added to their success in the Referendum.

“A great number of students voted yes. I think we had the highest number for all clubs that were trying to establish the fee, I was quite excited about that,” he said.

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